Dear Readers: Having a beloved dog stolen is heartbreaking. Dognapping has been on the increase over the past several years; let's take a closer look. First, who and why?
Popular breeds stolen are the Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Maltese and Chihuahua. Larger breeds stolen include Boxers, Pit Bulls and German Shepherds; they can find their way into the horrifying and vile world of dog fighting. Dogs are stolen to resell, and full-bred dogs who have not been spayed or neutered are more in demand.
How to prevent your dog from being stolen? Get out in front of the problem; make sure your dog's microchip is updated. You might even get one of those dog DNA kits to verify the identity of your dog. Have current pictures of your dog on file.
Be wary of strangers approaching you and asking a lot of questions about your dog. Don't give out too much information.
Don't leave your dog alone in a public place, and make sure you know and trust people you hire to watch your dog when you're away.
If the unthinkable happens and your dog is stolen, tell everyone: the police, your neighbors, social media hubs, newspaper, TV, radio. Make signs including pics, and post them in public places: bank lobbies, grocery stores, etc.
Be careful, too. Don't fall for a scam. Someone could call you and say they have your dog, but they need money to get you two reunited. Red flag!
Be careful to prevent your dog from being dognapped. — Heloise
Dear Readers: Meet Gracie, adopted from Georgia, ready to brave the New England weather, sporting an adorable raincoat. Dog mom Nancy M. in Nashua, New Hampshire, sent this precious pic.
To see Gracie and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on "Pet of the Week." Do you have a funny and furry friend you'd like to share? Email a picture and description to: Heloise@Heloise.com. — Heloise
The write stuff
Dear Heloise: Here's a fun and meaningful project for a scouting, church or youth group, and it can be facilitated virtually: Create pen pals with people in nursing homes!
Lots of nursing homes and senior living centers have been on lockdown since the COVID-19 outbreak, which means no visitors for the folks there.
Have your group write individual letters to the residents. Have them ask a lot of questions: Tell me about where you're from, your childhood, what you did when you were my age. What was your family like, what was your job or career? What hobbies did you have? Do you have any advice for me?
Have each student write a letter to someone in the home, including details of their life. Address it for a gentleman or lady. A nice gesture is to include a stamped and addressed envelope and some stationery. Use notebook paper; it doesn't have to be fancy. — Marie R. in Texas
Marie, love it! Reach out to the facility in advance to let them know of your project and to get permission if necessary. — Heloise
Ice ice baby
Dear Heloise: I keep an ice cube on an old plastic lid in my freezer. I can monitor my freezer this way. If there's water around the ice cube, it means the ice has melted and refrozen. The freezer is not keeping cool. — Marie R. in Arizona
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.