Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Heroes

We’ve all been transfixed by the story of Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, the pilot who eased US Airways A320 safely into the frigid Hudson River on Thursday, saving all 155 people. He has been hailed as a hero by New York Mayor Bloomberg and New York Gov. David Paterson.

The fact is, Sully and his family, Lorrie, Katie and Kelly, have always been heroes in our book. With the Alameda puppy raising group lead by Diana Hirzel, they raised two pups: Fran and Misty, and have been to many Fun Days on our California campus. They’ve also provided love and care to three of our breeder dogs: Goldens Pita and Rainbow, and more recently Twinkle, a Lab. Twinkle (pictured) is retired now with Sully and his family. She produced 19 puppies, five of whom went on to become Guide Dogs.

Selfless volunteers like the Sullenbergers are role models for all of us. Caring expertise, it seems, is all in a day’s work for this family. We’re so proud to have you and your family with us, Captain Sullenberger!


Updated January 22, 2008:
Read more about Captain Sullenberg's heroism at these websites -

San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Area pilot hailed as hero in N.Y. plane crash"
Contra Costa Times, "Wife of Danville pilot says `This is the Sully I know'"
U.K Times, "Immaculate, unflappable and now the hero of the Hudson"


  1. What an incredible story! My current GDB puppy 'Sully' is sitting beside me chewing his nylabone. Sully is a 5 month old labradorable!

    Mary & Sully who says that's my name

  2. Incredible! Our hats are off to you and your family. How wonderful to hear that you are also puppy raisers!! Excellent!! We are puppy raisers with Southeastern Guide Dogs (Palmetto, Florida)....our group is in Ft. Myers, Florida. So, from one school to another we are all very proud!!

  3. The world needs more selfless people like this guy!

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  5. I just heard that "Sully" is part of the Guide Dog Puppy Raising family. That is very exciting. As a member of the family, I am so proud.

  6. Isn't it something how this organization seems to attract some of the best of the best of humanity? This man, obviously has impacted the destinies of so many lives, a living, breathing blessing to hundreds, in more ways than probably anyone knows. Thanks, Sully! YOU ROCK!!!
    -KaeAnn Rausch & Melody

  7. Oh my, how could I forget.

    My current puppy #10 is named


  8. Wow. Surely God and Angels were watching over that flight.....what a great pilot to remain calm in such a crazy situation and do such a great landing.
    Not only that but risk his life to make sure all the passenger and crew got off safely. I believe he circled the inside of the plane at least twice making sure of that.
    And now to hear how he raises guide dog pups....
    he should be nominated for something.

  9. I can't tell you how good it feels to hear a story with such a great ending. "Sully" is a double hero. Saving 155 souls and having a family that raises GD puppies. I think Mick A(puppy raising dept. @GDB) should come up with some names for future pup's in honor of "Sully". Here are my suggestions. Miracle, Hudson, River, Landing, Wings, Icy, Faith, Hope, Steady, Manhattan, La Gaurdia, Level,Splash, Flight, Action, and of course they should name a puppy after the co pilot and the 3 flight attendants. Great team work to all who helped the passengers on that flight. You are all HERO'S.
    GD puppy raiser
    Cheryl and Nicole and puppy Bella
    PS We'd fly on your plane anytime.

  10. We are proud to be part of the Guide Dog family with you, Captain. Our breeder, Belva, retired last week and we look forward to the honor of meeting you, your family, and, of course, Twinkle, at the next Fun Day.

    Jane and Mark Angelich and Belva

  11. Puppy Raisers and Guide Dog people in general... are the BEST!!!
    Mike & Diana
    Larkspur CO

  12. Kudos to sully and GDB for all the great dogs. I agree that every person on that flight was lifted by angels wings. My prayers are with them all after a taumatic situation.


  13. We just learned there is a parade in his honor on Saturday at 1 PM on the Town Green, 400 Front Street, Danville. We're hoping to see some of our raisers there with their pups in their green jackets. If you go, please send us your photos (especially 300 dpi) and videos!

  14. What a great story! I can remember the fist day of news coverage. Having just gotten back from my holiday travels made me think... Bamboo and I would not have had a problem with getting off the plane. She is well suited for yet another success where that is concerned. Courage, waterproof coat, and a great sense of adventure! She is always excited for something new; so much that it usually requires the gentle leader. Also, on our first flight, my single serving friend commented that she thought it was strange to call a "crash" a water landing... Now I know that she was mistaken!!! Maybe I shouldn'y be surprised that someone like this is involved in the GDB mission. So many hearts, hands, and generous souls are involved in turning a puppy into an amazing being such as Bamboo. Often I tell people that she is the worlds best guide. Well, she is, but aren't they all? The right dog for the right person is the key to that statement. I feel honored to have some form of association with such great people!

    Wags & licks,
    Bamboo & her faithful human-Seth.

  15. Oh, my!!! How incredible it is to learn that such a skilled pilot has, with his family, opened up his home to puppies who may eventuall guide blind and visually impaired individuals. Or the puppies may become breeders, who also have graced the rooms of this wonderful man's home. I am a guide dog user from another school other than GDB, but it makes no difference to me. All puppy raisers are selfless, dedicated people. So it just does my heart good to know that there is one more thing absolutely wonderful about "Sully".

    Vanessa and Griffin

  16. I agree, Vanessa! Raisers Rock!

    Just as I was writing this, someone handed me a copy of an interview with Capt. Sullenberger from Newsweek (Feb. 23rd). In it, he says "Having a plan enabled us to keep our hope alive. Perhaps in a similar fashion, people who are in their own personal crises -- a pink slip, a foreclosure - can be reminded that no matter how dire the circumstance, or how litle time you have to deal with it, further action is always possible. There's always a way out of even the tightest spot. You can survive." He continues to be an inspiration to all of us!