Sully, President George H.W. Bush's former service dog, is now befriending vets with disabilities

Posted at 3:06 PM, May 27, 2019

Dogs are a man's best friend. But Sully the dog earned international fame for his loyalty last winter by standing by his former owner, President George H.W. Bush, until Bush's death last December.

But now, Sully has a new friend.

Rob Hunter served in the Navy for 25 years.

Six months ago, he had part of his leg amputated after an accident aboard a ship in Japan. The recovery has been a challenge.

"I thought it was going to be easier. I was kind of surprised at how hard it is to figure out your balance," Hunter said.

On some days, the mental anguish can be as bad as the physical pain. But Hunter has found relief in an unexpected way.

"The first day they came in here I was having a really bad morning. I was really close to crying, actually," he said. "And the dogs all jumped on my bed, started licking my face. I don't know what it is about a dog licking your face but snapped right out of it."

The dogs are a part of the Walter Reed Bethesda Facility Dog Program, and Sully is perhaps its best known participant.

"Just walking down the hall we get stopped regularly to want to pet Sully, to have a picture with Sully, to meet Sully," Samantha Murdock, Sully's handler, said.

But for Hunter, it's not Sully's fame that impresses him. It's how Sully and the other dogs can make such a difference.

"I was at a point where I was ready to commit suicide and I had a couple friend that were in the Navy and saw it," Hunter said. "They saved my life that night and these dogs do that on a weekly basis."

It's a weekly pick-me-up that can make a lifelong difference.