After the passing of President Geoge H.W. Bush, the country was moved by a picture of his service dog Sully lying near the casket giving his last true measure of devotion. It was a moment that people from each side of the divided political spectrum agreed showed the generous spirit of both dog and man. Of course, someone had to immediately try to darken that image.
Ruth Graham from Slate.com decided to do some fact checking about Sully and 41. She wrote that people should not waste emotion on Sully since he had only been assigned to the President for six months ago.
What the writer did not understand is that six months can be a lifetime of love between a human and dog. Usually, it takes six minutes, or even six seconds to for parents and pups to bond. I try to shy away from comparing dogs with children since obviously, the loss of a child is much more devastating, but would anyone say that a mother should not mourn the loss of her six-month-old child?
People who do not understand the bond between man and dog, which become stronger when a service dog is part of the equation, should not write about it. I know this is the age of social media when not only does every opinion need to be heard but liked and retweeted until we are inundated with foolish ideas and phony facts, but some of these opinions need to be covered up and never surface.
I requested to visit Sully in his dreams. It was a long wait. Sully was watching over his dad, who, with great fanfare, had joined us in the immortal world. Finally, Sully’s duty was done for the day, and he lay down to rest. I slipped into his dreams.
I asked him what it was like being a service dog for a former President. “Oh, that didn’t matter to me,” Sully said. “He was just my dad. I knew he was important, but he could have been homeless. It doesn’t matter. He was someone who needed help, and he became my best friend.
“There are a lot of people who love him as much as I did,” Sully said. “I can’t believe the endless amount of people who have come to pay their respects to him. Every human wants their dog to be the most liked pet in the world and we dogs want the same for our parents. When I saw all the people in line, I I knew my dad was indeed one of the most popular people in the world.
I asked him if he minded going to another family. “That’s my job. Usually we dogs want to go before our parents, but in this case, it is better that the parent goes first. Because they become so dependent on us, if we go to the Bridge first it is just devastating. Also, we should be able to help as many people as possible.”
Finally, I asked him about the Slate article. “I don’t let that bother me,” he said. “Some humans don’t understand, but most do, and those are the ones that matter.”
Sully awoke. He needed to sit watch over his dad again.
A great man has passed, but a great dog survives, ready to help out the next human, even if they are ordinary and poor.
It is the love of a dog.