DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife and I have squirrels in our attic. We are conflicted on how to deal with them. I am OK with an exterminator coming in and dealing with the squirrels however he pleases. My wife thinks the squirrels are seasonal and will leave on their own account. I do not know what diseases these squirrels carry, and I think that these intruders need to be trapped and removed. However, my wife thinks this will traumatize the squirrels because most of them hibernate for the winter. I don't have this level of sympathy for the animals and think they need to leave. My wife may be an animal lover, but hearing footsteps from the attic freaks me out. Should I respect her wishes for the squirrels or call someone to get them out now? -- Squirreling Away, Easthampton, New York
DEAR SQUIRRELING AWAY: I strongly recommend that you talk to an exterminator, if only to find out options. A friend of mine recently had raccoons in his roof. Not only was the sound annoying, but in pretty rapid time, the raccoons dug holes into the roof. You and your wife need to think about preserving your property first. There may be a way to lure the animals out of your attic without killing them. Talk to the professionals to see. But compromising your roof and attic should not be the price of your compassion for the animals. Your house is not their house.
(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)