Animal Lovers Bite Back at Slate for Calling George HW Bush’s Service Dog, Sully, an ‘Employee’

“Sully is not a longtime Bush family pet, letting go of the only master he has known,” writer Ruth Graham says offending article

Slate came in for withering criticism on Monday after publishing an article going after former President George H.W. Bush’s service dog, Sully. The Labrador had been at Bush’s side in his final months and has taken the internet by storm after a photo of him lying by Bush’s casket went viral on Monday.

The 94-year-old Bush died on Friday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The basic thrust of the Slate piece by Ruth Graham was that as a service dog, Sully was just an “employee” of the Bush family and that we broadly shouldn’t anthropomorphize animals.

“Sully is not a longtime Bush family pet, letting go of the only master he has known. He is an employee who served for less than six months,” said Graham. “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?”

View this post on Instagram

Mission complete.

A post shared by Sully H.W. Bush (@sullyhwbush) on

Graham defiantly stood by the piece, tweeting out a number of hateful messages she had received from the aggrieved online community.

“Waking up to many beautiful notes from my fans, America’s most online dog people,” she said. “One thing is for sure, this is a normal amount of emotional investment in the question of whether a single photograph of a dog you’ve never met depicts the dog in a state of mourning.”

In an additional comment to TheWrap, Graham added that contrary to a growing consensus online, she was not a cat person.

The article, nevertheless, seemed tailor-made to feed the Twitter outrage machine, which did not disappoint.

“This might be the most perfect tweet to end Twitter on, forever. Shut it down. Now,” said Fox News host Greg Gutfeld.

“Are you serious with this crap?” added DailyWire editor Ashe Schow. “You just have to s– all over the touching story of a service dog standing by his human.”

And it pretty much went from there.