Gerry and Omer Coulombe of Augusta, Maine, sent a photo of Kassi, a 1 1/2-year-old rag doll-Persian mix, "reading the paper."

Dear Heloise: I have been reading your column (and your mother's) since I was a little girl. In the past few months, I have seen the letters about the dangers of pet collars getting stuck, but I never thought it would happen to our dogs, a cocker spaniel and a black Lab.

Imagine my shock last night as I was finishing the dishes and had my back turned, and suddenly right behind me a huge crash shook the house. I turned around to find our 15-month-old, big, black Lab, Genie, with an entire dishwasher rack of dishes attached to her neck! It seems that as she was sneaking some licks at the dirty dishes, her collar ring got wedged between some of those plastic rods and got stuck, and when she pulled away, the whole rack came with her. She was totally panicked, and it took all we could do to calm her and unhook the rack (filled with dirty dishes flying and now five feet away from the dishwasher) from her collar. It was a scary sight to behold, and while no one normally leaves the dishwasher open while out of the house, the whole experience certainly taught me a lesson. — Alison Cox, Oak Park, Calif.

Well, she was only trying to help! I have a feeling this happens more than we know. Glad things turned out OK. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: When my daughter was a teen, someone left four tiny kittens in a box on our doorstep. We began feeding them using a bottle. One of the kittens, a little gray tom, was much harder to feed than the rest. My daughter said he was so much trouble to feed that she was going to name him "Hell"! I told her she could name the kitten "Hell," but only under one condition: that I give him a middle initial. She agreed and asked what it was. I said "O." So the kitty became Hell O. When he was grown and we stood on the front porch calling, "Hello, Hello," people must have thought we were nuts! — Johnnie Tatom, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: We named our two kittens Frank and Stein. It sounds like we are calling for Frankenstein." — Karen McCorkle, South Vienna, Ohio

Dear Heloise: I learned from our veterinarian that whenever we leave our pets with anyone when we are away, it is imperative that we leave a letter of authorization with the caregiver allowing that person to seek medical care for our pets. Sample letters should be available through your vet. Your vet's office also should have a copy of the letter so it can release information regarding allergies or other conditions. — Debby Baxter, Seattle

Dear Readers: Gerry and Omer Coulombe of Augusta, Maine, sent a photo of Kassi, a 1 1/2-year-old rag doll-Persian mix, "reading the paper." Gerry says, "Kassi likes to know what's going on!" — Heloise


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