A bizarre article published on the left-leaning news site Slate got destroyed for going after the service dog who accompanied former President George H.W. Bush during the final months of his life.
The service dog, Sully, was assigned to the 41st president earlier this year after the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush. And a photograph shared by their spokesman Jim McGrath went viral of the golden Labrador laying next to Bush’s casket with the caption "Mission complete."
However, Slate staff writer Ruth Graham made it clear that, according to her, Sully was getting more attention than the pooch deserved.
In a column titled "Don't Spend Your Emotional Energy on Sully H.W. Bush," Graham began by pointing out that Sully wasn’t a "lifelong companion" as the photograph may suggest but that he had only been with the president for six months, pointing out the service dog had already been reassigned to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as an ambassador of the nonprofit group America’s VetDogs.
She also seemed to have a problem with the fact that Sully has 147,000 Instagram followers.
"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)," Graham wrote. "But it's a bit demented to project soul-wrenching grief onto a dog's decision to lay 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 photograph, in other words, is not proof that Sully is a particularly 'good boy' or that 'we don't deserve dogs,' as countless swooning tweets put it on Monday. On its own, it says almost nothing other than the fact that Sully was, at one point in the same room as the casket of his former boss," she continued. "This is simply a photograph of a dog doing something dogs love to do: Lie down. The frenzy around it captures something humans love to do, too: Project our own emotional needs onto animals."
Slate got "ratio'd" on Twitter in reaction to the hit piece, meaning it received over 4,000 comments trashing the post that has only a few hundred likes and retweets.