Assistant News Editor
Butler University is currently raising funds to construct a memorial in honor of Blue II and to also celebrate Blue I and Blue III.
The memorial will be erected outside Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“Whether [students] give or not is up to them,” said Michael Kaltenmark, his owner. “I know what it’s like to be a student. I just want to construct a memorial they’re proud of.”
No additional services have been planned to commemorate Butler’s beloved bulldog until the memorial.
Once money for the memorial is raised, the remainder will go to the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“If Blue had a favorite place on campus, that place is it by far,” Kaltenmark said.
After announcing Blue’s death last Tuesday, Kaltenmark received an outpouring of support ranging from Brad and Tracy Stevens, the Dankos, and mascots from other schools like Ohio State and University of Georgia to people with no affiliation to Butler. People shared stories and pictures with Blue on various forms of social media.
“We called this dog America’s dog for a reason,” Kaltenmark said. “You see how much they loved the dog and it makes you feel better.”
Blue II was put to sleep two Saturdays ago on August 31, although Kaltenmark waited to release the information until the Tuesday after.
Kaltenmark said he wanted time to grieve with his family and close friends and he didn’t want to put a damper on the Butler community’s Labor Day weekend.
“You feel like you’re in this bubble of grief,” he said. “Releasing the information doesn’t bring Blue back to life.”
On Saturday morning, Kaltenmark told his son, Everett, to say goodbye to Blue.
“When I told him, ‘he’s gonna be with God in Heaven,’ he smiled,” Kaltenmark said. “He and Trip have been a distraction, they have their own level of understanding.”
Other than the moments that obviously stand out as Kaltenmark’s favorites with Blue – the Final Fours and Late Night with Jimmy Falon – he said there are so many little moments where he misses Blue’s presence.
Sophomore Jim Santos said his favorite memory of Blue was going with the Kaltenmark family to Huddles after Blue’s retirement and getting to hang out with the family and feed Blue frozen yogurt.
“Whenever I think of Butler, it’s always Blue’s face,” Santos said. “It’s funny how a dog that isn’t ours can mean so much.”
Kaltenmark said his family misses Blue’s presence at home.
“The house was quiet and I didn’t hear his snore anymore,” Kaltenmark said.
Sarah Barker, a junior who spent a lot of time around the dogs while she trained Trip, made a pawprint mold of Blue for herself and Kaltenmark a few weeks before Blue passed.
“Blue was a dignified old bull,” Barker said. “He had a job to do and he always did it.”
“I owe it to these people to read them, “ he said. “I feel blessed, people lose pets every day. It just shows the breadth of impact that this dog had.”