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Monday, April 4, 2011
Butler's big dog, Blue II

With the national title game just hours away, the star of the Butler Bulldogs is taking a nap. He's had a busy few days in Houston, posing for pictures, doing interviews and making appearances. With all that running around, it's safe to say his dogs are barking.

Luckily, Blue II, the 7-year-old English bulldog who's become a national celebrity as Butler's mascot, got a pup-icure before leaving Indy, so his paws are up to the task. While he was at the Good Dog Hotel and Spa, Blue also got a bath, shampoo and conditioning, to ensure his coat was camera-ready. Anything to get a leg up on the competition.

The humans on the Butler squad have been getting their fair share of press this week, but even superstar forward Matt Howard would admit that Blue has been the belle of the basketball.

After his spa day in Indianapolis, Blue flew down to Houston on a Southwest Airlines charter, enjoying lots of legroom in the front of the plane and endless drink refills from the stewardesses.

Upon arriving in Texas, Blue received a royal welcome from the tony InterContinental Hotel. Recognizing that they had the pick of the litter in their midst, the hotel waived its no-dog policy, instead rolling out the red carpet for Butler's celebrity canine.

With so many media obligations, he's been kept on a short leash, but Saturday night after his team's big win, he was able to enjoy the spoils of victory -- a scoop of vanilla ice cream delivered by room service.

If he feels like getting out of his room and going for a walk, Blue can head down to the hotel bar, where a special dog bed and monogrammed bowls have been laid out for him. While he holds court nearby, guests can enjoy the Blue II Martini, a mix of blue Curacao, vodka, lemon juice and blueberries created in his honor. Proceeds from the drink will go to the SPCA in Houston and the Blue mascot/puppy fund at Butler.

If having his own martini wasn't stirring enough, Blue has watched as his Twitter account (@ButlerBlue2) has grown to more than 5,000 followers. He mainly uses social petworking to post pictures with friends, announce naps or post links to some of the many stories written about him.

He's been lapping up the attention, and with the puparazzi still dogging him for stories, it doesn't look like he'll be leaving the spotlight anytime soon.

Tonight, if the Butler Bulldogs defeat the UConn Huskies to become national champions, Blue will no doubt be an even bigger dog on campus come Tuesday. And though it's been a pretty doggone good run so far, Blue knows better than anyone, if you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.