Dear Readers: Having a dog can help us relieve stress, but what if dogs develop anxiety themselves? It’s possible. Thunder, the vacuum cleaner, not enough exercise, being home alone all day, holiday visitors — all are triggers.

Symptoms? Chewing, heavy breathing, walking quickly back and forth or whining.

Solutions? Of course, you want to comfort your dog, but experts agree that this is counterproductive. Distracting your dog is a better idea. Dogs are smart, but they can’t think about two things at once.

Getting ready to leave for the day and Rover is stressed? Give him a puzzle toy several minutes before you go; he’ll look forward to this routine.

Ask your veterinarian for other hints to help your dog relieve anxiety.

 — Heloise

Pet pal

Dear Readers: Sue and Penny sent a picture of their 9-year-old Shih Tzu/poodle (“Shoodle”?), Mandy, who is sporting some fun goggles! To see Mandy and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Do you have a beautiful blend of a dog? Email a picture to: Heloise@Heloise.com.

 — Heloise

Not too old

Dear Heloise: I adopted a brother and sister Chihuahua/pug mix years ago from the Pasadena SPCA. The staff informed me the dogs were 10 years old, and I may not have them long.

Ralph and Beatrice were overweight, with dental issues, but they loved having a yard and grass!

With a good diet and dental and medical care, we shared so many days together. They passed three days apart in their sleep — just before their 23rd birthday!

No one told them they were seniors! Old is beautiful — it has so much to offer. Now, I’m back to the shelter!

 — Paula B., Covina

Good for you, Paula. You’re my hero!

 — Heloise

Signature cloth

Dear Heloise: Our thoughtful family tradition: Mother’s signature tablecloth. Each guest and family member at Thanksgiving signs the tablecloth at dinner, and many include a poem, doodle or drawing. Afterward, I embroider over the ink for permanence.

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