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Dear Readers: What's the old Hollywood actor's creed? Never work with children or animals? Today, July 11, is All-American Pet Photo Day. Let's work with our animals, namely dogs, and photograph them! Here are some hints:

  •   Make sure the dog is clean and brushed out.
  •   What feeling are you trying to portray? Action, running, catching a ball or is it a portrait shot?
  •   Does the dog have a white or yellow coat? A dark background is called for. For a darker dog, use a lighter background.
  •   Take a lot of shots from many different angles so you'll have a variety to choose from. Get low to the floor or ground for a dog's eye perspective.
  •   Distract, praise and reward. This will make working with dogs, or children, for that matter, easier!
  •   Flash photography should be avoided if possible — the red eye look is not good.

Enjoy this time with your dog; it should be a fun, bonding experience. — Heloise


Pet Pal

Dear Heloise: My name is Kori and I am a conure, from the parrot family. I live in a huge, beautiful cage and I have lots of toys to play with. My mom, Karen in Albuquerque, says I'm sweet, "nibbly," tame, loving and super quiet — not a squawker at all! My parents and my sister cuddle with me all throughout the day. I'm so grateful I was adopted. I am loved!

To see me and the other Pet Pals, visit and click on "Pet of the Week."

Heloise says, Do you have a funny, furry or feathery friend you'd like to share? Email a picture and description to: — Kori the Conure


No Escape

Dear Heloise: I have a small chihuahua, and even though I'm ALWAYS outside with her, I wouldn't put it past her to try to sneak out of the yard in between the fence posts!

I have a wooden spoon that I tie across her back, firmly but gently, perpendicular to her spine, so it will prevent her from being able to sneak through the fence. Looks silly, but it's safe. — Maria in Arizona


Sparkling Windows

Dear Readers: Let's make those windows sparkle using one of my favorite go-to cleaners, vinegar! Add 1 cup white vinegar to 1/2 gallon of water. To apply to windows, put the solution in a labeled spray bottle. Spray liberally, and dry with paper towels or crumbled newspaper. It also works great for mirrors. — Heloise


King Features Syndicate

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