When is a dog not a dog? My dog Coal is a member of our family. It’s as if I have 2 children, not one. Coal is perhaps in his last week of life. He has lung cancer and he’s never even smoked. He is taking it like a champ though, with his head held high. I however am not as stoeic. His breathing is shallow and labored but he is giving it all he’s got. Coal is a black and tan standard dauschound with a pedigree family tree. He just had his 13th birthday complete with presents and a doggy party. It was a smashing sucess and I have it on video. Coal and I go to the vet twice a day for nebulizing treatments. I can only hope that it’s making it easier for him to breathe. All Animal Clinic is doing a great job in helping me to make sure Coal is as comfortable as he can be. I am torn between getting my hopes up that he will get better and the sad reality that every breath could be his last. Why did God make it this way? Coal is 91 years old and he just had his 13th birthday. It just doesn’t seem fair. The only rationalization I can come up with is that the love we have for our pets is so strong, as if they were human, that this may be the only way possible for us to remotely prepare for the loss of a human loved one. My Father also has lung cancer. If I can take the gratitude, admiration, and compassion that I feel for Coal and transfer that love onto my own Father, forgiving him for his shortcomings then Coal will have not gone in vain. He loves me so much that I know this would make him happy. I love you Coal and I love you Dad.