George HW Bush's service dog Sully lies by his coffin ready to accompany him to Washington on one last journey together
The specially trained golden labrador was gifted to Bush senior in June after his wife of 73 years former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away.
Former US President George HW Bush died on Friday, eliciting outpouring of grief from all quarters. A touch of heartbreaking poignancy was added to the WW II hero's passing away by a photograph that his spokesperson Jim McGrath shared of his service dog lying next to his coffin in Houston on Sunday.
The image shows the specially trained golden labrador named Sully mournfully lying down beside Bush senior's flag-draped coffin. McGrath shared the picture of the dog, who had been beside the 41st President for months, with the caption: "Mission complete."
The dog, who is named after the heroic pilot who successfully landed a damaged passenger jet on the Hudson River in 2009, saving 155 lives, was gifted to Bush senior in June after his wife of 73 years, former First Lady Barbara Bush, passed away.
Shortly after the dog's arrival at the new home, Bush's official Twitter account posted a picture of Sully and former President Bill Clinton at their house on June 25.
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"A great joy to welcome home the newest member of our family, "Sully," a beautiful - and beautifully trained - lab from America’s VetDogs," the tweet read. "Could not be more grateful, especially for their commitment to our veterans." America’s VetDogs is a nonprofit group which provides service dogs to veterans in need.
Soon after the news broke out of Bush senior's demise, America's Vet Dogs tweeted a statement, saying: "America’s VetDogs is deeply saddened by the loss of President George H.W. Bush. Our condolences go out to the Bush family at this time."
The organization also posted an image of Bush being pushed in a wheelchair while holding Sully's leash as he walks beside him.
Reports state that Sully's mission isn't entirely over yet and that the dog is set to accompany the casket to Washington, DC on Monday, according to CNN.
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. pic.twitter.com/Fx4ZCZAJT8— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) June 25, 2018
The New York-based nonprofit organization told KTRK-TV that Sully will return to its headquarters, where he is set to stay for the holiday season.
The service dog is later expected to be transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Facility Dog Program in Bethesda. Sully will reportedly help wounded veterans at the facility as they undergo occupational and physical therapy.
America's VetDogs' President and CEO, John Miller, said in a statement: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family during this difficult time. It was truly an honor to have provided service dog Sully to be by the president's side for the past several months."
"As a true patriot and a visionary, President Bush will forever be viewed by people with disabilities and their families as a hero through his efforts to enact the Americans with Disabilities Act. We are forever grateful to his service to the American people," he added.
Air Force One has arrived in Houston for what will technically be called "Special Air Mission 41" tomorrow and Wednesday. A beautiful day In Texas -- "ceiling and visibility unlimited," Mr. President. #Remembering41 #CAVU pic.twitter.com/F1xWzDxd04— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) December 2, 2018
Reports state that Air Force One arrived in Texas on Sunday to transport Bush senior's body for one last flight to Washington, DC for a state funeral. The aircraft will reportedly be renamed temporarily as "Special Air Mission 41" for the flight.
"Air Force One has arrived in Houston for what will technically be called "Special Air Mission 41" tomorrow and Wednesday. A beautiful day In Texas - "ceiling and visibility unlimited," Mr. President," McGrath tweeted along with a picture of the presidential plane.