EAST LANSING, Mich. – You might remember him as the Michigan State football player who took his dogs on the field for Senior Day, but Josh Butler wants to be remembered as an MSU graduate and hopefully, an NFL player.
A fifth-year senior cornerback last season, Butler lost both of his parents during his college career. So, he chose to walk on Senior Day last December with those who supported him through his toughest times: his dogs, Roxy and Remi.
“I got Roxy a month before my dad passed away,” Butler said. “When I got her, she became that support. A lot of times I didn’t feel like getting out of bed or eating, but I had responsibilities.”
Roxy forced Butler to go on after he lost his dad, Steven, in 2017. Less than two years later, tragedy struck his family once again when his mom, Ladrida, lost her battle with breast cancer. Roxy’s sister, Remi, came into the picture shortly after.
“My dogs have been there every step of the way,” Butler said. “I asked Coach (Mark Dantonio) early on, I threw it out there to him.”
When Senior Day rolled around, Dantonio pulled some strings and made it happen. The video of Butler, Roxy and Remi on the field at Spartan Stadium went viral.
Fast-forward five months later and this threesome is still very close. They are quarantining in East Lansing together. The boxer-pitbull mixed sisters help Butler prepare for the NFL.
“I run with them, I do squats with them on my back,” he said. “Remy holds my feet for sit ups and gets on my back when I do pushups.”
In five years at MSU, through great struggle, there were also triumphs. Butler not only received his bachelor’s degree. He finished his master’s, too. He joined four other Spartans who did the same.
“It’s kind of unheard of for a lot of players to get that Master’s Degree while still being eligible to play,” he said.
With two degrees in media and information, Butler’s parents would be proud.
Butler hopes once restrictions are lifted, he will be able to workout in person for an NFL team. But if that dream doesn’t work out, he plans to head to Los Angeles and work in media production. He’ll need to find a dog-friendly apartment.