Former presidential pooch Sully — the Long Island service dog that achieved fame as a faithful companion to the late President George H.W. Bush — has started a new job at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C.
The cream-colored Labrador, who served Bush in the last six months of his life, is now providing comfort to veterans and their families, according to a personal oath of enlistment read Wednesday at a ceremony that was streamed live on Facebook. The canine joined a team of facility dogs at the hospital, in accord with Bush's wish.
Sully — who after Bush's death returned to America’s VetDogs in Smithtown where the canine was born and trained — did not oblige when asked to raise his paw as the master of ceremony began the oath.
“Sully H.W. Bush, do you affirm — or pant — as a hospital corpsman in the United States Navy that you will support, comfort and cheer our warriors and their families, active duty and retirees?”
Sully — named for Chesley Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who safely landed an Airbus A320 on an icy Hudson River in January 2009 with 155 passengers and crew aboard — was asked to embrace the hospital staff and provide unconditional love and solace.
“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?"
At the end of the oath, Capt. Mark A. Kobelja, director of the Walter Reed center in Bethesda, Maryland, bent down and faced the pooch.
“Sully, shake,” Kobelja said.
The canine lifted his left paw, placed it on the captain's right palm for a shake.
“Welcome aboard,” Kobelja said and gave the canine a gentle rub on his head.