Bush Library Unveils Statue Of Bush 41 Service Dog Sully
A statue of Sully, the service dog of former President George H.W. Bush, was unveiled Monday at his library. Its sculptor said it “is the most gratifying and perhaps the best work I’ve ever done.”
Renowned artist Susan Bahary and officials of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum presented the life-size statue of Sully, who was the 41st president’s constant companion during the last year of his life before he died Nov. 30 of 2018. A touching photograph of Sully lying in front of Bush’s casket garnered worldwide attention as it showed the dog’s love and loyalty to his devoted companion.
Bahary was commissioned to create the statue, which was paid for with private donations and non-university funds. It will be on permanent display at the library. She said she “fell in love with Sully and was determined to capture the beautiful bond between the president and his dog.
“It was a very challenging piece to do because it was necessary to show Sully as life-like as possible,” Bahary added. “I’m very pleased with the final result and it might be the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m very proud of it, and the reaction from people who have seen it has just been tremendous.”
That reaction also included Reveille IX, Texas A&M’s mascot, who was also present to honor the occasion and meet Sully, and the pair were on their best presidential behavior before the large crowd at the rotunda.
Bahary created the country’s first official war dog monument, Always Faithful, in 1994 that commemorated the 25 dogs who died in Guam during World War II. She also recently completed Stubby Salutes, a bronze work of the Boston Terrier who was one of the earliest and most famous of American military working dogs who served in France during World War I.
She said it took her many months to finish the statue of Sully, a 3-year-old Labrador Retriever. Sully now works at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland and greets patients every day. He has been given the rank of Hospital Corpsman Second Class in honor of President Bush’s service in the U.S. Navy.
John Miller, president and CEO of America’s VetDogs, a group that has provided service dogs to veterans and first responders for years, said the “quality of the service dogs we provide is second to none. We use 1,400 volunteers and they provide more than three million hours of work every year doing this work.”
“These service dogs can cost up to $50,000 each to breed, train and place them in assistance, but America’s VetDogs provides these services free of charge to each individual. It has been a blessing to help our veterans in this way,” Miller added.
David Jones, president and CEO of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, praised the Sully statue and its artist and said it will be “a wonderful new addition to the Bush Library.”
“The statue is so life-like that it almost appears that it is about to speak,” Jones said. “It shows the love and companionship that President Bush had for Sully and they were a source of strength for each other. There’s no doubt that it will be a very popular new exhibit for the library.”