The two year old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever has parlayed his Instagram success into a calendar and cooking show.
two dogs eating homemade ice cream for dogs from Milo the Toller
Credit: Courtesy of Milo_the_Toller / YouTube

Since 2019 the internet has been infatuated with Milo, the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, and his love of butterflies. And, in the ensuing 24 months, the good news for Milo's fans has just kept coming. The pooch was named Good Morning America's "Pet of the Week" in July, launched a 2022 calendar just in time for the holidays, and created his own cooking show on YouTube!

It's been a pretty special ride for Milo and his human Jen Bennett, neither of whom could have predicted where those first Instagram posts would take them.

"It was a huge surprise," Bennett tells Daily Paws. "We got posted on the We Rate Dogs Facebook page and, right away, that gave us a big boost."

Also known by his Instagram alter ego, the Butterfly King, Milo has delighted his human companions and online followers alike with his gentle demeanor towards the delicate insects. But lest you think that His Highness is a one-dimensional ruler, Milo has also proven himself to be a better cook than some of the people I've lived with.

"Lots of dog treats that I found have sugar and molasses in them," Bennett says. "That can be really bad on dogs' teeth, because [most pet parents] don't brush every day. So I started looking for alternatives that I could make at home, where it really became about substitution. Applesauce can be used to sweeten things, for example. Or using wheat flour instead of regular flour."

"For the holidays last year, we made a candy cane recipe," she says. "I like to search online for holiday recipes for humans and see how I can adapt them for dogs. We grow a lot of food and flowers in our garden, so I like to look for ways that I can use those things as well."

Bennett says that Milo has always been a super curious, enthusiastic helper in the kitchen, seeming to know when a certain recipe is being whipped up just for him and wanting to get involved anywhere he can, from licking spoons to fetching oven mitts.

Luckily, that desire to be a part of the action also makes Milo a great co-star. Bennett says he takes direction well and seems to have an innate understanding of what he needs to do in each scene.

"He loves it," she says. "He intuitively knows what we want from him, so a lot of times all I have to say is action and he knows 'OK, I need to run in here and grab the oven mitt.' He gets so excited."

Getting your pupper involved in activities like gardening and cooking can be a fun way to engage and keep them mentally stimulated. And while it may seem like a lot of extra work to make special kitchen creations that are safe for dogs to eat, Bennett says it's easier than you think. She suggests pet parent home chefs start with the basics. "I would just research," she says. "Even just Googling 'can dogs eat this?'. Finding new ingredients that can be used in place of things like sugar and molasses. From there, just start making stuff!"

Ready to get cooking? Check out these Daily Paws recipes for homemade treats that are safe for dogs to eat. There are even a few treat recipes for our feline friends, too! Just don't tell Milo.