Dear Readers: It’s gift-giving season, but giving an animal as a gift? Not always a good choice. Owning a pet is a huge responsibility; some may not be up to the task. A pet is a 10- to 20-year commitment that involves time, energy and money.

Your neighborhood Humane Society and other rescue groups probably offer gift certificates; this is a good solution. Allow the recipient to pick out his or her own pet. (Some rescue groups may require an application and vetting process before approving the adoption.)

It’s probably safe to say that all of us at Heloise Central are big animal lovers. We can share the love and provide a good home; let’s just make sure that it’s a good fit for all.

Odin, who has a rare talent, is the Heloise Pet of the Week. (Family photo)

Dear Readers: Meet Odin. He’s an adorable, oddball 2-year-old cat. He has a unique talent: Odin’s favorite pastime is shooting rubber bands across the room and then fetching them!

He even barks occasionally because he is the only kitty in a house full of dogs. He takes pleasure in directly shooting at mom, Dani, just to see her reaction! He’s a lovebug and is so funny!

To see Odin, visit and click on “Pet of the Week.” Do you have a funny and furry pet? Send pictures and a description to

Dear Heloise: My wife recently suffered a short-term illness. I moved to the spare bedroom so that she might have a good night's rest. I bought a battery-operated doorbell and put the button in her room and the receiver in mine.

In the event that she needed anything during the night, I was only a ring away.

Mr. Bill, via email

Mr. Bill: Here’s a Heloise hug. Hope she is better now.

Dear Readers: If salt has been thrown on the sidewalks and/or roads, wipe off your pet’s feet after a walk. The salt can burn and irritate tender footpads.

Dear Heloise: Family recipes always make a wonderful gift. We use photo albums with slots to hold the recipe cards. If you don't like a recipe, you can easily remove it and replace it with another.

Fannie T. in New York

Dear Heloise: I'm a senior who can walk only a few steps without a walker. When I go to my supermarket, I try to find a space near an empty shopping cart because I can't push a walker and a cart at the same time. My market, one of a big chain, has employees go out every 10 minutes to collect all the empty carts, so I have hard time finding one.

It would be nice if they left a few in the handicapped area so people like me could grab one. I mentioned this to the manager, and he said it was company policy to bring all the carts inside.

James S., Ontario, Calif.

James S.: I understand your frustration. The store may be concerned about shopping carts dinging cars, or any number of things. Speak to the manager again.

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