Milo might be like most dogs: He loves walks, hikes, car rides, hitting the beach and playing in the water.
But the 3-year-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has also developed a remarkable relationship with butterflies around his southern California home.
Milo’s human, Jen Bennett, who is a photographer and florist, has been documenting the beautiful friendship since it first blossomed in 2019.
“We had a huge Painted Lady migration though our city in Los Angeles,” Bennett recalls in an interview. “That’s when noticed Milo’s love for butterflies.”
They took a hike around Malibu and came upon thousands of Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) flying all around them.
“It was such a magical experience,” Bennett says. “Milo was mesmerized watching them.”
Dog lovers have been mesmerized with Bennett’s images of her duck toller ever since.
Milo has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and been featured on Good Morning America.
With little wonder.
Milo is kind to the butterflies that often dance on his nose — and he’s curious about other creatures he encounters, too.
“He is truly a gentle soul,” Bennett says.
The unusual coupling also sparked something more for Bennett.
“I’ve always loved butterflies and learned that the monarch butterflies population is dropping. So I did some research on how I could help,” she says.
She planted milkweed, a key habitat for Monarchs, and started raising the critters. The family also keeps the caterpillars safe from predators and once they become a butterflies, off they fly off into the garden — and sometimes onto Milo’s nose.
Milo’s profile as the “butterfly king” also opens the door to talk about the impacts of global warming.
“Climate change is something we are very passionate about,” Bennett says. “We want to inspire people to think about what they can do everyday to help our climate. Whether it is what they buy, who they vote for, or what they plant in their gardens.”
When Milo isn’t playing with butterflies or using his platform for education, he’s cooking up a storm as a “dog chef” on YouTube.
He also has a cooking show called “Drooling For Treats.”
There are lessons in everything from dog cookies to pooch-friendly candy canes and birthday cakes.
Perhaps the most important lesson Milo brings to everyone is to stop and smell the roses once in a while.
And maybe, just maybe, a butterfly will land on your nose.