Sully the service dog’s loyalty and aid to his late owner — U.S. President George H.W. Bush — has been recognized by America’s VetDogs in Smithtown with a bronze statue.
America’s VetDogs at 371 East Jericho Turnpike is an organization that pairs veterans and first responders with service dogs to help enhance their mobility and renew their independence.
The statue is now at its campus in Smithtown.
John Miller, the company’s president and CEO, said the organization chose Sully for a statue because he is a great representation of the services the dogs provide for veterans and first responders.
He said Smtihtown was the perfect place for the statue, since the organization’s national headquarters is based there, and is where the majority of their clients come to train with their dogs.
“We thought it was really important to give Sully his recognition, and honor symbolically all the dogs that have helped veterans that have come from America’s VetDogs,” Miller said. “Sully has, while working with the president, done a tremendous job of shining a light on the services that are available for veterans and first responders.”
Miller says the media attention Sully has received has put America’s Vet Dogs’ services on the map. More people are now aware of what they do and how the dogs help veterans and first responders.
The bronze statue was made by sculptor Susan Bahary, who specializes in creating statues that honor service dogs and capture the bond between humans and animals
When she first met Sully, Bahary said she was a little starstruck.
“I really respect America’s VetDogs’ mission, so it was a great partnership in creating this monument that raises awareness for the work that they do,” Bahary said.
Bahary wanted to capture Sully’s loyal, charismatic spirit, and service dog nature by designing the statue with Sully in the “retrieve pose” — sitting with the leash in his mouth, signaling to his owner to go for a walk.
“I’m really moved by the human-animal bond and the greatness that can come out of it,” Bahary said. “I think the animals bring out the best in us and it’s evident when they’re working together.”