Dog News

“My Apollo,” the Healing Bond between a Boy and His Rescue Dog

by Katherine

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Three years ago, when Sociologist Nina Huang rescued a greyhound she named Apollo, she didn’t expect her life to change, but her new four-legged best friend set her life into a new path.

Huang was a Harvard University PhD student, and when Apollo entered her life, the experiences they shared made her realized she wanted to dedicate her life to something else. She left the PhD program and pursued her lifelong passion as an artist.

“When we first adopted Apollo, he was terrified of many things, like loud sounds, sudden movements, and physical contact,” said Huang. “Over time, and with patience and training, he opened up and grew more and more affectionate and care-free.”

Witnessing Apollo’s rehabilitation from a scared, closed dog, to a happy-go-lucky pet, inspired Huang to jot down her dog’s transformation in drawings. Those drawings gave birth to the idea of writing a children’s book she titled “My Apollo.”

Nina Huang and her dog Apollo (right). Illustration from "My Apollo).
Nina Huang and her dog Apollo (left). Illustration from “My Apollo.”


The book depicts the bond humans (especially children) and animals establish. This bond allows both pets and people to overcome life obstacles because there is a support system in place to guide each being through difficult times.

According to the New York Times therapists and researchers have found that pets provide unexpected psychological benefits for children. Those benefits range from building relationships with difficult-to-reach patients to boosting the self-esteem of traumatized children.

Huang’s book portrays how a small boy named Briar and his rescue dog named Apollo help one another overcome difficulties.

"My Apollo" illustration - Nina Huang
“My Apollo” illustration – Nina Huang


“Briar comes from a single-father family and has been struggling in school with falling grades and social society,” said Huang. “Apollo was bred to run races on a racing track, and by the time he was at a shelter, he developed a deep distrust of humans and a fearful orientation to life. After adopting Apollo, Briar goes on a mission to help rehabilitate him, gently helping him overcome his fears, and in the process Briar makes new friends and learns to overcome his own fears, too.”

Apollo. Photo Credit: Nina Huang
Apollo. Photo Credit: Nina Huang

The book is a 40-page full color hardbound book for animal-lovers, dog-lovers, and parents who wish to nourish their children’s relationships with animals.

Huang has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $22,500 to self publish 2,000 copies of her book.

“This book was birthed from a place of appreciation, gratitude, and love for our canines, and the tremendous healing that occurs at both ends of the leash,” said Huang. “[I] have plans to donate $1 of each book sold to animal rescue, as well as sending the book to animal shelters across the U.S., and children’s hospitals and libraries.”

The Kickstarter project is now active until November 26th and you can help brig the book to press by making a donation on Huang’s Kickstarter campaign page.

“Apollo’s courage inspired me deeply to follow my own passion, to embrace life’s unknown,” said Huang. “The message of the book is essentially a message of hope and healing, that no matter what card life has dealt us (dogs and humans alike), the natural momentum is toward more love, joy, and light. I hope this book encourages people to look at our dogs with new eyes, and to raise awareness of pet rescue, but my ultimate dream is for this book to uplift and bring joy and happiness to others,” Huang concluded.

If you want to learn more about Nina Huang visit

To help bring this book to life donate at

Watch the video below to learn more about Huang and the book.