Salt is bad for dog paws

Many of us have seen our dogs limping in agony when salt crystals get lodged in their paws while walking on the sidewalks of Chestnut Hill.

How do you keep your snowy sidewalks safe? Do you shovel? Or do you sprinkle salt? Of course we don’t want anyone to slip and fall on icy sidewalks, but isn’t there a way of clearing the sidewalks without using salt?

Personally, I prefer to shovel. However, for those who prefer salt, there are different types of salt, some kinder not only to pet paws but to plants, grass, and even to concrete, asphalt and brick.

Kilian Hardware sells several types of ice melt, some of which are much better for pets and for the environment. Although inexpensive, you should avoid using sodium chloride, also known as Halite or rock salt. Alternatives are: magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and calcium chloride, all of which are better for pets and for the environment. There are also jugs of Safe-T-Pet, Safe Paws, or Paw Thaw, blends which, although they may cost a bit more, are much kinder to pets.

A note to pet owners: Wipe paws with a wet cloth after exposure to ice melt; ingestion can be lethal. I’m going to order a set of dog booties, but they are a nuisance to put on, and many dogs refuse to wear them! Please think of your canine neighbors before you sprinkle snow melt. Thank you, neighbors!

Linda Baldwin
Chestnut Hill


An appreciation for Women’s Center

Due to a health insurance billing snafu from my provider that has haunted me for more than a year, I had to cancel out of my yearly mammogram on Dec. 26.

A reinstatement letter was in process, but my contact person was not in the office.

The Chestnut Hill Hospital Women’s Center employee Tanya Gray gave me their direct dial and fax number, and a day later, Tanya was able to schedule me in for the testing.

Upon arrival, Betty Wilson was professional, yet caring. From there it was to Mariah Lojewski for a double check of the paperwork, and off to the rear of the center for the test.

Technician Cathy Miller was professional, and yet acted like a human and not a robot.  We shared some small talk and on the way out I secured the card of Dr. Catherine Pizak, who is medical director for the Women’s Center. Thank you all.

I would like to thank all of the angels at Chestnut Hill Hospital who work during the holidays and every day. Special thanks to all of the emergency workers out there who are called out to a fire or traffic accident 24/7.

Barbara Sherf


Disappointed in Lovett Library

I regret to say that after much anticipation regarding the reopening of Lovett Memorial Library in Mt. Airy, I was deeply disappointed in and a bit puzzled by the architect’s reimagining of what our local library should be. James Keller designed the library to ostensibly draw more people into it, making it more “social” and community friendly and less about books.

I was surprised to see how few books are in the library. The sections are labeled fiction and non-fiction with no categorizing by subject. The minimalist architecture, a cross between an Apple store and a boxy furniture store, is devoid of warmth and a sense of intimacy.

In contrast to the welcoming, cozy Chestnut Hill Library, there are no plants, carpets or comfortable seating. The lighting is harsh. Plastic, metal and glass dominate in a neon wash. The white, stiff lampshades, straight out of Ikea, would have been more interesting if they were patterned.

There is nothing to draw you in, nothing for the eye to linger over. The children’s section is as devoid of warmth as the adult section. All the units are mobile so they can accommodate community events. Of course, a library should be inclusive and invite all in. But why sacrifice aesthetic for functionality? Why not utilize the very large upstairs space?

If the solution of declining readership was to design the brutalist, minimalist rooms, we will continue to patronize it to some extent, but we won’t stay in the library. Guess I can liken it to Starbucks, where I’ll occasionally get a coffee but always leave because it is not an environment that I find interesting or inviting.

Judy Rubin
Mt. Airy