I have a crazy weird blood disorder called porphyria (poor-fear-ee-uh.) It affected my nervous system and left me paralyzed for six years. I was fortunate enough to recover, but today I suffer from muscle weakness and atrophy stemming from years of immobility. I thought it would be great to have a dog to lean on when I got tired, to keep me on my feet when I felt wobbly, as I sometimes do. I applied for a service dog in 2007 through an organization called CARES, Inc., based in Concordia, Kansas. I was approved, and the following summer, eight months after being accepted into the program, I met Phoebe. It was love at first sight. I knew that Phoebe would help me walk and keep me from falling down. I knew that she would assist me, be with me in the hospital, pull my wheelchair when my arms got tired. I wasn’t prepared, though, for the amount of love that she would bring into my life. She makes everything better. She makes everyone better, happier and braver. She is special, and I feel special because she chose me.