Former Butler University mascot Blue II is doing well despite his recent diagnosis with Cushing’s disease, owner and handler Michael Kaltenmark said.
The announcement came through Blue II’s blog and social media accounts on Aug. 1.
Cushing’s disease is an irreversible brain disease that causes a tumor to form on the brain, affecting signals sent to the kidneys.
The Butler community welcomed Blue III— also known as “Trip”—in February 2012. But the addition was also a realization that Blue II had grown old.
In his blog, Blue II referred to himself as “one of those people who work their whole lives only to retire and almost immediately fall apart.”
As treatment for Cushing’s, Blue II has taken cortisol steroids that force themselves through skin membranes, resulting in the raw skin lesions he exhibits.
English Bulldogs like Blue II usually experience the effects of Cushing’s disease more strongly and longer than other breeds.
Another concern for Blue II is his fight with heart disease, which causes liquid to fill in the lungs. Although his vet says is doing relatively OK compared to his prior state, there is no way to predict when this will affect his system again.
For now, he will remain on medications and revisit his vet for a check-up in less than a month.
Blue II received an outpouring of social media support after the Aug. 1 announcement, Kaltenmark said.
“We’re sending lots of love and puppy kisses your way, Butler Blue II, and we wish you and your family all the best,” the Humane Society of Indianapolis tweeted. “We sure enjoyed seeing you at Mutt Strut this year. Take care, and hugs from your friends (both two-legged and four) at IndyHumane.”
The Indianapolis Star began a Twitter trend campaign with the tag #loveBlueII, urging followers to tweet pictures and memories of Blue II.
“It was hard to read, and it was very emotional,” Kaltenmark said. “But at the same time, it was really cool to see that outpouring of support for the dog. It made me proud.”
Senior Sarah Barker is taking the news especially hard.
Barker spends more time with Blue II than the average student, since she works as one of his two student handlers.
“Finding out about Blue II’s health problems was like finding out that my own dog was sick,” Barker said.
Barker said she has come to understand Blue II’s personality better than most people.
“Sometimes, I swear that dog doesn’t have a clue that anything is wrong with him,” Barker said.
Kaltenmark said Blue II does not like to miss out on his favorite things just because he’s sick.
“When he wants something, you wouldn’t know he’s sick at all,” Kaltenmark said.
Kaltenmark said Blue II’s ears still shoot up at the sound of the words “Tail Wagon ride,” and if someone mentions ice cream or chicken, he is right by their side.
Blue II offered his response to saddened fans by tweeting “OK guys, enough bellyaching. I’m not dead yet!” The tweet was accompanied with a picture of Blue II in the Tail Wagon ready for a ride.
While Kaltenmark encourages students to visit their mascot just as they always have, he said people need to be aware and understand that dogs get sick too.
“I know the students care and that they want to see him for the right reasons,” Kaltenmark said. “I know it’s a risk to bring him in, but that’s OK.”
When asked what Blue II would want to say to the students if he could talk, Kaltenmark said: “When you think of me, think about what I would want you to do for Butler University.