In Feb 2008, my dog Alec suddenly become paralyzed after acute onset of inter-vertebral disk disease. Despite two spinal surgeries (and a 16k vet bill), he was given a poor prognosis that he would ever walk again. His disability turned our lives upside down (we had to move out of our house in San Francisco because it had insurmountable stairs) and coping with his special needs was incredibly daunting at first (he could not even pee on his own). But I did regular physical therapy with Alec (underwater treadmill, swimming, and at-home exercises) and against all odds, a year after becoming paraplegic, Alec started to walk again. As of June 2010, he has not used his doggie wheelchair for a year. Language often fails when trying to capture the essence of our relationships with our nonhuman animal companions. First and foremost, Alec is a unique and special individual in his own right, with intrinsic value in my mind ("in my mind" because society has not yet caught up to this notion). In relation to me, Alec is not only my best friend and constant companion, but also a "significant other" and most cherished family member. I love him beyond words.