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Captain Chelsey Sullenberger Meets Sully the Service Dog

In June 2018, former President George W. Bush had contacted Walter Reed to get one of their military service dogs. George W wanted to give his father a service dog. In April 2018, Barbara Bush, the wife of George H.W. Bush and the mother of George W. Bush had passed away. In June, the younger Bush wanted to give his father something to look forward to everyday and become a little more active. Sully the yellow lab service dog would spend the last six months of George H.W. Bush’s life with him. The Bushes spent their summers in Kennebunkport, Maine, and the rest of the time at their home in Houston, Texas.

Sully is part of the Walter Reed service dog program for injured, aged, and ill servicemen and politicians in need of the help of a service dog. Once the person no longer is in need of the dog’s service, he is returned to the program to get ready for the next assignment. It was George H.W. Bush’s wish that Sully continue serving others after the former President was gone.

Sully the service dog was born on July 14, 2016. As soon as he was ready to leave his litter, the yellow lab was named and trained. Sully is one of many service dogs named for military heroes. His six months working with George H.W. Bush made an animal star out of the dog. Sully was named for Captain Chelsey Sullenberger III, who was nicknamed Sully.

Chelsey Sullenberger was born on January 23,1951, in Dennison, Texas. One year before retiring from the U.S. Airways, Sully the commercial pilot was flying U.S. Airways Flight 1542. On January 15,2009, both of the airliner’s engines were disabled by a bird strike while the plane was flying over the Hudson River. The pilot safely landed the plane on the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers. Sullenberger was honored to learn that a service dog was named in his honor.

On February 21, 2019, Captain Sullenberger met his namesake service dog for the first time when the two shook hands on the Today Show. Over the summer, former President George H. W. Bush wanted to meet Captain Sullenberger. Unfortunately, Bush’s decline in health caused the meeting to be cancelled. Sully, the service dog, and Jenna Bush Hager were on hand to meet the captain on the Today Show this past Thursday.