Dear Heloise: I have read your column for as long as I can remember. All of your hints are helpful, practical and inexpensive. I hope you can spread the word about something very important to me and to millions of pets.

I have a PACEMAKER. I read that when the batteries in a pacemaker wear down, the pacemaker must be replaced. Used pacemakers cannot be refurbished and placed in humans again, but they can be placed into a pet to help prolong its life.

When a used pacemaker is given to you or your family, just take it to a veterinarian, who will forward it to a veterinary university in your state. Here in Indiana, it is Purdue University. They can use pacemakers in which the battery has expired, or if a person passes away.

There is a need for this donation, and it could give a beloved pet a better quality of life. -- C.P., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Wow! And thank you for sharing this heart hint! Pacemakers are being used for animals — dogs, some cats and even a horse or two. This is a pretty new practice, but it seems to be growing. How wonderful to know that a used pacemaker can prolong the life of one of our animal friends. Also, if a loved one is being buried or cremated, the pacemaker usually is removed and returned to the family. Call your veterinarian or a college of veterinary medicine in your state to find out if it accepts pacemakers or can direct you to an organization that does. -- Hugs, Heloise


Dear Readers: The Martinez family sent in a picture of Ruby, a schnauzer mix, and Simon, a Siamese, lounging on the bed. They are a big part of the family and are referred to as their “fur babies.” To see Ruby and Simon’s picture, visit my Web site, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise

P.S.: Send a picture and description of your pet, and it may be featured as the Pet Pal of the week. Send information to: Heloise/Pet Pal, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or e-mail to


Dear Heloise: While walking, I see many yards where folks are losing grass because of trees with thick, low-hanging limbs. Trimming those limbs would let the sunshine reach the grass and probably would cost less than planting elaborate shaded shrub beds. -- Kim O., via e-mail

Kim, how right you are. Low-hanging limbs also can obstruct sidewalks and be a hazard for cars and people! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a thin, artificial Christmas tree. However, it lacks the fullness to become a “wow” tree. I put plain green glass ornaments on the inner branches before the other decorations. This gives the tree an “optical blend” that makes it seem fuller (particularly from a distance). The green ornaments are on sale after the holidays, and I grab them up! -- Joe S. in Lake Worth, Fla.

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

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