INDIANAPOLIS - Blue II, the English bulldog, who served as Butler University’s mascot from 2004-2013, passed away on Saturday due to complications from congestive heart failure.
Blue II, 9, appeared on the floor of every Butler men’s basketball home game, certain away games and the 2010 and 2011 Final Four games.
"Not only is he the school's dog, he's every student's dog here, so it was really upsetting to learn about that," Butler student Mariah Sells said.
Blue retired from his mascot duties on May 20 and officially handed over those duties to 1-year-old Butler Blue III, also known as Trip.
"Blue really galvanized the pride and tradition of having a live mascot at Butler," Michael Kaltenmark, Blue’s caretaker, said. “His daily presence on campus, online and at everything from athletic events to black tie galas made him a living and breathing fixture of the Butler brand. He was born for the role.”
Blue was Butler’s second live mascot. He replaced Blue I, who was owned by alumna Kelli Walker. She moved from Indianapolis in 2004 to Bellingham, Wash., and eventually to the Chicago, Ill. area, where she and Blue I still reside, officials said.
Officials said Blue’s health began to decline after his retirement.
"The outpouring of support for Blue in his final days was emotionally overwhelming," Kaltenmark said. "The circumstances were less than ideal, but the Butler community and our fans really rallied around him. Even in the end, Blue demonstrated great character and the gift to bring us all together. He will forever be remembered as a Butler legend."
Butler is planning a Bulldog Memorial to honor and remember Blue and all of Butler’s live mascots – past, present and future.
Butler’s class of 2013 started the fundraising effort with a generous gift. Blue’s friends and fans can add their support by clicking here .
Fans can also pay tribute to Blue II at the Starbucks in Atherton Union on campus where his portrait will be displayed. Fans can visit the portrait starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and throughout the rest of the weekend.