They say that Madison Square Garden is the world's greatest arena. That on the big stage, the bright lights of Broadway bring out the best in performers, that superstars shine brightest here.
Sure enough, Butler Blue III, the Butler Bulldogs' live mascot, walked out to the middle of the court and vomited everywhere:
Bulter's mascot just vomited on the court. Hahaha! pic.twitter.com/vy4WCe9poR— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 13, 2015
Michael Kaltenmark, Blue's owner and handler, said the purebred English bulldog was not sick, just excited. "He lives to do basketball games and run out the football team out on the field," Kaltenmark said. "The throwing up is not from him being sick. It's from sheer excitement. He got too worked up and popped." The dog has never thrown up at a game before, nor had any other sort of accident. "He knows not to use the restroom on the court. That's never an issue."
Kaltenmark works in the school's marketing division as director of external relations, but there is no better director of external relations than Blue. (He also goes by "Trip," as in "triple," as in "Butler Blue III.") Last night was an exciting basketball game between two NCAA Tournament-bound teams, and it went to overtime. But, by far, the guy who got the most attention was Blue, who was constantly surrounded by cameras or adoring fans:
Blue spent most of the game in the wings of the arena, waiting for moments to go out and draw attention, but even when he wasn't on the court, Butler fans hold up oversized images of his head. The Bulldog puts a floppy, adorable face on Butler University. Even Blue's vomiting episode turned into a piece of positive national press exposure for Butler.
You cannot go wrong with a big, smiling dog.
A real bonus to Kaltenmark's job is that bringing his dog to work isn't just an option, it's basically a responsibility. Trip is "super-chill" around the office, and of course, he's a campus celebrity. "He has his own golf cart," Kaltenmark adds. "And these custom Nike jerseys."
Trip is incredibly friendly to anybody who goes up to him -- you should pet him! His neck is softer than velvet! -- and he goes around to meet prospective students -- because it's easy to decline a school's acceptance letter, but harder to imagine telling your new puppy friend you chose another school.
There's no audition process touring the nation for the next Butler bulldog: At seven weeks, Kaltenmark gets a little tiny bulldog pup -- here's Blue as an adorable two-month old ball of fat -- and he grows into Butler's mascot. "It's all he knows," Kaltenmark says. "I take him to campus Day 1 and he kind of learns on the job."
But he does learn. When the Butler War Song plays, Blue begins barking wildly. (Like an idiot who should be sent to prison, I have my phone recording audio instead of filming a dog so excited by a college fight song that he begins barking.)
For a while, Kaltenmark owned two dogs: Butler Blue II and Butler Blue III. Trip took over the reins from an aging Blue II in March, 2013, and in September, well, let's just say that if you watch this video you might need to put your laptop down and start crying and have to walk away for 15 minutes before finishing the post you're working on. (This is a hypothetical, and not what just happened to me right now.) Blue was a very good dog.
Kaltenmark and Blue drove from Indianapolis for the Big East Tournament, and even though Butler was eliminated, I can assure you that Trip is making the most of his time in the Big Apple. After all, Trip's job is to be the smiling, tongue-flopping face of the school, win or lose, and he is spectacular at it.