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Dear Readers: Do you have an EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL? If you are a renter, does your landlord waive the pet deposit and monthly pet rent? He should.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.HUD.gov) says an emotional support animal is NOT defined as a pet, but rather as "a reasonable accommodation for a disability," and therefore is not subject to a pet deposit or monthly pet rent.

However, per HUD, you are responsible for cleaning up after the animal, and to repair or pay for any damage the animal may cause.

Your doctor or therapist can assist in getting your dog, cat, ferret, rabbit or other animal declared an emotional support animal. — Heloise

NO BENT EDGES

Dear Heloise: When closing a paint can, I lay a wooden stir stick across the lid. A couple of sharp taps with a hammer on the stir stick, one on each side of the can, seals the lid tightly with no bent edges, leaving it easy to open the next time. — Mary, via email

TIRE TROUBLE

Dear Readers: A Saturday is the perfect time to think about the tires on your car. Here are some hints:

• Rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. This can help prevent uneven wear.

• Look on the doorjamb for the recommended tire pressure. Check your tires about once a month.

• Tires should be rebalanced every other rotation.

• Inspect your tires frequently. Look for gashes and other damage.

• The tire pressure monitoring system indicator light comes on only when your tire loses 25 percent pressure. That's too much!

— Heloise

FLEA MEDS

Dear Heloise: I want to make your readers aware that there are some amazing flea medications available today. One particular chew can eliminate more than 98 percent of fleas in 12 hours, and this treatment lasts for 12 weeks! It's wonderful, the advancements that have been made over the years! — Kerri T. in Ohio

Ask your veterinarian for these solutions. Over-the-counter flea medications may be less effective. — Heloise

MAKEUP REMOVER

Dear Readers: A roll of bathroom tissue in a square boutique facial tissue box makes an easy cleaner for makeup. Flushing facial tissues is not recommended, but a length of bath tissue can be used to blot the face and then be flushed, if necessary. — Heloise

Drinking creates a 'buzz'

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Dear Readers: Today's SOUND OFF is about "buzz driving." — Heloise

"Dear Heloise: My Sound Off is about people who think they can have a couple of beers and then drive safely. Don't people realize that 'buzz driving' can kill people, earn them time in jail or, at a minimum, a heavy fine? It also can ruin future job opportunities. It's simply not worth it." — Suzanna Y., Astoria, Ore.

SEND A GREAT HINT TO:

Heloise

P.O. Box 795001

San Antonio, TX 78279-5001

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise(at)Heloise.com

FAST FACTS

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for dental floss:

• Tie up trailing vines to a fence or lattice.

• Sew on buttons.

• Cut a layer cake.

• String beads for necklaces.

— Heloise

LET'S NOT IRON

Dear Heloise: Since I lacked enough counter space to serve food when my family came over, I took my old ironing board and covered it in foil. Then I draped it with a very large tablecloth, so that it looked more like a narrow table. It worked perfectly. — Hannah K., Bonita Springs, Fla.

KITTY'S CORNER

Dear Heloise: I have four cats that are indoor pets, so that means kitty litter boxes. Can I use just plain baking soda in the cat box instead of the expensive, perfumed litter-box deodorizers? — Hazel A., Fairbanks, Alaska

Hazel, yes, plain baking soda will work just fine. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda in the cat pan, then the usual amount of kitty litter over that, and it should work. Some cats don't like the perfumed smells of commercial products for their potty pans. — Heloise

CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

Dear Heloise: Before you know it, Christmas will be here. I have seven brothers and sisters, and some of them now have a family of their own, so Christmas gift-giving was becoming a very expensive holiday. Instead, we all agreed to give one gift per family, and since we're a creative bunch, it had to be something under $30, and hopefully homemade. I gathered up some of our childhood pictures, took them to a printer, and I'm having calendars made up to give to everyone in the family. — Amanda, via email

THANKSGIVING CENTERPIECES

Dear Heloise: A couple of years ago, I started a family tradition by taking my three granddaughters with me to the woods and gathering natural things to use in a Thanksgiving centerpiece. We'd find chunks of wood, dried leaves, acorns and things like that to create our Thanksgiving arrangements. Sometimes we'd go to a crafts store to purchase a few additional items. Not only was it fun to spend time out in nature with the girls, but there was a special bonding that took place among us. — Peggy B., Martinsburg, W.Va.

ROBUST FLU VACCINE

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Dear Readers: With flu season (October through May) well underway, did you know that there's a HIGH-DOSE FLU VACCINE that's now available? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) has some good information about this.

People 65 and older may have weaker immune systems than younger people. That's why, if you're a senior, your doctor may recommend this more robust flu vaccine.

It is generally considered safe, but the side effects of the injection may be a bit stronger than the regular flu shot: temporary pain, headache and muscle ache, among other things.

Ask your doctor if the high-dose flu vaccine might benefit you or someone in your family. — Heloise

'PEANUT' GARLAND

Hi, Heloise: I read in your column recently that one should not put plastic packing peanuts in recycling. I string them for garland for Christmas trees. They actually look better than popcorn — bigger, brighter and whiter! — Thomas D., Kenner, La.

Nifty idea! — Heloise

PAY OFF DEBT

Dear Heloise: We always pay the minimum payment on our credit cards, but we are a little behind.

We are getting mail about preapproved loans. My husband wants to use them to pay off the credit cards, but I don't trust them. What do you think? — Mary M., via fax

Mary, one steadfast rule to live by: You won't get far by paying off debt with more debt. Here are some great hints from the Consumer Credit Counseling Services (www.credit.org):

1. Start saving. Easier said than done, but having money in the bank is a nice cushion for the future.

2. Stop borrowing. Set aside your credit cards.

3. Honesty is the best policy. Call your creditors. They may be able to work with you to create a plan to get you caught up. Don't be afraid to ask for a fee to be waived.

4. These loan offers you are receiving sound tempting; read the fine print and know what you are signing up for before you sign.

5. Create a monthly budget. Write down all income and expenses. When you see the money spent in writing, reality sets in.

— Heloise

P.S. A temporary part-time job in the evenings can put extra cash against what you owe. Find something you enjoy doing.

THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART

Dear Heloise: Many online businesses will notice your abandoned "shopping cart" contents and email you a coupon code as an incentive to complete the order.

This applies to shoppers who have gone through the majority of the checkout process. These notices are sent within 24 hours; it may be worth the wait. — Greg K., Oxnard, Calif.

DONATION NATION

Dear Heloise: I was overrun with magazines and catalogs. I called a senior living center, which was happy to take the magazines off my hands! — Jenny B. in Illinois

Remove the preprinted address label, if applicable. — Heloise

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