George H.W. Bush, our nation's 41st president and the father of the 43rd, died in November at the age of 94. The late president was a longtime dog lover, and his former service dog, Sully, now has a new home.
That's right: Sully H.W. Bush, Bush's yellow Labrador, has started a new job with the U.S. Navy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington. He's joined the medical center's facility dog program, where he will help reduce stress and increase positive feelings among patients and staff.
The ceremony was streamed live on Facebook; Sully was appointed to the rank of hospital corpsman second class.
"Your appointment as a petty officer in the United States Navy makes you heir to a long and proud tradition of naval leadership," said a Navy spokesman.
Sully even has a personalized oath of enlistment:
"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? That you take this obligation freely, without any promise of treats or tummy rubs and that you will faithfully discharge the duties to provide joy, love and nurturing for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and sailors and their families?"
And he even proudly "posted" about the ceremony to Instagram:
Today I became an official Facility Dog - HM2 Petty Officer, U.S. Navy. It's an honor and privilege to join a wonderful group of dogs at @wrbethesda and I look forward to continuing my mission to serve veterans as my best friend wished for me.
Yes, Sully has indeed come a long way. He was trained by America's VetDogs, a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs for disabled military veterans and first responders. As a service dog, therapy dog and guide dog, Sully "is capable of doing a number of tasks, from answering phones to turning lights on and off."
Americans are certainly proud of him:
And Sully's already visiting patients:
Sully first captured the heart of the nation after he was photographed lying before the late president's casket at the funeral ceremony:
When we received the request for President Bush, we knew we needed to find a dog that was super adaptable, because the President did a lot of traveling and got a lot of visitors," Brad Hibbard, chief program officer at Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind/America's VetDogs, told CNN last year.
"We immediately thought of Sully. We knew he 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."
Good boy, Sully. We're certain you'll do amazingly in your new position!