The emotional photo, tweeted by Bush spokesman Jim McGrath, showed Sully laying down at the casket of his former owner.
Apparently, this photograph enraged someone at Slate so much, they took the time to write an almost 800-word article titled “Don’t Spend Your Emotional Energy on Sully H.W. Bush,” downplaying the significance of the role the dog played in Bush’s life.
Writer, Ruth Graham, wanted to ensure everyone knew that Sully was “not a longtime Bush family pet, letting go of the only master he has known.” Sully was only an “employee who served for less than six months.”
Graham writes, “It’s wonderful for Bush that he had a trained service animal like Sully available to him in his last months. It’s a good thing that the dog is moving on to another gig where he can be helpful to other people (rather than becoming another Bush family pet). But it’s a bit demented to project soul-wrenching grief onto a dog’s decision to lie down in front of a casket. Is Sully ‘heroic’ for learning to obey the human beings who taught him to perform certain tasks? Does the photo say anything special about this dog’s particular loyalty or judgment, or is he just … there? Also, if dogs are subject to praise for obeying their masters, what do we do about the pets who eat their owners’ dead (or even just passed-out) bodies?”
The photo, according to Graham “says almost nothing other than the fact that Sully was, at one point in the same room as the casket of his former boss.” It is simply “a photograph of a dog doing something dogs love to do: Lie down. ”
The president received Sully earlier this year after the passing of his wife, Barbara Bush. The service dog, provided by America’s Vet Dogs, was highly adaptable and could fetch items, answer the phone, open doors, and turn lights on and off.