A Michigan State University football player whose parents died before Senior Day walked out with his adopted dogs onto the field for the occasion. Spartans cornerback Josh Butler brought out Roxy and Remi for the event, which typically features seniors emerging from a tunnel with family members for their final college game.
Since Butler has been in college, he's lost his father in 2017 and his mother to cancer last year. In between both deaths, the fifth-year senior adopted two boxer and red-nosed bulldog mixes, who have become a huge part of his life. On Saturday, he took his "daughters" onto Spartan Stadium.
"Since the passing of my mother and father... having the ability to walk with Roxy and Remi was very important to me," Butler told CBS News on Tuesday. "They mean the world to me and they have always been there for me through my ups and downs."
Michigan State University beat reporter David Harns tweeted a video of Butler running onto the football field with the playful canines. He told CBS News it was "dream come true" to be out there with them.
Butler reflected about the day and his time at the school in an Instagram post. "Definitely been a blessed journey since taking the greyhound bus as a kid all the way up to Michigan State, being able to prevail through losing my father in 2017, and seeing my mother pass away in my arms just this April from cancer; it has strengthened me as a person, man of God, and leader," the post read.
Butler, who's finishing his master's degree in media and information later this month, has curated an Instagram account for the dogs, too. The page has more than 5,000 followers and it's filled with adorable videos and photos of the Remi and Roxi. He calls them "intelligent."
"They do so many tricks," he said. "[They've] trained with Zeke the Wonder Dog."
For Butler, he always feels his parents' presence. He carries around his father's urn tag and he has the tattoo of the breast cancer symbol. He wants to keep their memory alive in a meaningful way.
"I want to honor my parents by helping the next person," he told CBS News. "Being the light to somebody who may need it, awareness to breast cancer and the impact fathers have growing up."