Unless your pet is the star of an animated children's movie or the product of a really bad acid trip, chances are it doesn't speak English. So when something goes wrong with said pooch, kitty or ferret, you need the help of someone as close as possible to an animal whisperer. Jim Vulgamott, head internist at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, possesses an uncanny sixth sense in diagnosing pet health issues, which is why thousands of Houstonians flock annually to his offices. He's found cancer in dogs and cats just by feel, and will never recommend costly testing merely to pay for his Lexus. You'll need a referral from a regular vet to see him, and services at GCVS are anything but cheap. But when it's a matter of life or death, this is the man to whom to entrust a beloved furry friend. Perhaps Vulgamott's best trait: his terrific bedside manner, which makes even the worst news bearable, and the best news a reason to throw a party.