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Soldiering on

Bush companion now military working dog

Sean Doolittle, a Washington Nationals baseball player, takes a photo with Sully at a USO event at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in April.

After former President George H.W. Bush died last year at 94, his devoted service dog, Sully, captured hearts worldwide when he was photographed lying beside Bush’s casket.

Though a family spokesman described the scene with the poignant words mission complete,” Sully’s career is far from over.

In fact, the yellow Labrador, around 3 years old, has gone from being a famous service dog to being a famous military working dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

Sully — now one of seven working dogs tasked with helping wounded soldiers and active duty personnel at the hospital — received a personalized oath of enlistment to provide “unconditional love and solace, especially on busy days,” and to acknowledge that the responsibility comes “without any promise of treats or tummy rubs.”

Bush, the nation’s 41st president, was honored with a stamp released in June.

Military working dogs, who serve the armed forces in many, often dangerous, capacities, are the subject of four stamps that were released Aug. 1.

In his new role at Walter Reed, Sully wears a uniform made from cloth worn by former Navy hospital corpsman Evan Sisley, who served two deployments with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Eastern Europe and later served as a personal aide to Bush.

Sisley, who got to know Sully when they both cared for the former president, predicted he’ll bring “a lot of love and joy” to patients, family and staff at Walter Reed.

“He has one of the biggest hearts of any dog I’ve ever met,” Sisley said.

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