Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to
Q This time of the year we see so many orange monarch butterflies flying through my neighborhood. I have planted all sorts of flowers and shrubs in my yard to attract butterflies -- but these monarchs never stay. What can I do to encourage them to hang out in my yard? --Jennifer Timberlake, Long Beach
A Monarchs live in a state of constant migration when they are not dormant in their winter habitat of Mexico. In the spring, they travel north, laying their eggs and then dying along the way. In the fall, they travel south, doing the same thing. They never stay long in one place.
They lay eggs only on the milkweed plant, as this is the only food their caterpillars can eat. So if you really want to help, plant milkweed in one area of your butterfly garden. By having a stock of these plants in your yard all summer long, any passing monarchs will visit them to lay their eggs upon the leaves. The caterpillars are yellow, black and white striped and are among the most attractive in the world. It is fascinating to watch them grow in your yard, then pupate into adult butterflies.
Q We got a guinea pig for our daughter three weeks ago. We are going out of town for a wedding next weekend and we do not know what to do with the guinea pig. We board our dog at the vet, but the vet does not board small animals. We will be leaving Friday night and coming back Sunday night. Could the guinea pig stay alone for that amount of time? --James Young, Garden City
A A guinea pig can do fine left alone from Friday night to Sunday night as long as the environmental conditions are constant. In other words, your heating or air- conditioning system needs to be running so the house is the correct temperature for the animal's comfort. Give the cage a good cleaning and attach three water bottles -- in case one drips out or gets clogged. Put in a big handful of hay and two large dishes of food, and all should be OK.
Remember, though, that this is OK for only 48 hours. For longer periods, use another option.
Many pet stores will board guinea pigs and other small animals.
Perhaps one of your daughter's friends may want to care for it. When I was a kid, all of us kids took care of each other's pets when we went on holiday, but such cooperation is no longer that common.
If there are professional pet sitters in your area, that is a good resource. A pet sitter could care for your dog and the guinea pig, as well.
Q This may seem like a silly question, but my Labrador puppy is 5 months old now and I noticed that he just lost one of his baby teeth. Do I need to be concerned about anything? When I was a kid, we had a Yorkie that did not lose some of her baby teeth and the vet had to pull them out after she grew up. I just wanted to be sure we did not have to go through something like this with my current dog. --Robert Lin, Northport
A All dog breeds have the same number of teeth -- but some breeds have larger mouths than others. Those with smaller mouths tend to have their teeth crowded together and thus some of the baby teeth do not get to fall out. This is why the vet needed to remove them.
A Lab has a big mouth with a long jaw and rarely has any issues like this. Just be sure to examine the dog's mouth regularly and brush his or her teeth as often as you can. Proper oral care is one of the most important aspects of animal husbandry that we can do to ensure that pets have long and uneventful lives.