An article by Slate magazine has been savaged by Twitter users after urging people not to waste their “emotional energy” on Sully, George H.W. Bush’s service dog.

A photograph of the 2-year-old Labrador retriever resting beside the casket of his “best friend” and former president went viral Sunday, pulling at heartstrings across the political divide.

Mission complete. #Remembering41

— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) December 3, 2018

Referring to the “soul-wrenching” reactions to the image as “demented”, the article reminded readers that Sully was not a lifelong companion of Bush, who died Friday at the age of 94.

While there’s many reasons why people were so eager to see signs of grief in the dog, it may come down to the depth of grief humans feel when they lose their own canine companions.

Dogs are the only animals that have evolved specifically to be companions and friends to humans. Indeed, psychology professor Frank McAndrew has previously written in The Conversation that they “provide us with unconditional, uncritical positive feedback.”

Sully H.W. Bush is a service dog who had been with the president for six months, not his lifelong companion:

— Slate (@Slate) December 4, 2018

What do you mean? That dog isn’t 94?

— Kaylee Trisler (@kaylee_trisler) December 4, 2018

But for Slate contributor Ruth Graham, 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?” the article read. “Does the photo say anything special about this dog’s particular loyalty or judgment, or is he just … there?”

Many Twitter users saw the article as an “attack” on the service dog and wasted no time in letting the publication know exactly what they thought of it.

— KSigAg12 (@TroyJackSmith) December 4, 2018

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.

— Phyllis ❄️ (@connachtpa) December 4, 2018

— Frank Murphy ? (@frankmurphy2009) December 4, 2018

Seriously @Slate? Not getting enough attention today so you had to pick on a SERVICE DOG?? #shame #dogsrule

— Amy Nichols (@amynichols) December 4, 2018

— JudgeYouHarshly™ (@JudgeYouHarshly) December 4, 2018

Slate tweeting this ridiculously stupid article out a second time

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) December 4, 2018

— Jake Gulledge (@gulledge57) December 4, 2018

— Amy Riesinger (@ahriesinger) December 4, 2018

Had enough of the cynical point of view of this site. Bye.

— Nulla dies sine linea (@moodylonerphile) December 4, 2018

Things that are good: Sully the PupThings that are bad: This article

— ?Will Piereson? (@JWP1022) December 4, 2018 Download

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