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Protecting yourself from dognapping

Dear Readers: Having a beloved dog stolen is heartbreaking. Dognapping has been on the increase over the past several years; let’s take a closer look. First, who and why?

Popular breeds stolen are the Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Maltese and Chihuahua. Larger breeds stolen include Boxers, Pit Bulls and German Shepherds; they can find their way into the horrifying and vile world of dog fighting. Dogs are stolen to resell, and full-bred dogs who have not been spayed or neutered are more in demand.

How to prevent your dog from being stolen? Get out in front of the problem; make sure your dog’s microchip is updated. You might even get one of those dog DNA kits to verify the identity of your dog. Have current pictures on file.

Be wary of strangers approaching you and asking a lot of questions about your dog. Don’t give out too much information.

Don’t leave your dog alone in a public place and make sure you know and trust people you hire to watch your dog when you’re away.

If the unthinkable happens and your dog is stolen, tell everyone — the police, your neighbors, social media hubs, newspaper, TV, radio. Make signs including pics and post them in public places — bank lobbies, grocery stores, etc.

Be careful, too. Don’t fall for a scam. Someone could call you and say they have your dog, but they need money to get you two reunited. Red flag!

Be careful to prevent your dog from being dognapped. — Heloise

The write stuff

Dear Heloise: Here’s a fun and meaningful project for a scouting, church or youth group, and it can be facilitated virtually: Create pen pals with people in nursing homes!

Lots of nursing homes and senior living centers have been on lockdown since the COVID-19 outbreak, which means no visitors for the folks there.

Have your group write individual letters to the residents. Have them ask a lot of questions: Tell me about where you’re from, your childhood, what you did when you were my age. What was your family like, what was your job or career? What hobbies did you have? Do you have any advice for me?

Have each student write a letter to someone in the home, including details of their life. Address it for a gentleman or lady. A nice gesture is to include a stamped and addressed envelope and some stationery. Use notebook paper; it doesn’t have to be fancy. — Marie R. in Texas

Marie, love it! Reach out to the facility in advance to let them know of your project and to get permission if necessary. — Heloise

(Heloise is a columnist with King Features Syndicate.)

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