George H.W. Bush's family just got a little bit bigger. The 41st president welcomed a furry, four-legged friend to keep him company.
On Monday, the former president, 94, tweeted the exciting news that he's now the proud parent of an America’s Vet Dogs service dog named Sully. The dog is likely meant to help him keep up his spirits after the loss of his wife and his health issues.
“A great joy to welcome home the newest member of our family, “Sully,” a beautiful — and beautifully trained — lab from @AmericasVetDogs. Could not be more grateful, especially for their commitment to our veterans,” Bush, who is a World War II vet, wrote.
Sully, a Labrador retriever trained by the non-profit, has met more presidents than most people. He was escorted to his new home at Walker's Point by the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, who is friends with Bush.
According to People, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, which recommended America’s VetDogs to Bush and his family. The former POTUS has been in and out of the hospital quite a few times in recent months.
He was most recently in the hospital with low blood pressure and fatigue. According to People, he also suffers from vascular parkinsonism. Since 2015 when he broke a vertebra, he has used a motorized scooter to get around.
Sully, 2, is specially trained to help Bush with his daily activities. He will also keep the former president company.
The dog has a special history. Sully is named after the airline pilot who performed an emergency landing in New York City's Hudson River in 2009, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.
Once he was old enough to leave his mother, Sully went to live in prison as part of VetDogs’ prison puppy program. Until he was 15 months old, Sully was trained and socialized by inmates. They helped the future service dog learn basic commands, obedience, housebreaking, and the foundations of his service dog training.
After his time in prison, Sully returned to America’s VetDogs facility in Smithtown, New York, where they put him through a specialized training program. It was designed to specifically meet Bush’s individual needs.
“America’s VetDogs’ trainers and staff worked closely with the president’s team to find the best match,” said John Miller, president and CEO of America’s VetDogs, in a press release about Sully’s placement with Bush. “We are excited to work with President Bush and utilize this opportunity to shine a light on the services America’s VetDogs provides veterans and first responders to live a life without boundaries.”
Sully is just one of the dogs that America’s VetDogs and its sister organization the Guide Dog Foundation trains and places every year. The non-profits place guide dogs, hearing dogs, service dogs for PTSD, services dogs for physical disabilities, and therapy dogs to those in need. It's free-of-charge, which helps those who can't afford the hefty price tag—to breed, raise, train, and place a service dog costs more than $50,000.
This isn’t the first dog for the former president. He and his late wife Barbara famously raised English Springer Spaniel Millie—who even had her own book—during their time in the White House. Millie isn't the only famous Bush dog; Sully has his own Instagram where you can follow his progress with the Bush family.
On his Instagram, Sully shared, "I started settling in at Walker’s Point yesterday. Lots of new smells and kind people. I have had a lot of training to get to this point, it hasn’t always been easy, but I am ready for the job. “Any definition of a successful life must include service to others.”
What an adorable dog! In other news, Meghan Markle turned heads in a gorgeous dress alongside the Queen. Do you like it?