Michigan State University cornerback Josh Butler walked into his final game in Spartan Stadium on Senior Day but wasn’t able to be met by his parents.
Tragically, the 23-year-old’s parents both passed away before they could greet their son during one of the biggest moments of his college football career. Butler wasn’t alone for the occasion. Instead, he trotted out with his two dogs, Roxy and Remi, to a huge applause.
MSU beat writer David Harns captured the incredible moment.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Butler’s father, Steven, died in November 2017 just hours before his son 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.
In between his parents’ deaths, Butler adopted the sister boxer-pit bull mixes.
Butler received his undergraduate degree in December 2018 and is slated to receive his master’s in media and information later this month. He says his dogs and teammates have helped him through the loss of his parents.
“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.”