- The Washington Times - Monday, December 3, 2018

When a former president dies and an image of his loyal dog becomes a viral sensation, Slate wanted to make sure you knew former President George H.W. Bush and his dog were practically strangers.

The headline advised Slate readers “Don’t Spend Your Emotional Energy on Sully H.W. Bush,” with the reason in the subhead being “He’s a service dog who had been with the president for six months, not his lifelong companion.”

In the article posted Monday evening, author Ruth Graham called the image of Sully lying before Mr. Bush’s casket unremarkable, with the caveat that at least “the dog is moving on to another gig where he can be helpful to other people (rather than becoming another Bush family pet).”

“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?” she wrote.

Ms. Graham also noted that not all dogs are loyal.

“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?” she wrote, although it seemed clear from the photo that Sully wasn’t, in fact, eating Mr. Bush’s corpse.

Ms. Graham concluded that “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. This is simply a photograph of a dog doing something dogs love to do: Lie down.”

The reaction was swift and negative.

Kasie Hunt, Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News, responded with only a red-faced emoji, signaling anger.

Chris Pack, communications director for the conservative SuperPAC American Crossroads, retweeted Ms. Hunt and crowed at “@Slate somehow managing to unite the left, right and @dog_rates in opposition to their trash story?”

Dave in Texas replied to Slate with sarcastic congratulations.

“S—tposting about service dogs is a new level of pathetic that I didn’t think y’all could find. Thank you for amazing me today,” he wrote.

And Greg Gutfeld of Fox News called the Slate tweet the perfect reason for a (literal) apocalypse of social media.

“This might be the most perfect tweet to end Twitter on, forever. Shut it down. Now,” he wrote.

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