This Too Shall Pass

“How Ya Doin?
Hang in There.
This Too Shall Pass!”

“You optimistic people! You always want to make things seem better!” Pasha thought when he saw the sign on his neighbor’s fence.

“This Won’t Pass.
And You Know That!”

That would be the sign Pasha would put on his fence.

This was Pasha.


He hated going out on the street.

And he strongly disliked to have to be around people.


Especially the optimistic ones.


Pasha could not understand how people could remain optimistic given all that was going on…

The pandemic, climate change, bad leadership, greed, racism, people hurting other people, hurting animals.

He definitely knew what it was like to be hurt by people.

He mainly stayed in his small home, not wanting to be seen by people. He didn’t go out to do anything other than get some food, then come back home and sleep.

When he walked, he always had his head down. He didn’t like looking up. He felt heavy like he wanted to sink.

Pasha didn’t care about much. He didn’t want to care. He didn’t care much about other dogs, either.

A long time ago he had many friends. They were street dogs.

He also met a few nice people.

The nice people either disappeared or moved away.

His dog friends on the street had all died.

They were poisoned.


After all the street dogs were removed, Pasha had a sense that dogs as a species had changed their character. He thought they became self absorbed, careless, fake.

Maybe it was adaptation. There was something real about the street dogs. Pasha missed them.

Pasha had to leave his home from time to time to get groceries. That day, as he was walking back home carrying his food, a strange thing happened.

As he approached his doorstep, he saw something unusual.

At first, he thought it was garbage, some kid must have dropped their candy wrap or something, or a plastic bottle cap… yellow….

He made a move towards it to get rid of the thing.

As he came closer, he suddenly realized it was a butterfly.

It was yellow with black stripes.

At the bottom, there was some blue with a hint of orange.

As he slowly approached to sniff the butterfly…

He realized that it was dead.


There were some ants eating away on its beautiful right wing.

Pasha got furious…

Pasha felt…

He didn’t know how he felt…

He knew it felt weird…

An electric bolt passed through his heart.

He made a soft, wimpering sound. Then he barked to see if the butterfly would move. But there was no movement. It just stayed still.

He paced back and forth…

He turned in circles…

He barked…

Another dog barked back from afar. Pasha didn’t want to interact with that dog and quickly ran into his home.

But he kept thinking of the butterfly.

He couldn’t fall asleep…


He didn’t want the dead butterfly to just wither away…

Eaten by the ants on his doorstep.


It was too beautiful to have that kind of an ending!

“It is not fair” he thought, “not fair at all.”

So many things have not been fair for Pasha.


He grabbed a piece of dry leaf, ran outside, and carefully placed the butterfly on the leaf so as not to hurt it.

And then he put the leaf next to his bed…

He laid still watching the butterfly.


Pasha soon fell asleep because sleeping was the only thing he still enjoyed.

When he slept, he could just disappear into darkness. He didn’t have to worry about anything. He didn’t have to feel bad about himself, miss the old days, or think he was not enough of this or that…

Well, that night he dreamt of the yellow butterfly.

The butterfly started to move and soon flew off the leaf. Pasha followed it outside.

The butterfly flew through the streets.

As Pasha followed the butterfly, for the first time he raised his head and saw what the streets he so often walked really looked like.

He saw flowers, windows, trees…

“I haven’t flown for a couple of days!” said the butterfly panting…

“I need to build back my stamina…

I have to do an emergency landing for a moment.”


It landed on the sign:

“How Ya Doin?
Hang in There.
This Too Shall Pass!”

“Hang in there,” said Pasha. “You will get better as you keep flying.”

“Thanks for the encouragement,” said the butterfly. “I already feel a bit better. Let’s keep going…”

The butterfly flew by the roses, trees, jasmine, succulents… all the flowers Pasha had not seen or smelled for many years.

As it flew from one thing to the next, Pasha kept running after the butterfly. When it stopped, he stopped, and they enjoyed the simple sights around them.

“I haven’t had a friend in a long while,” Pasha said. “All my friends are dead.”

“Mine too,” said the butterfly. “Follow me…”

Pasha ran after the butterfly until they came to a green house. They stopped to hear the beautiful music coming from inside.

Then the butterfly landed on the window. As the butterfly rested, the house slowly became transparent. The walls disappeared, the windows opened up, and Pasha could see into the house.

It looked old. The walls were covered with photographs.

There was a man playing the piano.

As he played, the butterfly made shapes in the air… soon landing on the edge of the piano.

The man’s face kept changing.

At times he looked like a seven-year-old boy, at others like a forty-year-old man, and sometimes ninety years old.

With each piece of music his whole appearance changed.

Pasha entered the house.

They listened.


“I want to dance for hours,” whispered the butterfly. “But I can’t move as well as I used to… Let’s go.”

Soon they came to a blue house. As before, the butterfly landed on a window and the walls became transparent. Inside a woman was lying in bed. A mask covered her face. “Please, keep your distance. I’m sick.” she said.

The woman fell back asleep without any other word. Pasha felt something in his heart… it felt like he wanted to lick her hands… “You can come back to visit her,” said the butterfly, “she might like your company later.”

They moved on, soon coming to a yellow house.

Pasha suddenly stopped. He recognized that house. He wanted to run back home but he couldn’t move his legs. He barked at the butterfly…but the butterfly flew right inside the house.

As the house became transparent, Pasha saw an old man sitting on a big chair. The man looked frail. He was alone in this big house.

All the other rooms were empty.

This was the house where Pasha was left after he was born.


He was put in a pen for seven months.

He was never touched.


The man would get upset whenever Pasha whined.

One day he was so upset that he kicked Pasha!

Pasha never whined after that.

He never even looked up when the man came to feed him.


A month after Pasha was kicked by the man, he escaped. He spent many nights on the streets. Soon, he met the street dogs. They were kind to him. They licked him. They shared their food with him.

Pasha stayed frightened of men with shoes. He hated walking on the streets. There were so many men with big shoes.

“What are you thinking about?” the butterfly asked.”Come inside!”

Pasha felt like he couldn’t move. His heart was beating fast as he kept looking at the man’s shoes. He didn’t know which direction to go in. He felt like he was glued to the floor. He started getting upset with himself, with the butterfly, with his legs.

Then he became really still. He started feeling really heavy like lead. He felt like he was sinking. Pasha kept motionless as his eyes were beginning to close.

Just then the butterfly flew and landed on the man’s head. Pasha was startled and he barked to warn the butterfly… however the man remained calm. As soon as the butterfly touched the old man, he became transparent and Pasha could see the man’s whole life playing out… like a movie.

He watched him being kicked and beaten as a young boy. He watched him running on the streets as bullets were flying. He watched him ask for help and not get a reply. Pasha watched the man’s life, as if he was seeing his very own…

Pasha’s legs started to move and he found himself taking few steps towards the old man. He realized how frail and weak the men’s legs were.

Pasha barked. The man looked at him. Pasha looked into his eyes.

Pasha still couldn’t speak but he was able to feel strength coming into his legs. He took a deep breath and he growled at the man.

The man remained calm, he looked at Pasha in the eyes and said, “I am sorry…. I am so sorry I hurt you.”

When Pasha woke up, he noticed the sunlight coming through his window.

He saw the butterfly lying on the leaf.


He wanted to go out for a walk.


The sunlight shined and lit up his beautiful ruby coat.

Pasha felt warm. He sniffed the grass, peed on many things, including the fence with the sign:

“How Ya Doin?
Hang in There.
This Too Shall Pass!”

A girl passing by pointed at Pasha and said, “I want one like him….”

Pasha waged his tail a little.

“This is enough optimism for one day,” he thought…

He ran back to make a new sign for his fence…


“How Ya Doing
A Butterfly Passed by Yesterday.
And That Was a Good Thing.”