“I absolutely love pictures like this,” Sylvester Stallone shared on Instagram this week. “When I was 26, totally broke, going nowhere VERY fast, owned two pair of pants that barely fit, shoes that had holes in them and dreams of being successful were as far away as the sun … But I had my dog, BUTKUS, my best friend, my confidant, Who always laughed at my jokes, and put up with my moods, and was the one living thing that loved me for who I was!”

An enormous Bull Mastiff, Butkus the dog lived with the down and out young actor and his wife, Sasha, as Sly was struggling to eke out a career in show business.

Stallone shared a second photo, showing baby Butkus on his lap in 1971, five years before the best friends appeared onscreen in “Rocky” together.

“Since we’re on the subject of ‘man’s best friend’ this is myself and Butkus as a puppy,” Sly captioned the photo. “We were both, thin, hungry and living in a flophouse above a subway stop, I used to say this apartment had ‘Hot and cold running roaches’ anyway there was not much to do except spend time with each other and that’s where I started to learn the craft of screenwriting.”

It was during this period that Stallone began taking his love of writing seriously, which ultimately changed his life forever.

“Since I never went out,” he says, “I relied on [Butkus’] companionship, And actually it was his idea to write Rocky, but don’t tell anyone … Years later when things got even worse I had to sell him for $40 in front of a 7-Eleven store, because I couldn’t afford food, then like A modern day miracle, the screenplay for Rocky sold, and I could buy and buy him back, but the new owner knew I was desperate, and charged me $15,000 … He was worth every penny!”

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