by Mary Moscarello. Photo credit: Mary Moscarello. Banner image by Photo by Natalya Letunova on Unsplash

I have never seen “Enter the Dragon” in its entirety. What I have seen and pretty much committed to memory is that jaw-dropping scene from the 1972 film where an almost unbelievably fit, Bruce Lee flexes before fighting Chuck Norris. Lee’s back muscles appear as if from nowhere and fan out to either side. That in itself is enough to inspire anyone to at least do a modicum of research into the legendary and iconic person that is Bruce Lee.

Recently – my family, in a search for some distraction during a night of this lengthy quarantine, watched the ESPN 30 for 30 episode “Be Water” about the all-too-short life of Bruce Lee. It is so worth your time, by the way. Among many memorable moments of that show was something his daughter, Shannon Lee, shared about what she knew about her father who died when she was only four years old. I forget her verbatim quote from the special, but I remember grabbing my phone (for lack of pen and paper) to take note of one part of what she said.

She said, “I knew what it meant to be loved by him. I knew him energetically”.

I believe that is how we know all beings around us at first. It is most certainly how dogs know us. They are color blind, so they don’t see us in the way we see each other. Of course the sense of smell is something they very much rely on to identify one human from another. For sure, dogs get to know our voices and understand the patterns of our day. But it is their ability to respond to a person’s energy that I believe make them such loyal friends.

Bongo was a charmer. He was definitely attached to me in a special way apart from the other members of my household, but he made sure to greet everyone equally. As an example of this across the board diplomacy – when Huz would come home, Bongo would go greet him with such joy. Immediately after that, he’d check in with me as if to say, yes and I love you too. Sometimes he’d even go back to check in with Huz. It could go on and on if he was feeling spry.

A friendly and submissive dog, Bongo never bit a person. But that’s not to say he didn’t meet humans he didn’t like. We’ve often told the story about Bongo being protective of me at a festival for our family business (for which Bongo was our mascot). The festival allowed dogs, so Huz and I had brought him along. As together we manned the booth selling pet collars and leashes, Bongo was our official “greeter” and model, wearing the Italian flag collar as an homage to my family heritage on my father’s side. He was so good at this job, we left the leash off. He was a hit and sales were brisk.

At one point during the course of the day, Huz took a break to go get us something to eat from the many food vendors you find at these types of events. I stayed behind with Bongo to keep selling. Little did the next potential customer to enter our booth know that Bongo took Huz’s departure to mean that he was now on duty – and Bongo would not let him in. That dog stood in front of me and barked a warning – do not enter. Not once had this happened – until I was alone. Was that customer a threat to me? Bongo most certainly thought so. He was not taught this behavior, he just picked up on an energy. Suffice it to say that I made all the remaining runs for refreshments after that.

I believe it was a shift in energy – or Prana, in the yogic perspective – that Bongo detected. Shannon Lee recalls her four-year old energetic memory of her father – and I’ll bet if you try, you can do the same about someone from your past. A smile comes to my face every time I remember my second grade teacher, Mrs. Sadler. I frown when I think of my fifth grade teacher Mr. Byington – who gave out “hot hands” (a rap on the hands with this splintered ruler he kept at his desk) as a means of discipline. Maybe it isn’t always a pleasant energy – certainly energy can be threatening or ominous. We don’t always tap into this part of our “sense abilities”, but they are there.

I do not pretend that the bond between Shannon Lee and her father Bruce Lee is on the same level as mine with my dog of nearly 14 years. But I feel as though it is of a very similar essence. Bongo and I communicated through energy so often. Dog owners reading this are probably nodding in agreement when I say there were many times I might have been in a lousy mood and he seemed to accommodate it. He’d adjust his proximity to me, be persistent about asking to go for a walk or come lay on top of my feet just because he could.  

I do hope I’m correct in thinking he knew me energetically – and that it was an energy he would recall with a doggie smile. I hope he knew what it meant to be loved by me. 

I definitely knew what it meant to be loved by him.