George H.W. The Bush service dog had his first encounter with the hero he was named for, pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, before he leaves for a new mission.
A historic summit of Sully’s took place on TODAY Thursday when George H.W. Bush’s service dog, Sully, met the hero he was named after, pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, and even shook his hand.
“It is a great honor”, Sullenberger said about meeting his namesake.
The dog Sully touched hearts as the beloved companion of the 41st president for the death of Bush on November 94. Sullenberger, 68, is a retired airline captain who rescued 155 people aboard US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009 when he safely landed the crippled plane on the Hudson River in New York City.
Sully was sent to Bush by America’s VetDogs, an organization that trains and places service dogs with disabled military veterans and first responders. Bush was a pilot in the navy who served in the Second World War.
The dog became such a beloved part of Bush’s life that he even had socks with Sully’s face on it. The dog also helped comfort Bush in the aftermath of the death of former first lady Barbara Bush at 92 in April.
“I think we sometimes do not think of service dogs as helping people in the last few months, but of the consolation this dog has given my entire family …” TODAY Jenna Bush Hager said on Thursday.
The dog served faithfully until the end, which was captured in a moving photo of Sully in front of Bush’s coffin.
“What a vigil he had,” said Sullenberger. “It was a pretty moving image, that was the iconic image for me of the entire service.”
Sully connected with the entire Bush family, who called him ‘Sully H.W. Called Bush. He was especially loved by the daughters of Jenna, Mila, 5 and Poppy, 3, who made a special appearance TODAY to give their good friend a hug before he started his new mission.
Sully will start next week at the Facility Dog Program at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he will work with wounded veterans.
“It was very important for President Bush that Sully would continue to serve veterans, so he chose Sully not to work for one person, but that he would serve many veterans, and the hospital environment is the perfect environment for that,” “Sully’s trainer, Valerie Cramer, said on TODAY.
Dogs have also been an important part of Sullenberger’s life. His family trains guide dogs for the blind for more than 20 years, and his eldest daughter is now at school to become a veterinarian after raising guide dog puppies.
“It is dear to us,” Sullenberger said.
He can also be proud of the fact that the other Sully will continue their habit of helping others in need.
“I think he will maintain the tradition well, I can see it,” he said.