Mary Cooper of Augusta, Maine, sent in a photo of her grandson, Calvin Cooper III, with a chick he raised, which is standing on his head. Mary says, "Calvin raised this baby chicken from the egg, and it would sit on top of his head.

Dear Readers: We thought we would share some favorite hints we have received through the years. Give them a read and let me know what you think!

• Taking your pet with you in your car to another state during the holidays? Be sure to bring your pet's rabies-vaccination records and any other vet records that your pet might need in case of an emergency.

• Do not let your pet overeat during the holidays. With family gatherings and parties, there will be lots of food around. Do not feed "people food" to your pets, because it could create stomach problems. Tell your guests not to feed your pets, or keep pets away from the party.

• If your pet has bad breath, it should be taken to your vet for a dental check. Bad breath might indicate dental-plaque buildup. Your vet can give the teeth a good cleaning.

• Be careful if you use ice-melting products around your home during the winter. Some of these might have ingredients that, if eaten by your dog or cat, can cause sickness and even death. So, if you use them on sidewalks, don't let your pets get near them, and use caution when walking your dog.

• Your dog needs exercise. Depending on the breed, make sure your pet gets plenty of space and time to run and play. Exercising will prevent your dog from getting bored, so then it won't dig or chew so much. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: When cleaning your cat's litter box, first use a wide scraper and loosen the litter that's stuck all around the sides of the box. Then use the litter scoop. Sometimes, if the litter is stuck to the bottom of other areas, I scrape there, too. The box stays clean much longer. — Catherine Dalla Costa, Lansing, Ill.

Dear Heloise: I so enjoyed your column regarding silly pet names. I wanted to share my own experience with naming a pet.

A large, young male cat appeared on our doorstep and decided we were the family for him. We were intrigued with his appearance. We were especially fascinated by his huge paws, which were at least three times larger than a typical cat's. Because we live in the middle of Cajun country, we wanted to name him accordingly. We settled on Jean LeFeet Depaw! He is now a big, extremely playful addition to our family. — Michelle Turk, Baton Rouge, La.

Dear Readers: Mary Cooper of Augusta, Maine, sent in a photo of her grandson, Calvin Cooper III, with a chick he raised, which is standing on his head. Mary says, "Calvin raised this baby chicken from the egg, and it would sit on top of his head. Isn't it adorable?" — Heloise


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