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Hints From Heloise: Gardening is a great pandemic stress reliever

Dear Readers: This last year has been trying in so many ways. Taking care of the family, including kids and school, working from home, constant cleaning, keeping up with coronavirus protocols, watching the news and media reports … it can take a lot out of you. What’s a good way to cope?

Now that spring has sprung, it’s important to get outside, get some fresh air, throw the football around with the kids and, wait for it … garden!

Gardening has proven to be a wonderful stress-reliever. There’s something about digging in the dirt, turning it, smelling it, mulching it, seeing the occasional cute, wandering nondescript bug poking about; the earth is alive and it needs our care!

Find some pretty pansies to plant as a border to your walkway; their color will brighten your path. If you’re really wanting to get down and dirty, consider a vegetable garden. Veggies to start now include carrots, radishes, broccoli, beets and spinach. Put your heart into your garden, and you’ll reap the rewards.

P.S. Lay down a cardboard box under your garden to keep weeds from popping through. It will break down and compost naturally over time.

Also, if you’re a renter, discuss gardening with the landlord. She may help you pay!

Dear Heloise: In 2008, I adopted Zoom from Northern California Border Collie Rescue; he was 1 year old. His first and best friend was Ziggy. They would play and take walks together.

But they hadn't seen each other for 12 years, so we weren't sure if they would remember each other. Both dogs are much older now, but it was like they had never been apart. They played all day in the desert in Arizona!

— Leslie L. in Utah

Leslie L. in Utah: Great! To see our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pet of the Week.” Do you have a funny and furry friend to share? Email a picture and description to

Dear Readers: Dogs with a lot of ear hair are more susceptible to getting ear infections, experts agree. The hair can be removed or trimmed down significantly. Leave this job to the pros though.

Dear Heloise: When my dog licks my face, is she kissing me, or is she licking my skin because it's salty?

— Becky G. in Illinois

Becky G. in Illinois: Great question, and I would say yes to kisses! Here’s the scoop: Your dog learned as a puppy to lick its mother’s face for attention. If your dog licks you, and you like it and praise the dog, the dog will continue to lick you, if only to get the praise. So keep those kisses coming!

Dear Heloise: Am I the only one who takes the week's leftovers and mixes them with scrambled eggs and cheese? Simple lunch, dinner or snack!

— Glenna S. in Texas

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

2021, King Features Syndicate