Sully, late George HW Bush's service dog, joins US Navy
In a commendable gesture, the US Navy has allotted a new job to Sully HW Bush, the former service dog of late George HW Bush to "support, comfort and cure" warriors and their families. On Wednesday, a US Navy spokesman appointed the yellow Labrador as the hospital corpsman second class. The ceremony held in Washington state was streamed live on Facebook. Here's more.
Sully to 'support, comfort, and cure' warriors and their families
The ceremony was held yesterday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Sully's oath read, "Do you affirm or pant as a hospital corpsman in the United States Navy that you will support, comfort and cure warriors and their families, active duty and retired? That you embrace our staff and bear unconditional love and solace, especially on busy days?"
Sully was given military uniform, vest representing hospital's dog team
"Your appointment as a petty officer in the United States Navy makes you heir to a long and proud tradition of naval leadership," the spokesman said. The obedient dog was then given a military uniform, a vest representing the hospital's dog team. In the medical center's facility dog program, Sully will help in reducing stress and increase happiness among patients and staff.
President Bush got Sully after his wife Barbara died
Sully was named after Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, the pilot behind the safe landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in Hudson River in New York. After former first lady, Barbara Bush died, President Bush had requested for a service dog and that's how he got Sully. Sully was chosen because Bush did a lot of traveling and got many visitors and the dog was super-adaptable.
Sully can answer phones, turn lights on and off
Brad Hibbard, chief program officer at Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind/America's VetDogs, told media, "We knew he (Sully) was the right dog for the job, especially with Mr. Bush being older and in a wheelchair. He needed a dog that would also help him with daily tasks." Sully can do several tasks like answering phones or turning lights on and off.
When Bush needed comfort, Sully 'placed head on his lap'
"Not only is he (Sully) good at retrieving things, he helped the President by opening doors, knew when to get assistance from someone else, and knew when Bush needed comfort, so he would place his head on his lap," Hibbard said. Last year, after President Bush's demise in November, a heartbreaking picture of Sully resting near the former President's casket went viral.
VetDogs trains service dogs to help disabled military veterans
Sully has been trained by America's VetDogs, a non-profit organization, which provides training to service dogs to help disabled military veterans and first responders. They are trained to be a service dog, guide dog, and a therapy dog. At Walter Reed Medical Center, the service dogs collectively work for more than 200 hours a month and have averaged around 2,500 contacts, said a spokesperson.