“See the dog and butterfly, up in the air he’d like to fly…”
In the last few weeks since I lost my Brussels Griffon Oscar, “Dog and Butterfly,” one of my favorite songs by Heart, has been looping in my head. With its soothing melody and pastoral imagery, I have found the song an incredible comfort, melding as it has with these photos I took of Oscar just a few weeks before he passed. It was his last really great day. He lay in the sun and even ran a little bit among the spring bulbs. You would never know from the photos I took how sick he was.
“Dog and Butterfly” was the title track from Heart’s 1978 album. Written by Ann and Nancy with frequent partner Sue Ennis, this album was the first by the band that I purchased as a kid. Though I had been familiar with their big aggressive radio hits up to that point (“Magic Man,” “Crazy on You,” Barracuda”), the exquisite warmth and tenderness of this folky ballad came as a big surprise for me. If you are unfamiliar with “Dog and Butterfly,” I have included a wonderfully effective acoustic performance from their 2002 Summer of Love tour at the bottom of this post.
I have always maintained that Ann Wilson is one of the best singers of any genre—ever. It doesn’t really surprise me that in the last few weeks I unconsciously gravitated to her as I’ve tried to adjust to life without Oscar. I am forever grateful to the sisters Wilson for the many, many years of great music and deep feeling that they have shared with us. Like my buddy Oscar, they have made the world a richer, better place.