A service dog’s mission after its handler dies

Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 21:42:45-05

NORFOLK, Va. - It's the picture seen around the world - Sully the service dog accompanying former President George H.W. Bush one last time.  

"When I look at [the picture] as a professional dog handler, the dog is doing its job. That's what he's supposed to do, and that's what the dog wants to do," said Joseph Agustin, co-founder of Warrior Mission Ranch.

But what happens to service dogs like Sully when their mission is over?

Some go back into service to help other veterans and others find a new role.

Agustin said his organization lets the family decide.

"Not only did [the family] just lose somebody, but now they may have to lose a dog as well. So I don't necessarily ask that family to turn the dog back over," Agustin told News 3's Erin Miller.

In Sully's case, he will return to service to help other veterans.

Agustin said that the bond between a canine and handler is indescribable. They rely on one another in a way that not many people will understand in their lifetime.

They can be a veteran, a child or someone with a disability.

Regardless, their partner in crime will be there until the very end, just like Sully with Bush.

Full Coverage: Death of George H.W. Bush