Achieving Balance and Harmony

COMMUNITY

Apollo the Rottweiler

Fans of the Dog Whisperer show will no doubt remember the seemingly hopeless but ultimately heartwarming story of Apollo the Rottweiler. Rescued from an unknown past and cared for by selfless young shelter volunteer Bree Justice, Apollo's panicky human aggression (directed specifically toward adult males) made him a risky candidate for permanent adoption and eventually landed him on death row. Down to the wire and desperate for a solution, representatives from the Orange County Humane Society pleaded his case before Dog Whisperer Producers at an open audition at PETCO - and won the condemned Rottie a stay of execution!

It was during Apollo's long rehabilitation at the Center that he met and immediately bonded with Cesar's eldest son Andre. Brought in to aid in disciplining the pup, Andre's positive energy was a perfect match for Apollo's aggressive uncertainty, making him a powerful ally for Cesar.

"He didn't trust men, and he didn't trust me, yet," says Cesar, "So when I saw Andre's bond with Apollo, I said to myself 'he can help me.' Just like when you use food, or toys. Whatever motivates a dog to trust, that's the tool you use. And in this case, my student became my teacher. He helped me close the link."

After several weeks spent working together to build trust, and knowing that his son was dedicated to continuing the rehabilitation, Cesar chose Andre as the best candidate to give Apollo a forever home.

"It's the relationship that Daddy and I have. It's at that level. I thought 'these guys are meant to be together.' Something like that doesn't happen all the time."

The big presentation was made to Andre at the end of Apollo's episode, where Cesar requested that Andre read a written pledge aloud to mark his commitment.

I, Andre Millan, promise to Apollo
to use my wisdom about dogs
in the direction of balance and love.

"When I go away from home, I leave a list of goals for the boys that need to be achieved. I am a huge believer that whatever you think, you have to write down, and whatever you write down, you have to think it and read it. It's a very healthy way to make what you want a reality. Everything I have written has become real for me, so I believe in that. And the things that have worked for me, as a father I want to teach them to my children."

Now a permanent member of the Millan family pack thanks in large part to Bree's heroic efforts, Apollo spends his new life rollerblading and excelling at agility courses with Andre, both of them virtually inseparable. And Apollo's rehabilitation continues to this day - a testament to Andre's promise to use all his knowledge and resources to fulfill the needs of his new best friend.

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