I drove and drove, winding up the narrow road, patched with recent repairs after the big rain, cocooned by tall trees all around, the air getting colder and colder outside. Finally I pulled into the gate, opened it, and drove through to the little low house, nestled on the banks of a forest stream. I’d seen this old dog a couple of days before, in severe distress, hardly able to breathe, coughing all the time. When I’d placed the stethoscope on her chest it was all wet crackles – her heart was failing, and if the tablets I’d given them on the last visit hadn’t helped, today was going to be a sad day. “Hello,” waved a cheery face, as I walked up to the house gate. “The dogs must be asleep, they didn’t hear you coming!” “Is she any better,” I asked. “Oh yes, she’s improved a hell of a lot with those tablets, thank goodness,” came the reply, as two big fat dogs came rushing out the the door, barking happily at me. We got inside and settled down. “She does look a lot happier,” I said. “Oh yes- she’s eating again, and even came for a good bit of a gentle walk this morning.” I checked her over – she was still having some effort to breathe, but she was relaxed and happy, none of the desperate gasping and hacking that I’d seen the previous visit. “Is she still coughing at all?” I asked. “Oh, a little bit, but nothing near as bad,” she said. I think I’ll get you to increase the dose of those tablets just a bit, and she’ll have to stay on them from here on in,” I explained. “How are they both going with their diet?” (They were both rather overweight, and I’d put them on a strict diet.) “Oh not too bad, not too bad,” She told me. “We’ll get the weight off them, don’t you worry.” I gave them more of the diuretic tablets (they help the body excrete more water), and headed home. There’s nothing sweeter than the end of a fulfilling day!