"Dog And Butterfly" as written by Ann Wilson, Nancy Lamoureaux Wilson and Susan Ennis....
There I was with the old man
Stranded again so off I'd ran
A young world crashing around me
No possibilities of getting what I need
He looked at me and smiled
Said "No, no, no, no, no child

See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he likes to fly."
Dog and butterfly
Below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground, laughing
She don't know why, she don't know why
Dog and butterfly

Well I stumbled upon your secret place
Safe in the trees you had tears on your face
Wrestling with your desires frozen strangers
Stealing your fires, the message hit my mind
Only words that I could find

See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he like to fly
Dog and butterfly below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground
Laughing to the sky, up to the sky
Dog and butterfly

We're getting older the world's getting colder
For the life of me I don't know the reason why
Maybe it's livin' making us give in
Hearts rolling in taken back on the tide
We're balanced together ocean upon the sky

Another night in this strange town
Moonlight holding me light as down
Voice of confusion inside of me
No begging to go back where I'm free
Feels like I'm through
Then the old man's words are true

See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he like to fly
Dog and butterfly, below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground
With a little tear in her eye
She had to try, she had to try
Dog and butterfly


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Dog and Butterfly" as written by Ann Wilson, Nancy Lamoureaux Wilson, Susan Ennis

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Dog And Butterfly song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentFound this on internet!

    HEART's love for dogs has even influenced their music. Ann penned the words to "Dog and Butterfly" but it was her Sheepdog that inspired the lyrics. Ann watched intently from her bedroom window as her Sheepdog chased a butterfly around the yard. "As Ann watched her dog it struck her as symbolic as to how life can be," explains Nancy. "When you're an earthbound creature we're always jumping and reaching for things we can never really catch, but you try anyway. And that's the point of the song, we're always trying to grab at something higher."
    Bertronixon March 10, 2006   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningGeez...Not every song is about abuse..The song is about life and dealing with failure. A heartbroken girl is advised by the "old man" to not give up...see the dog chasing the butterfly trying to capture it though the dog has little chance. "She rolls back down to the warm soft ground laughing", the dog is happy in the chase as she will not necessarily be in the capture.
    bocanoton September 24, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHI, real quick, before i go to bed,,,,my point was, when I hear this song , I see or feel my life in every verse! I don't mean to make it all about me, but the way I hear the song and take it in, it's like watching a movie of my life. I feel after each chorus, a new phase in the persons life (a new tragity to survive...
    I dunno, I do know after awhile I stopped searching for the real meaning. I'm afraid it will blow it for me (like if its written about a sheep-dog, I'd rather not know)! However, I did read every explanation above and do feel we are all on the same page in our conclusions. I agree about, wrestling with your desires...relating to drugs. I even agree with the cloud animals and felt it that way too.

    I have a few more favorite songs that totally move me and I'm not certain exactly what they are really about either...like Tiny Dancer, and A Lighter Shade of Pale ( annie lennox does a version but its an older song than that.LOVE IT!! But whats go'n on in the song?? Is it drugs and Alcohol again?? Probably. One more is Van Morrisons, Queen of the Slipstream. TOTAL favorite of mine, feel it, love it, have my own fantacy of what it means...But what does it REALLY mean???? ANSWERS ANYONE???
    Wouldn't you guys die if I wrote a long ass story of my version of three more songs!! Good LORD,
    I must be lonely.
    Excuse all my spelling and typo errors. Pretty bad, but I'm jamm'n and it is late & I did just manage to emotionally exhaust myself! You too? Sorry! In my own m,ind, I'm an amazing journalist!! HAH!
    Good night strangers!
    marnsmarieon February 23, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningMy dad said this song was about Yin and Yan. The dog is the active side of life and the is the intraverted side of life and the song is about having both to be a blanced person.
    songofsongson July 08, 2009   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThis has been one of my favorite songs since it first came out… the melody and mysterious lyrics just send me into a trance, and I wish it would go on forever. At first, I could not put any meaning to it, because the sentences seemed to be just random and made no sense. But after listening hundreds of times to it, gradually there came a message, at least to me. I think the song is about our place in life’s journey. It’s about thinking we have certain needs, and how we chase dreams, only to find out that the world changes around us, we grow older, and the needs we seek to fulfill for ourselves also change. Thus, we never really succeed in getting everything we think we need, yet the desire and attempt to reach total satisfaction with our lives is what keeps us going. We have to try. It says we’re balanced together ocean upon the sky. The world is in equilibrium, and we are riding on the tide, always on a changing path, but a path on which we remain, just so we can see where it goes, or how it ends. And we don’t want to go back in time, only forward… we always want to see what is around the next curve. And even if we never see what’s at the end of this journey, we can find happiness in just taking the ride.
    TigressInTXon October 02, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI've learned from literary criticism courses that many meanings are possible, not merely the author's intended meaning. As long as the text, or poem, or song, supports the supposed and interpreted meaning it can indeed be subjective, based upon the reader's experiences.

    In that vein, I have to say to me, this is a story of lost love from youth. The dog, she is bound to the earth and the ground, to her circumstances which are narrated well by the captivity she finds herself in with the old man. The old man is reality, capitivity. She sees the butterfly she loves and the beauty that is his freedom. She finds him in his secret place and tries to reach him, discovering and laughing about the fact she realizes she cannot fly. She is earthbound; she is the loyal dog and her circumstances contain her within that reality. She cannot however, help but look up to the beautiful butterfly, that represents her lost freedom and true love, and at least try to join him, falling in spite of it again to the warm, soft ground that is her home, her place. She longs for her freedom, she longs to join the butterfly she loves but realizes she cannot, but has to try.

    That is the forestructure, my personal reality, that I bring to interpreting this song. It is the personal meaning I attribute to the lyrics. It may be vastly different from your interpretation but it is still supported by the lyrics.

    This is not to say that the song, writing or poem can mean anything we apply to it; it must be supported by the text. However, the coupling of the text with our personal interpretations are what bring a myriad of meanings to a singular work. Dog and Butterfly may be then, many things, but to me, it is my song about the freedom I wish so desperately to connect with, but realize I cannot.
    luvlinerdon October 31, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh my God, this song still just brings me to my knees. It's unlike any other song and to me, it is timeless!!! I reached out back in April '05 when I discovered this website. I was searching for the meaning and was unsuccesful. This song has a very deep, personal meaning to me...it just rocks me down to my core. In my case I think of my old man (Pops). We watched 1,000's of sunsets out at the coast together. We had a special 'sacred' spot upon a cliffs edge just above the rivermouth. Ahhhh yes....where the river meets the sea. There is a huige rock up there that has like two seats carved into it from natures hands. A small one, and a larger one right next to it (our pews)!! We called it our 'church' and also named it after my only brother who died in 1989 by taking his own life. We planted a tree there in his memory. Pops and I shared some deep, and precious moments there. Pops enjoyed a little weed I will say, and this was a place I would sometimes join in. With or without the Pot, Dad and I would go on these amazing adventures, and never even leave the rock. Dad and I did manage to actually travel a bit of the world together....but this, this was home. We collected heart shaped rocks from our travels all over the globe and stashed them all over the hillside. We had so much funMy parents went threw a horrendous divorce when my bro & I were teens, It was devistating and just when you'd think things couldn't get MORE screwed up, boom, something ever worse would top the last. Totally turned our perfect, safe (we thought) life upside down and ultimately killed my Brother. He just couldn't take it anymore. He was a week shy of his 23rd birthday. Little would I know that in the years to come, I'd lose my entire family. Dad had a heart attack in the middle of the night (he and I were 150 miles apart(and just happened to be chatting on the phone(for 52 clear minutes) suddenly his voice faded, he told me he was tired, and a second later her was gone. Unbelieveable, but true, my Grandma (dads mom) passed away 8 hours after my Father from kidney failure. Dad lived with and took care of my Nana. Then, less than two years later, my Mom was diagnoised with terminal cancer. I dropped everything and moved home and took care of her.Mom was so strong, stubburn and beautiful. She put up a good fight, living 3x's longer than Doctors expected. It was during her illness that she and I took a drive out to our spot on the Coast. That day I planted a tree just a few feet from my Brothers in honor of POP. I was up there just slamming that shovel into the earth, crying harder than I ever had before, as ma waited down below. Chemo robbed her of strentgh or balance to be or get up there. I must have gotten lost in my conquest of getting this tree into the ground To be honest I think I was in so much pain, and so scared of what was yet to come, I think I just went somewhere else at that particular time. I snapped out of it when I heard the faint & worried yell from my Mother, who I left hopeless down below. It was wierd,. the sun had even set without me realizing it! F'ing brutal. You know, I don't think it would have been possible for one averaged size woman to haul that tree up the winding trail, dig down into the hardest of dirt, and plant that baby cypris if I didn't have all that pain, emotion, and love pumping threw my veins!! It was shortly after that, Mom lost her battle. She died in my arms at my home. I was through. I had nothing left. I forgot to leave any purpose for me to carry on. I lingered there, in the shadow of death for a long, very painful, and dark time. Its a wonder I didn't die from all the pills, booze, ciggerettes, and total abuse to my body. I just couldn't get it together after that. I have struggled threw alot, and am not quite sure how I am still here. I am not the same person I was before, thats for sure. I just didn't (and still don,t) know how a person carries on when there is no one left to make proud. No one there to root you on, have your back, or to go home too when life gets too scary to face alone. Even though I am all grown up and married I feel absolutely homeless, everywhere I go,
    Except the sacred place where the river meets the sea.......
    I know it is the wisdom from my father and stenth of my mother and the heart of my brother.
    You just have to try...
    You have to try.

    My battery is going to die! Wow, sorry! Didn't know I;d get in this far....
    Wow, what a release!
    Peace
    ~Marnsmarie
    marnsmarieon February 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    MemoryI am a 57 year old male. As a young man I would listen to this song for inspiration when no explanation was needed.

    Yesterday I went to lunch with my 19 year old daughter to talk about and remember her mother who died seven years ago to the day.
    After lunch we bought some yellow roses and went to the cemetery where her grandmother, great grandmother and great grandfather are buried.
    Her mother’s ashes were spread in the bay off the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge as was her request.

    My daughter’s grandmother died of a drug overdose at the age of twenty seven, forty years ago next week.
    My daughter’s mother died of liver failure on July 23rd 2004…

    It was a beautiful summer day at the cemetery and life was being very real to us.

    I sent an email to my daughter later in the afternoon expressing my gratitude for sharing this annual event with her, along with a link to a UTube video of “Dog & Butterfly”
    While on my computer I learned of the death of Amy Winehouse of a drug overdose at the age of twenty seven. on the anniversary of my daughter’s mother’s death.

    I am thankful that 7/23 is only one day in a year…

    I feel that this song is for everybody, especially Haley my daughter…
    popemanon July 25, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't know yet... I'm trying to figure it all out. any suggestions?
    jodilynon April 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, the song is about a girl who realizes that she's growing up. The butterfly represents the child ...careless and free and the dog represents what she is becoming. "She roll back down..with a little tear in her eye. she had to try." translates- she misses the comfort of childhood.
    spunhearton March 21, 2005   Link

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