George H.W. Bush’s Service Dog Sully Prepares For His Next Assignment After George’s Death

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

When former President George H.W. Bush died on November 30, he left behind one very important best friend: his service dog, Sully.

Sully joined the family at the Bush compound on Walker’s Point in June, shortly after George’s wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, died. Since then, the yellow Lab had helped George with daily activities like using his wheelchair. The two formed a tight bond.

The 3-year-old dog was front and center by George’s casket at the US Capitol rotunda, where loved ones gathered to say goodbye to the former president. Soon, Sully will be off to his next assignment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“As much as our family is going to miss this dog, we’re comforted to know he’ll bring the same joy to his new home, Walter Reed, that he brought to 41,” George W. Bush wrote.

After the funeral, Sully’s Instagram account featured a photo of the pup lying in front of the flag-draped casket of his late handler.

The caption: “Mission complete.”

On November 30, George H.W. Bush died at 94 years old. Before his death, he had the chance to make a special new friend.

Meet Sully, George’s service dog.

Sully is a yellow Labrador retriever who was trained in the America’s VetDogs service program. At 3 years old, he was specifically trained to help George with daily tasks, People reports.

Sully joined the Bush family at Walker’s Point in June, two months after the death of Barbara Bush.

Though they only spent a short time together, George and Sully formed a tight bond.


Sully even accompanied George on his final public outing on November 1, when he went to the polls to vote in the midterm elections.

The Lab was trained in the VetDogs’ prison dogs program until he was 15 months old, and George referred to him as “beautifully trained.”

Nonetheless, he also enjoyed some very typical dog activities in his downtime, like chewing on bones.


And playing with balls on the beach.

Sully was front and center by the former president’s casket at the US Capitol rotunda as a crowd of mourners gathered to say goodbye to the 41st president.

View this post on Instagram

Mission complete.

A post shared by Sully H.W. Bush (@sullyhwbush) on

Now that his handler is gone, where will this devoted service dog be off to next?

He’s going to Walter Reed, a military medical center, according to an America’s VetDogs statement to People.

“Later this week, Sully will return back to America’s VetDogs in Smithtown, New York, for a temporary stay throughout the holiday season before joining the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Facilities Dog Program,” the statement read.

“Sully will be working alongside fellow VetDogs facility dogs SGT Dillon and SGT Truman who are there to assist with physical and occupational therapy to wounded soldiers and active duty personnel during their journey to recovery at Walter Reed Bethesda,” the statement continued.

“America’s VetDogs has placed physical and occupational therapy dogs at military medical centers to work with service members recovering from amputations or other injuries. Through retrieval, bracing, and innovative tug-of-war exercises, these dogs work with service members as they adapt and work with their new prosthetic limbs.”

It’s still unclear who, exactly, Sully’s next handler will be, though it could be one of the active duty corpsmen or medics.

For now, we’re sure Sully is still getting used to life without George. Mission complete, indeed.