Spring up and volunteer!

Hints with Heloise 

Dear Readers: Warm springtime weather can put us in the mood to give back. How about VOLUNTEERING with your kids or grandkids? Teaching children about volunteering can benefit them in so many ways:

• Kids learn it feels good to share and give back; they are less likely to put value on material things. 

• Time away from the TV, cellphone and computer is always good.

• Kids can develop a heightened sense of self-worth by volunteering, and these “feel-good” feelings are healthy and can lower stress.

• When it’s a family affair, kids are more likely to continue volunteering into adulthood.

What are some good volunteer activities? Visiting kids in a hospital with toys and homemade cards; reaching out to kids whose parents are deployed or away from home; putting together care packages for kids and moms at homeless shelters; and there are tons of opportunities to volunteer at animal shelters. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’m reading the label of a bottle of “grape soda,” and it’s interesting. No grape juice. Fine. But how does the grape flavor come to be? “Natural flavors,” the label reads. I called the company, which was helpful.
The representative said the grape flavor comes from essential oils and extracts, which include fruits, spices, vegetables, herbs, roots and bark. So “natural” doesn’t mean “healthy,” but it also doesn’t mean “unsafe.” - Roberta S. in Ohio

Good for you for asking the questions! A Heloise high-five for you. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’m so confused! What does the flashing yellow traffic light mean? - A Reader in Pennsylvania

Flashing lights can be concerning. The flashing yellow light means slow down and be particularly alert and careful in the intersection. You don’t have to stop at a flashing yellow light.

The flashing yellow arrow indicates that you can turn left, but you MUST yield to oncoming traffic. A solid yellow light means prepare to slow down. It DOES NOT mean speed up through the intersection! - Heloise


Dear Heloise: Cash boxes at weddings are popular for gifts of cash, checks and gift cards. I saw on the news that a man “crashed” a wedding (he was dressed up, so he blended in with the other guests), and he snuck over to the gift table, tucked the cash box (a decorated shoebox) under his jacket and walked out the door!

No telling how much money he took!  The news station offered these hints:
“Hire” a guest or a kid of a guest to watch the cash box.
Use a large object to hold the monied envelopes: a large birdcage or lidded aquarium, for example. Make sure the venue has cameras.

- Doreen T. in Arizona

This sale is not OK!

Dear Readers: People SELLING PUPPIES AND KITTENS without a permit from their vehicle on the side of the road, or by classified advertisement or online, is not OK, and is actually illegal. The animals most likely haven’t had any medical care, shots or deworming. Be sure that you have the resources, time and money to care for an animal before impulsively buying a pet. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: Do you or your readers have any suggestions about how to get a small dog to take a flea/heartworm medicine in the form of a pill? Our terrier mix just hates the taste of the pill!  We often have to force it down his throat. We’ve tried disguising the pill with food, but he always discovers it and spits it out. We’re just at wits’ end!

We read your column daily in The Kerrville Daily Times. - Howard in Kerrville, Texas

Readers, what tricks and tips do you use? - Heloise


Dear Heloise: Several years ago, we had a little dog. Through the years, he started developing urinary problems. The vet gave me a beaker and told me to take him for a walk and collect some urine, which I did. 

The vet put the urine sample in a centrifuge and spun it down. Then he put it under a microscope. I was shocked. All I saw was crystals - the long, jagged kind. He told me to put him on distilled water. 

 No more urinary tract problems! - D. Hansel in Houston


Dear Heloise: Your hints for addressing bad breath in dogs fell a little short of what is really needed; I felt I must speak up. 

I am a licensed veterinary technician and have a particular interest in dental health for pets. Dirty teeth not only affect their breath, the bacteria in the mouth can potentially damage internal organs, such as the heart and kidneys. If the owner is able to brush the teeth, daily brushing is ideal, the same as a person. 

Once there is significant tartar and plaque, brushing will not be enough, and it’s time for a professional cleaning. 

A professional cleaning under anesthesia is the only way to truly assess the health of the teeth, and for some pets it may be needed more frequently than once a year. - R.V.T. in California


Dear Readers: It’s mosquito season, and it’s also time to make sure pets are current on heartworm medicine. Ask your veterinarian for more information. - Heloise


Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column. (c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.