When Arthur Renowitzky calls, "Love" always comes running.
It is why in early June, when Arthur called for Love, his 7-year-old toy poodle, and she didn't immediately jump into his lap he thought something was wrong.
Arthur was right. Someone had snatched Love, his therapy dog, in the parking lot of the San Leandro Marina as Arthur, a paraplegic, was preparing to exercise in his wheelchair.
"I wasn't sure I would ever see her again," Arthur says.
Fortunately, just a day later, he did.
Thanks to a 24-hour blitz of media attention, both social and traditional, a couple who had bought love outside a WalMart saw her picture on TV and returned her to Arthur.
To many, it was the happy ending to a one-day news story.
For those who look deeper, though, it is just one more dramatic chapter in an even better story: Arthur's life.
Arthur was an athletic, outgoing, 19-year-old college student the night in December of 2007 he went with friends to an all-ages San Francisco nightclub.
When Arthur left the club, alone, he was set upon by a mugger with a gun.
"It happened so quickly," Arthur recalls. "He shot me. The bullet went through my chest, both of my lungs, and shattered my spine." To this day, the bullet sits lodged next to Arthur's liver.
The mugger left with $20 and a tin chain. Arthur was left paralyzed.
Arthur admits to sinking into a deep depression in the months that followed. He says he was only able to pull himself out thanks to the support of family, friends, and the puppy he had adopted just months before: Love.
"She was there on my toughest days to lick my cheek," Arthur says. "Every time I was down, she was there to pick me up."
Arthur dedicated himself to not only making the best of his bad situation, but to help others do the same. It was the start of the Life Goes On Project.
Arthur now regularly visits hospitals and rehabilitation centers to meet and encourage patients who have been recently paralyzed. "I let them know that whatever they are going through, they can overcome it with a positive attitude," Arthur says. He points to his continued participation in sports and music as inspiration.
Arthur also visits with groups of young people in schools, clubs, and even prison, sharing his story.
For all of it, Love is there. "Anyone who knows me, knows you are going to see Love on my lap," Arthur says.
Arthur says Love often acts as an icebreaker when meeting people for the first time. She draws out smiles and conversation from people even during their darkest times.
She is also a continued calming presence to Arthur. One, he's not sure how he would replace if he had to. Good thing he doesn't for now.
Thanks to the support, and vigilance of others, Arthur and Love are ready to get back to work.