Dear Readers: Paying attention to pet food recalls? It could be lifesaving. A recent recall was because of the presence of aflatoxins in dog food — toxins from mold that can cause extreme illness and death, according to the Food and Drug Administration (

These recalls are normally announced through the media. If you have questions about the pet foods your pets eat, read the label, call the customer service number on the package and talk to your veterinarian.

Dear Readers: Meet Angie C.’s Run Away Ruby. Two days after she adopted Ruby in September, Ruby escaped from the yard and traveled two miles before being picked up by the police. For this, Ruby landed on Santa’s naughty list!

Fortunately, she is home and well with Angie and family. To see our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Dear Heloise: The response about restraining dogs in cars was very good. Even though people think they are doing their dog a favor by riding down the road with their head out the window, rocks can be thrown up from the front wheels, causing eye and tooth damage, plus a very expensive trip to the animal emergency facility.

— Another Canine Commentator

Dear Heloise: Regarding your tips for old pillowcases, you might be interested to know that my daughter completed two internships with the primates at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. They welcomed donations of linens, including pillowcases, to use for enrichment purposes.

Filled pillowcases with popcorn were thrown over the fence in the gorilla yard, and the gorillas retrieved them and searched for the food inside to replicate their foraging behavior in the wild.

Some of the gorillas then put the pillowcase remnants on their heads, as they would tree leaves, to shade themselves from the sun. I witnessed the youngest female gorilla wearing her pillowcase around her waist as a makeshift dress! I always enjoy your column in The Washington Post.

— Theresa E., via email

Dear Heloise: When moving one's household, carry your valuables with you. Or be sure to get an itemized list of the valuables from the mover that indicates the boxes where the valuables were packed.

During our move six years ago, I neglected to do these things, and when our boxes were delivered, my $5,000 worth of sterling silver flatware was nowhere to be found.

I spent months going back and forth with the insurance company, and at the end was told that they had no proof the flatware existed, so they could not reimburse me. It wasn't just a financial loss, the 12 place settings were gifts from our wedding in 1986.

— Cathy B., via email

Cathy B.: So sorry for the loss of the flatware. Taking pictures of your valuables can help also.

Dear Heloise: I found a kitchen drawer insert that fits in diagonally, instead of vertically, into the drawer. This is great because all sorts of tools and notions, rolling pins, scrapers, wooden spoons, etc. can fit into the drawer and be organized.

— Carla S. in Pennsylvania

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

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