Jenna Bush Hager's Daughters Meet Service Dog Sully One Last Time since George H. W. Bush's Death
George H.W. Bush's granddaughters got a chance to meet the late president's service dog before he went off on his next mission.
The former-presidential dog Sully made a guest appearance on the "Today Show" on Thursday. He was joined by none other than the heroic pilot who he was named after.
Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger saved 155 people flying on the US Airway 1549 in 2009 by landing in the Hudson River. He and Sully (the dog) shook hand and paw on the show. Sullenberger said, "It's quite an honor," as he met the beloved dog.
Thanks so much! We love Sully!— Jenna Bush Hager (@JennaBushHager) February 21, 2019
Bush, who died at 94 in November 2018, was Sully's owner from June 2018. Sully had comforted the entire Bush family after the president's death.
The former president was a Navy pilot during World War II and received Sully from America's VetDogs organizations. His daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, was also on the show on Thursday.
In addition, her two daughters, five-year-old Mila and three-year-old Poppy, also stopped by. Bush Hager told the hosts:
"I think we sometimes don't think of service dogs as helping those that are in their final months, but the comfort that this dog provided my whole family..."
Sully's loyalty was witnessed right up to his owner's passing and at his public memorial. At the time, Sully was photographed laying solemnly in front of Bush's casket.
The scene was adored by millions whose heartstrings were pulled at the sight of the mourning labrador. Sullenberger, 68, said of the incident: "What a vigil he was holding."
"It was quite a moving image. That was the iconic image for me of the whole service."
Mila and Poppy also displayed their admiration and love for Sully on Thursday when they said their goodbyes. Bush Hager posted a video and photos to her Instagram of her little girls.
Mila can be seen rubbing Sully's left paw in a short clip. In the following two pictures, Poppy is seen bent down giving Sully a sweet hug. The last photo shows the two girls on the mat petting a seated Sully.
The two-year-old service dog is set to take on new responsibilities at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. It was the late president's decision.
Sully will go on to spread his love at Walter Reed Hospital. He was a loving companion when my Gampy needed him most. My girls adored him—and wanted a final goodbye... https://t.co/8E9HZL6bxM— Jenna Bush Hager (@JennaBushHager) February 21, 2019
Valerie Cramer trained Sully for his new task and is also sad to see him off. Yet she is well aware of what his new role will give to others. She said of his departure:
"It was very important to President Bush that Sully carry on serving veterans, so he chose that Sully wouldn't work for one individual person, but that he would serve many veterans, and the hospital setting is the perfect environment for that."
Sully, called Sully W Bush by the family, will be keeping up with the practice of both his families. On the Bush side, he'll be honoring the wishes of his late owner.
On the Sullenberger side, he'll be continuing his duty as a service dog. The family has a history of guide dog training, and Sullenberger's oldest daughter is studying to be a vet.
Regarding Sully's upcoming duty, Sullenberger said:
"It's dear to our heart. I think he's going to uphold the tradition quite well I can see."