Monday, November 25, 2013


I am sad to tell you all that we said goodbye to Apollo last week, but I am also very happy to tell you his story that really fits in with Ironnan's motto this year "Anything is Possible."

Apollo was born March 7, 2001 in Slovakia.  2 days before our wedding!  A strange series of events led us to him and we knew it was fate!  I picked him up from the Newark Airport, where they left 3 puppies on the tarmac in 80 degree weather. Customs, Animal Control, the FISH AND GAME commission had to be involved but we finally got our pup!
Long plane ride from Slovak Republic
For those not familiar with the breed, Apollo was a Bernese Mountain Dog.  An amazing breed that is unbelievably gentle and fit perfectly with our personality and lifestyle.  Unfortunately though, with most large breeds, they don't have a long lifespan.  Bernese Mountain Dogs typically live average 6-9 years.   

When Apollo was 1, we adopted Gemini and the two of them were inseparable.   Apollo and Gemini spent 9 years together.  We adopted  Athena when Apollo was 10: Gemini's mother was Athena's grandmother, it was fate, although Apollo might beg to differ that mixing a  10 year old and a puppy was a bit much. 

Apollo and Gemini!

Apollo spent most of his life with terrible food allergies.  He was only allowed to have "his food", but he was one happy dog. ALL OF THE TIME.  He was very well mannered and just wonderful.  Apollo has been to more triathlons and has met more people than I bet the athletes!  He LOVED hanging with people and getting all the attention.

We were very fortunate, Apollo got to go to Doggie Daycare or go to work with John.  John's company is fabulous and the dogs are allowed in the office! Later in his life, Apollo stayed home with me anytime I worked from home. 

He was even a babysitter. When he would go to work with John, the owner of the company would come 'take' Apollo to babysit the child that was also at work. Apollo would keep Liam occupied!

As he aged, we'd get looks of wonder, "What a 10 year old Berner? What an 11 year old Berner? WAIT IS HE REALLY 12?" -- yup we were proud, and he was one TOUGH TOUGH cookie.

In Nov of 2012, he had a grand mal seizure, caused by a stroke and they believed he had lymphoma.  We refused to do any invasive testing and decided to just make him happy.  We were given 2 weeks to "Maybe a month."    We changed his diet to a home cooked meal, and had a wonderful vet duo of traditional and Chinese medicine.  He turned around and actually started running and playing.  Except for the grey on his face, you would have never known he was that old.  He had an AWESOME extra year when given the limitation of 'a month.' I could hear him saying "yea right, whatever, I don't think so!"

As all of you know, I trained for the last year for Ironman.  In July, he was starting to slow down a little, he was starting to show his age.   I sat him down and had words with him. I gave him permission to leave us if he wanted to, but said if he waited much longer that he had to wait until after my Ironman. 

True in his loyalty, he made the trip to Florida and other than his "old man" issues, he was in great spirits. He enjoyed meeting people, and enjoyed moseying around. He got to see my family, go to a beach in Florida, and hang with his favorite people. 

On the way home from Florida, we got the first inkling that something was wrong.  One of his cancer's had spread.  Once home, we noted he had an internal bleed.  He wasn't in pain, but he was pissed that his legs wouldn't work and he was getting weak. I know many of us can empathize with that frustration!    He was rapidly losing red blood cells, but he never lost his smile or his love of food.

We said goodbye to him on Monday with a GIANT BOWL OF ICE CREAM, a favorite food he hadn't been able to eat in 8 years.  He will be greatly missed, but his can-do, "anything is possible," positive attitude will live on forever. 

 He is one IRON DOG! 

We were proud to spend 12 years 9 months with him!

Nothing like a sleeping teddy bear!

Pooped Puppy
He loved to hang his head on things,
 he did this his entire life.

If you read my blog often, you KNOW
 I had to have more cow pictures!
Apollo liked to make designs with his pee,
this continued his entire life.
Apollo was amazing with children

Apollo and Gemini

Apollo and Gemini, this was one of
her favorite positions

Apollo and Athena

Apollo out for a RUN,
only a month after that Gran Mal Seizure!

Another RUN at age 12

This was his most content pose,
We called this Chinchilla head

Relaxing on the way home from FL!

Apollo and Athena
in Panama City Beach, FL
Nov 2013


  1. Oh Laura, I'm so, so sorry. He was one of a kind. Crying...

  2. Thank you for sharing your boy with us. I'm so sorry he's gone, but he had such a great life.
    When does Athena get her new best friend?

  3. Oh Laura, I'm so sorry to hear about Apollo. Thinking of you. -Crystal

  4. What a beautiful homage. It sounds like he's lived a long and varied life. It was wonderful of you to give that to him. I'm sorry for your loss. But you're right, He is the IRON DOG! Great that he lasted through to your victory, that he got to see that. {hugs}


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