Sully The Labrador Retriever Reports For Duty

President George H. W. Bush gets a service dog
By Karen B. London PhD, June 2018

Former President George H. W. Bush has just received a service dog—a Labrador Retriever named Sully. Bush was a World War II navy pilot, so it’s fitting that his dog is named after Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who famously landed a plane carrying 155 passengers on the Hudson River after it was disabled by a flock of geese immediately after take-off.

The elder Bush, age 94, has a form of Parkinson’s Disease, and gets around in a wheelchair and an electric scooter. Sully will help the former president open doors and pick up items, and he is also trained to go for help if needed. The dog was trained by America’s VetDogs, an organization that places dogs with veterans and first responders. Their mission is “to help those who served our country honorably live with dignity and independence” and all services are provided free of charge to clients.

Former President Bill Clinton was visiting during the week that Sully arrived, which allowed Sully a rare opportunity to be photographed with two former U.S. Presidents. Nobody is suggesting that Sully cares about such matters, but it is worth noting how few individuals can share that experience. Personally, I think the two men in this picture are quite lucky, because they are in the presence of Sully. They both are quite taken with him.

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She has authored five books on canine training and behavior.