Pets on the inside

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about the treatment of family pets:

“Dear Heloise: Over this past winter, I’ve noticed far too many people who leave their dogs or cats outside in freezing temperatures. I’m not talking about a chow or a husky — dogs that are bred for colder climates — but dogs that have a short coat or are very small. A doghouse offers little protection from the cold unless it’s heated. Our pets need to be inside in any extreme weather condition, whether it’s a hot summer day or a cold winter night. A dog or cat is a family member and needs to be treated as such.”

— Anita S.,

Milford, Conn.

Anita, you make a very valid point. Dogs and cats are domesticated animals and need to be kept indoors, fed regularly and kept clean.

— Heloise

FAST FACTS

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for the plastic scoops that come in large coffee cans:

* Keep one in each canister containing flour, sugar, salt, etc.

* Keep one in the container of bath salts in the bathroom.

* Scoop out just enough fertilizer to sprinkle around a plant.

* Scoop up a dead bug or snail in the garden.

— Heloise

FREEZER BAG FREEZE-UP

Dear Heloise: I put meat in freezer bags and place them in my freezer, but I have a problem with the bags sticking to the freezer itself. How can I avoid this?

— Wendy S., Stratton, Ohio

Wendy, if you are not using bags that are designed specifically for the freezer, you’ll experience sticking problems. The thinner sandwich bags or plastic wrap will not work as well as proper freezer bags. Make sure the bags are dry on the outside.

— Heloise

GIVE FLOPPY BOOTS THE BOOT!

Dear Heloise: I put bottles in my winter boots to keep them upright. You can use liter water bottles, wine bottles, etc., whether empty or filled. Just make sure the bottles are clean and capped to prevent leakage.

— Mary H.,

Arlington, Va.

THAT’S USING YOUR HEAD

Dear Heloise: Save the worn heads of your electric toothbrush. You can use them to turn the brush into a mini powered scrub brush, perfect for cleaning around faucets and drains.

— Dan in Alexandria, Va.

Dan, it’s also a great way to clean grout lines and jewelry.

— Heloise

DEFINING A GOAL

Dear Heloise: Writing down a goal on paper helps me achieve it. Leaving a note on my cellphone is not the same thing. The tactile feeling of writing makes me commit to a project and a goal!

— Julian H., age 17,

Fort Wayne, Ind.

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SEND A GREAT HINT TO:

Heloise

P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise(at)Heloise.com