NEW YORK, March 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world's largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is proud to honor the late President George H.W. Bush's service dog, Sully, as the recipient of the 2019 AKC Paw of CourageSM award. This award is in recognition of his loyalty, dedication and distinguished service.
Sully, a two and a half-year-old Labrador Retriever, is a highly trained service dog who was paired with the former President and Navy veteran in June 2018, and was specifically matched to provide assistance and companionship to President Bush in his daily activities. America's VetDogs, a national not-for-profit service dog provider based in Smithtown, New York, was recommended to the former President through VetDogs' relationship with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The Bush family worked with America's VetDogs to find a dog that would meet the President's needs. Sully assisted with everyday tasks such as retrieving items, summoning help, and most importantly providing companionship to President Bush in his daily activities.
In February 2019, Sully joined the Walter Reed Bethesda Facility Dog Program as a Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class (HM2), where he will provide interactive care for patients and staff using innovative Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) during their road to recovery. "The devotion and comfort that dogs provide their owners goes unmatched," said AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung. "Sully served the late President George H.W. Bush honorably; providing him support and assistance, but even more importantly, love and companionship. The 2019 AKC Paw of Courage gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to the devotion that Sully brought to the late President in the final months of his life."
The Labrador Retriever even has an Instagram account (@SullyHWBush) where he has grown his following to more than 250,000. Sully will be honored with a 2019 AKC Paw of Courage medallion and an engraved plaque in honor of his notable service to the late President George H.W. Bush.
"It's an honor for America's VetDogs to accept the AKC's Paw of Courage Award on behalf of Sully," says President & CEO John Miller, America's VetDogs. "America's VetDogs is very proud of Sully and his service to President Bush. Sully is a wonderful example of all of the service dogs that we provide to our nations veterans and we look forward to him continuing his mission at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center."
Any working dog is eligible to receive an AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. To nominate a dog for a Paw of Courage award, click here.
About the American Kennel Club
Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization, which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit www.akc.org.
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About America's VetDogs
Since 2003, America's VetDogs (www.VetDogs.org) has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel. America's VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation and serves clients from across the United States. VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America's VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.
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America's VetDogs has been accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.
SOURCE American Kennel Club