DEAR HELOISE:I don’t like to see all these animals in the grocery store. One time I said something, and the person said, "I couldn’t leave the animal at home."

I am allergic to animal fur and cannot find a store that doesn’t have people bringing their dogs.

These aren’t service dogs; they don’t have vests, nor are they trained. Are there rules about this? — Roland D., Colorado Springs, Colo.


Roland, this subject is bound to get folks’ ire up. You may be describing an emotional support animal. ESAs provide comfort in a general sense, but because they don’t perform one designated task, they aren’t endorsed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and they can be denied admittance to food stores, restaurants and other establishments.

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Service animals are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. A service animal is specifically trained to help someone with a medical condition: blindness, most commonly. These animals are allowed in food stores, restaurants, etc.

Check out for more information. — Heloise

DEAR READERS:This time of year is a good time to repot houseplants, before the weather warms up and growth really takes off. Pick a pot that’s slightly larger than the current pot.


Begin fertilizing indoor plants now when you see new growth. — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:I save my mascara brush. I use it to clean the holes in my hummingbird feeder. — Martha in Azusa, Calif.


Martha, this is a great way to upcycle. These brushes can have strong bristles, sometimes of varying lengths. Other uses for the mascara wand:

  • Brush eyebrows into place.
  • Spray a bit of hair spray on the wand, and coax loose hairs back into a hair bun.
  • Dedicate one to cleaning the computer keyboard.

Readers, do you have a use for your old mascara wand? — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: When I go to a public place where I might put my purse on the floor, such as a movie or theater, I bring a disposable bag and slip my purse into it so I don’t bring home any germs from the floor. — Rose R., Jupiter, Fla.