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HELOISE: Dog helps diabetes fight

HELOISE: Dog helps diabetes fight

Dear Heloise: You shine a light on service dogs quite a bit; allow me to tell you about mine.

When people think of service dogs, they probably think of those who help a blind person or someone who has mobility issues. And yes, those dogs are out there. But my dog, Stella, helps me with my diabetes!

Stella is trained to detect hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. When my blood sugar is low, the smell of my breath changes and I can start to perspire a lot.

She will sense this and prompt me with a paw or a nudge to treat my blood sugar while I am still able to do so.

She can also sense if I start to feel lightheaded and act like I might faint, also symptoms, among others, of hypoglycemia. — Cayla R. in Illinois

Cayla, I'm so happy you have Stella, a diabetic service dog, also called a DSD. Here's the thing — a dog's sense of smell is acute, to say the least.

A human has around 5 million olfactory cells; a dog can have as many as 220 million! This means the dog's sense of smell can be 1,000 times sharper than a person's. This is necessary to detect those changes in the smell of your breath and/or sweat, which may indicate your blood sugar is dropping.

Send us a picture of Stella, and we will make her Pet of the Week on! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Meet Abby the Tabby, perched and ready for birdwatching in her cute sweater. A cat in clothes! Jane H. in San Antonio fashioned a sweater for Abby from the sleeve of an old sweatshirt. She tolerated it well! To see Abby and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on "Pet of the Week." -- Heloise

Reverse osmosis

Dear Heloise: Reverse osmosis, what is it? The label on my bottle of water states the water comes from the public water supply (I assume that means the tap) and it's purified using reverse osmosis and enhanced with minerals for taste. Please decode. —Gerry B. in D.C.

Gerry, here's a Heloise high-five for reading those labels! Let's look at bottled water. The "public water supply" is, yes, the municipal water from your city, but not straight from the tap.

"Reverse osmosis" is a filtering or purification process that won't allow anything larger than a water molecule to pass through. A water molecule is extremely small.

The minerals used for taste are typically calcium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and magnesium sulfate. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I heard the most inspiring quote from a dancer at an audition: "Dance is about creating shapes with your body."

As we are hopefully coming out of quarantine, I'm getting ready to dance, express myself and create some shapes with my body! -- Kara S. in Pennsylvania

Stick the landing

Dear Heloise: When I peel a sticky note off the pad, I peel it from the side instead of from the bottom. This helps the note to lie flat on the paper it's then stuck too, instead of the bottom curling up. — R.O. in New York

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.


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