Pet Pal

Dear Readers: A.J. in Pennsylvania sent this photo of his two gorgeous boys, Jake and Jorge.

— Heloise

Dear Readers: We love to pamper our pooches, get their ears cleaned and nails clipped (and polished?), possibly a sudsy scrub, rinse, blow-dry and hair bow. But when it comes to dog grooming, how much do you know about your dog groomer?

Hints from Heloise sig

Formal training and licensure may not be required in your state; many dog groomers learn on the job only. Read online reviews and ask for recommendations from your friends and people you trust. Research thoroughly before you hire a groomer.

Drop in and observe the groomers in action and ask questions. Only allow your dog to be groomed if you feel comfortable.

The majority of dog groomers are responsible and skilled professionals. Just be aware that dog groomers may have limited training and experience.

— Heloise

Birthday registry

DEAR HELOISE: My family has developed a “birthday registry” of sorts. Since we’re scattered all over the country, it’s impossible to know what a person needs, wants, etc. We develop a list of things we’d like to have or things we need, and we discreetly email the list to those who need it. This has worked well, and people get gifts they need and want!

— Holly H., Massachusetts

Ramp it up

DEAR HELOISE: To enable my pet to get himself up on the bed, I found that a sturdy, ultra-dense foam pet ramp is better than stair steps for senior dogs and dogs with arthritis. The dog can climb the ramp more easily than having to lift each foot up onto a step. The ramps are available from major online retailers. Prices vary; we invested in a quality ramp.

— Donald K., Pennsylvania

Sent hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email