Dear Heloise: I read your DE-SKUNKING RECIPE and had to chuckle about it because I had a beautiful little female Irish setter who one night met a skunk and lost! I put her in a tub of warm water and dumped in a whole jar of instant coffee.

The coffee neutralized the skunk smell. I know it sounds weird, but it does work. When she was done, she smelled like brewed coffee. -- Nick F. in Colorado

Glad this worked for you. Here is my tried-and-true Heloise skunk-neutralizing formula:

* 1 quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide

* 1 cup baking soda

* 1 teaspoon mild dishwashing or laundry detergent (check label to be sure it does NOT contain bleach or ammonia)

Mix ingredients together. Rub this mixture through the dog’s fur, being sure to cover all areas. Don’t get it into your dog’s ears or eyes. Let sit for a few minutes, and then rinse the mixture completely out of the fur. You probably want to do this outside so that the house is not left a mess!

If the odor remains, a second washing may be necessary. Isn’t baking soda wonderful? It has a multitude of uses that can help you save money around the house. I have compiled a six-page pamphlet filled with great ways to use baking soda. For a copy, just send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Has your box of baking soda been sitting in the pantry for a while? Here is how to check if it is still good: Pour a little bit of vinegar in a bowl. Next, add a spoonful of baking soda. If this mixture bubbles up, then the baking soda is still good to go! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Bill Abramson sent a photo, via e-mail, of his delightfully, clever border collie, Daisy, sitting comfortably on the couch. To see Daisy, visit my Web site at www. and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: From time to time, your feature carries advice as to how to preserve fresh strawberries.

For years, I’ve been successful in preserving them for as long as two weeks. Of course, start with field-fresh berries, if possible. DO NOT WASH! I have a 2-inch-deep by 12-inch-or-so-across plasticware container. I place a paper towel in the bottom and carefully put the berries on end, points up. I cover with another paper towel, close the top and burp the container. Be sure to wipe the moisture off the underside of the cover for the first few days, because you need to keep any water from collecting.

Delicious, fresh berries for days and days! And by the way, doesn’t anyone use a paring knife these days? I see all these suggestions for removing the stems with fancy, expensive tools, when the pointy end of an old-fashioned paring knife will do nicely, at much less cost. -- Bill Farris, Santa Ana, Calif.

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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