Sully, former President George H.W. Bush's service dog, pays his respect to President Bush as he lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – This week, former President George H.W. Bush’s service dog, Sully, was photographed lying next to his master’s casket.
It’s a picture that touched people around the world, but days later, a critical article popped-up on Slate Magazine – saying people should not waste their “emotional energy” on the dog.
Critics are biting the New Hampshire author, Ruth Graham, over her article that questioned the photo – doubting if the service dog even cared his owner, the former president, was dead or if he was just laying there.
“All it [the article] was really saying is, we don’t know how the dog feels,” she said. In her article, Graham – who is a contributor for Slate – urged people to not waste their “emotional energy” on Sully.
“The pooch was no more than an employee who served for less than six months. 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?”
Many saw the article as an “attack” on the service dog.
One Twitter use said: “I've only been aware of Sully for a hot minute and I love him. Don't you dare try to tell me the man he helped after his wife died didn't love him too."
Another user, Leslie Jensen, said, "With all the news worthy things going on in this world, this is what you decide to spend time and energy on?
Another user said: "This is what gives "liberals" a bad name.”
Graham, who writes about religion and politics, said her article was not meant to be taken politically. "I would have written this about a Democrat president, too. I fully stand by the piece and I don’t regret writing it.”
Graham, who is not a dog owner, said she talked to hundreds of dog owners. She said she has not heard any arguments to convince her that anyone else knows better than she does about how Sully felt in that picture.