Mickey the cat and Sadie the Lab nap together on their pet bed.

Dear Heloise: With interest, we read your comment about the importance of cleaning out a birdhouse. Here is what my husband has done:

A friend of ours made us a birdhouse in the shape of a church building. My husband took the bottom piece of wood off the house and put a hinge on one side of the bottom, with a hook and eye on the other side. Now, once the birds are done having babies and then when they leave the coop, he just unhinges the bottom. He can remove all accumulated grass, leaves and feathers, and the house is ready for the next family. We have a houseful nearly all summer long. What a joy to hear the chirping and watch mom and dad flying back and forth to take care of their children. —Inge and Clair Geiger, San Antonio

Who wouldn't love a clean house?—Heloise

Dear Readers: We have got another set of pet names for you. We hope that in sharing this, you will get a smile:

Virginia Harris of Falmouth, Maine, says: "Our long-haired Chihuahua is named Spec. He received that name because he was too small to be called Spot."

Norma Butler of Fort Wayne, Ind., says: "I have two beautiful long-haired dachshund companions named after country-western singers. They are Willie and Waylon. They are well-known in my neighborhood as the Outlaws!"

Dorothy Mowery of New Haven, Ind., says: "Since my name is Dorothy, I had decided to call my new puppy Toto. We have had a lot of fun with it."

Kare K. Kelsven of Englewood, Fla., says: "My cat's name is Madam, since I always wanted to be the owner of a cathouse!"

Thanks to all the readers who took the time to drop us a pet name — it gave us lots of smiles and laughs!—Heloise

Dear Readers: Barbara Hanis of Greensburg, Ky., sent in a photo of her Lab, Sadie, and her cat, Mickey, hugging each other while resting on a pet bed. They look quite comfortable. Barbara says: "Mickey was abandoned at 1 day old, and I hand-raised him. Sadie decided he was her baby, and she'd lick him clean after each of his feedings. They really bonded and are inseparable now, always sleep together and still groom each other."

If your newspaper doesn't print the pet photo, visit www.Heloise.com to see Sadie and Mickey.—Heloise

Dear Heloise: Giving your pets a pill can be a job. Here is the way I have found to do it. Have three pieces of a treat, such as meat or cheese. Put the pill inside one treat. Give a pill-free treat, followed immediately by the one with the pill, and then quickly offer the third plain piece. Works every time!—Shery in San Angelo, Texas


© King Features Syndicate Inc.