Posted: December 30, 2013 at 2:52 a.m.

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 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

DEAR READER: 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 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.

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.

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 email Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email Heloise@Heloise.com

ActiveStyle, Pages 28 on 12/30/2013


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