H is for Heart

So, I get to “H” and “Heart” is one of my words. I immediately think “Oh man, people are going to expect something about love – and gooey emotional things”. Not my gig. I felt stuck.

Not stuck at all…It’s all about “Dog and Butterfly”.

Dog and Butterfly” by Heart is one of my all time favorite songs. All. Time. Favorite. I know all the words. When I am troubled, I find the tune stuck in my head. When I am happy, I find the tune stuck in my head. I love the song.

I have never given any real thought to what the words mean – at least not consciously.

There are websites and chat rooms dedicated to this song. People from all over the world have written about what the song means, what they think it means and what it means to them. I read somewhere (and I don’t remember where, so I can’t give proper credit) that Ann Wilson wrote the song while watching her dog chase a butterfly in the yard – watched him happily reaching and jumping for something he would probably never catch…and he continued to try…always trying to grab something slightly out of reach.

While this is unverified and I don’t know if it is truly how the song came about, I like this story better than most.

As I sat down to write this, I was thinking about Laila (see Fostering and Fear). For the first couple of weeks she was with me, I kept her and Acheron separated. Her little body needed to heal and honestly, I was concerned that she was too fragile to handle him.

She made amazing progress in those first weeks. Her skin healed. She put on weight. While she was a complete doll, she did not really have any gumption. Puppies need gumption. We all need gumption.

It was not until I threw caution to the wind and let them out in the yard together that she really blossomed. Ach, who at that point was 2-3X her size, 10X stronger and easily 2X faster, would zoom around the yard and she would chase – never quite catching him. Almost over night, Laila started getting muscles, holding her head high and getting her gumption. Acheron was her butterfly – that thing just out of reach that made her stretch and grow and…try.

Interestingly, I decided Laila was ready for adoption about the time she started catching him. It was then that I knew that we had done our job and she would be just fine. Her new family includes two new doggie sisters (a Boston terrier – instant BFF, and a Basset Hound who is reserving judgment). Laila (now Onyx) and her new family are moving in a couple of weeks. Onyx is going to have six acres to explore and protect. I have no doubt that her new family will find lots of butterflies for her to reach for.

So, what is the lesson?

Sometimes throwing caution to the wind is how we find our butterflies – and our gumption.


Always reach; even if you are sure you will never catch.

And finally…

If the tune sticks in your head during happy and sad times for several decades…Google it…you might find out why!