Butler Bulldog mascot suffering from heart failure

Butler Blue II is facing a grim heart disease. (USATSI)
Butler Blue II is facing a grim heart disease. (USATSI)

This is undeniably sad news. Blue II, Butler's former mascot, is suffering from heart failure and, to put it bluntly, the prognosis is bad.

On the dog blog where Blue's owner Michael Kaltenmark writes as Blue II from a first-person (first-dog?) perspective, he let the news out Thursday night.

After retiring from mascot duty in the spring, Blue II started showing signs of serious health issues. Initially he was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease, which is when tumors on the brain begin to affect how a dog behaves, responds, reacts and remains healthy. But once that hurdle was cleared, Blue II showed more signs of deteriorating health.

To put it bluntly, I have heart failure (no connection to the Cushing’s Disease). It’s maybe a bit ironic for a dog that’s been all-heart over the last nine years to develop heart disease, but then again, it’s probably no coincidence that my heart has been maxed out. ...

No doubt, my diagnosis and subsequent prognosis is grim, but thanks to the great care I’ve received, I’ve recovered enough to be able to head home to be with those I love. So the bad news is I have irreversible heart disease, and it’s likely I won’t be back to Butler any time soon. The good news is, I feel much better, I’m eating well, and I have some more time to spend with my family. I’m a lucky Dawg!

Blue II has been one of the endearing side characters to the program's rise in the past few years. He traveled with the team and was often around the stands, greeting fans and media, and in general becoming part of Butler's "brand," if you will.

The dossier on Blue II on the team site notes he was the active mascot from May 20, 2004 – May 20, 2013. He was born in March of 2004. (There's even a lineage page and a history of when and why Butler decided to adopt the live-mascot philosophy.)

Blue II was the second mascot in school history and the longest-tenured. He's still going, but this seems grim. And as crazy as it may sound to some, whenever Blue II dies, it wouldn't surprise me to see Butler honor him with a moment of silence at a home game in the fall. He's meant that much to the program and fans.

At the very least, Butler II's Twitter feed remains upbeat (and has more followers than your truly.)

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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