The Washington Post

Hints From Heloise: Is this dog in service?

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about animals in stores:

“Recently at a store, I noticed a woman with a small dog being carried in her arms. I asked to speak to a manager about the health issues of an animal being allowed in a store, and he said if a person says he or she needs one for medical reasons, store personnel cannot question the person about it. I can understand a Seeing Eye dog or a dog for which there is some kind of identification that it is trained for medical reasons. I have metal in my knees, and I have to carry a card. -- A Reader, Little Rock, Ark.”

You never know what the situation may be. Just because you don’t see a physical reason for someone to have a service animal doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need one. There are dogs that are specifically trained to detect seizures or help with post-traumatic stress disorder and many other issues.

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, if it is not obvious what a service animal is trained to do, store staff may ask only two questions of the person: Is the service dog required because of a disability? And what work or task is the animal trained to do (such as guide someone who is blind or help in another way)? A medical card or letter is not required.

Some people might take advantage of the situation. Also, the service animal should be on a leash or tether, or be harnessed. So the lady carrying her dog around might not have been in compliance. That said, it’s not a good idea to tote your pet dog, cat or bird around just because you want to. -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Readers: Here are other uses for popcorn tins that you might have lying around:

* Store your Christmas decorations in them.

* Use as a small trash or recycling can.

* Use to place umbrellas in by the front door.

* Use as a pet-food storage container.

* Store rolls of wrapping paper in them.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a solution to the problem in ladies’ restrooms when there is no hook to hang our handbags. I take two clean toilet-seat covers and place them on the floor in the corner and put my handbag on the covers. Problem solved! -- Georgene D., via e-mail

Very clever, Georgene! I travel a lot, and too many times I have had the problem of no hook for my purse in the stall, just recently in a brand-new medical facility! What were they thinking? Talk about germ city! Architects and builders, please take note. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I love tomatoes and buy many at a time. If I have some that are about to go bad, instead of throwing them away, I make them into soup. Saves money by not wasting, and makes a delicious meal. -- A Reader, via e-mail

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

, King Features Syndicate



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