DEAR READERS: Exotic pets, loosely defined, are those animals that are not a dog, cat or farm animal. Do you have one or know someone who does? Here are some things to consider:

Ferrets, hedgehogs, snakes, turtles, rabbits, among many others, can be found in pet stores, but there can be problems with keeping them as pets. Chiefly, they require specialized veterinary care, which can be hard to find and expensive.

Habitat is another concern. Tons of research must be done to provide an environment that’s safe and conducive to healthy living. Wild animals may have been taken from their natural habitat, which could have been done illegally. When you take an exotic, sometimes wild, animal into your private home and captivity, the animal’s mood and behavior can turn, which can lead to biting and other attacks.

All-in-all, exotic pets are best left in the care of experts, who will have the time and training to care for them. — Heloise

DEAR READERS: Meet Mickey, Fred G.’s 16-month-old German shepherd, at home in New Braunfels, Texas. Mickey is sorry to interrupt Dad’s relaxing on this Saturday afternoon, but Fred really needs to throw the ball. Come on, Dad!

Mickey was in training to be a K-9 with the sheriff’s office, but he “flunked out” for being too friendly and easily distracted. To see Mickey and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pet of the Week.” Do you have a funny and furry “flunkie” friend? Send a picture and description to! — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: There are many cobwebs from spiders around the corners of my ceilings, especially in the living room. What is the best thing to use for getting cobwebs off the ceiling? I am allergic to harsh chemicals such as bleach and hydrogen peroxide. What do you suggest? — Georgia B. via email

Georgia, try using a microfiber cloth attached to a broom to grab and pull them down. Each strand of microfiber is triangular-shaped, which leaves more area on which the webs can settle. Just throw the cloth in the wash when you’re done. Oh, and prevention is practically impossible. — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: A friend hired a nursery to plant a young tree. The nursery provided two green vinyl bags that zip together and circle the trunk. The homeowner fills the two bags with water and then the water continuously drips out of the bags to keep the ground and roots moist. — Karen Z., Canton, Ohio

Karen, these slow-release watering systems are great for trees and the environment. — Heloise