A college football player’s parents died before his Senior Day. So he walked onto the field with his two dogs

Dec 2, 2019, 7:31 AM | Updated: 7:32 am

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 21: Bennett Skowronek #88 of the Northwestern Wildcats tries to catc...

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 21: Bennett Skowronek #88 of the Northwestern Wildcats tries to catch a pass as Josh Butler #19 of the Michigan State Spartans gets called for interference at Ryan Field on September 21, 2019 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(CNN) — It’s tradition in college football for seniors to emerge from the tunnel for the final game of their collegiate career and run onto the field to one last ovation, an event players usually celebrate with family.

Michigan State University cornerback Josh Butler lost both of his parents before they could meet him on the field one last time on Senior Day. But he didn’t walk out alone on Saturday.


The 23-year-old fifth-year made his final roaring entrance into Spartan Stadium accompanied by two dogs, Roxy and Remi.

Michigan State beat writer David Harns captured the moment Butler and the clearly excited pups debuted.

Butler’s father, Steven, died in November 2017, hours before Butler was set to play in a game against Penn State. His mother, Ladrida Bagley, died in April 2019 after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, the Lansing State Journal reported.

In between their deaths, he adopted Roxy and Remi, sister boxer-pit bull mixes and Butler’s best canine friends.

The dogs have become stars in their own right. On an Instagram account, Butler documents the daily lives of 2-year-old Roxy and his little sister Remi, still a puppy at 7 months old, often decked out in Spartan gear. Roxy even posed patiently with Butler in his graduation photos, wearing her own cap.

Butler received his undergraduate degree in December 2018 and is set to receive his master’s degree in media and information this month. He said his dogs and his teammates have helped him work through his grief and focus on the good in his life, too.

“We talk about the sadness and the negativity about a lot of things because that’s what they remember the most, but there’s also positivity behind any story,” he told the Lansing State Journal. “There’s always a rise after the fall.”

™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Liver and kidney transplant patient Luis Campos says he's grateful he had a Spanish-speaking team....

Eric Cabrera

Murray kidney clinic helping the Latino community

MURRAY, Utah — Intermountain Health has taken steps to address healthcare in Latino communities by opening Utah’s first fully Spanish-speaking Kidney Transplant Clinic. The Intermountain Clinica Hispana de Riñon (Hispanic Kidney Clinic), in Murray, aims to provide a space for members of the Latino community navigating the complex kidney transplant process. The clinic has bilingual professionals, […]

4 hours ago

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image of the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander, al...

Jackie Wattles, CNN

Odysseus lunar lander shares new photos from its harrowing descent

The vehicle softly touched down on the moon on Thursday, becoming the first US-made lander to do so since the Apollo era.

5 hours ago

FILE: Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, and Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, speak about their...

Aimee Cobabe

Bill allowing parents to sue social media companies moves closer to becoming law

HB464 gives Utah parents the power to sue a social media company if their child develops mental health issues after using the apps

6 hours ago

FILE: An Angel bike given to the family of Eli Mitchell in April, 2023. Mitchell was hit and killed...

Britt Johnson

Families of drunk driving victims fight possible new Utah liquor license legislation

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jefferson Burton would increase the number of liquor licenses issued by the state of Utah.

7 hours ago

Vehicles at Weber Fire District Station shown, the station responded to an oil spill in ogden today...

Dan Bammes

Ogden Hazmat responds to oily spill on 21st Street and I-15

The spill resulted in a level 2, or moderate, hazmat response with the priority of keeping the mixture off of I-15 in Ogden.

7 hours ago

Homelessness grew by 12% in 2023 from last year, meaning 70,650 more people were unhoused....

Mariah Maynes

No one-size-fits-all solution to help those experiencing homelessness, expert says

Those experiencing homelessness in Utah often are presented with similar options, regardless of their situation. 

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

A college football player’s parents died before his Senior Day. So he walked onto the field with his two dogs