Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

It’s My Time

I may not look it (ha!) but I just celebrated my 469th birthday (ok, in dog years) and, speaking plainly, it’s my time to retire. I am that lucky person who looks back on a career with joy and satisfaction, and writing this column has been part of that. But this is my...

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Two Points, One Conclusion

Unexpected Point 1:  Ancient, often beautiful animal images are found etched into (petroglyphs) and painted on (pictographs) rock surfaces world-wide. When travel was possible (remember?), I journeyed to see examples from Arizona to Australia, the U.S. and the Land...

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New Year’s Resolution

One sometimes hears a comment along the lines of “be the kind of person your pet thinks you are” as an appeal for the best of human behavior. I like the thought. Considering the work I do, it’s no surprise that I’ve seen far too many examples of human disregard,...

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Oh What a Year

News flash: 2020 sucked. But as with most sucky things, we should search for the lessons perhaps available. That moves me to the best dog on the planet (my column, my rules), our little Lola.  There is much to learn from our pets by watching how they handle what life...

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Holiday Wish

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house All the creatures were stirring, including the mouse And the dogs, the bunnies, the turtles and cats Awaiting the Big Guy (you know: white beard and a sack) They nibbled the cookies, set out with great care...

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Winterizing

I’m among those who loves to travel, both near and quite far, but frankly does not understand why anyone who doesn’t expressly have to travel is willing much less wanting to do so right now. I want to travel again, someday, and am committed to doing what I can so that...

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-est

We love to talk about the -ests. You know, the sexiest man alive, wealthiest billionaire, oldest person on Earth, youngest to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Makes sense, since 99.9% of us will never be the -est we are fascinated by those few who are. Our fascination extends...

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It’s A Croc

Comments like “the world has gone mad” are as common today as “hello.” Sadly, I am afraid this column shares that sentiment, although not in reference to the usual topics. (This is the animal column, after all.) A reader recently brought to my attention an on-line ad...

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That’s Some Rat!

A few weeks ago, writing about the world’s most perfect dog (my column, my rules) I joked that we perhaps could have asked more of our Lola; that we could have trained our 8½-pound pup to sniff out firecracker- size bombs or assist in the search and rescue of hamsters...

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ZZZZ

A reader recently asked about animals and sleep. We human animals spend a lot of time talking about sleep -- or, more accurately, talking about how poorly we sleep. How many hours you got (or didn’t) last night. The latest thing in herbal-infused sleep masks and...

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Animal Empathy

Continuing with last week’s topic, let’s talk about animals’ ability to demonstrate empathy. Better yet, since we only see and understand a small part of this big world, the topic is more accurately our ability to recognize when nonhuman animals demonstrate empathy....

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Empathy as Deep as the Ocean

Reported in the current issue of the Journal of Ocean Knowledge and Experience, a newly discovered species of cephalopod (squid, octopus, cuttlefish) wordlessly demonstrates the ability to feel and express empathy for the human scientists conducting the research. The...

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Halloween

Considering all we’ve experienced in 2020, what sounds more appealing: (a) putting on a mask; (b) knocking on strangers’ doors; or (c) eating even more junk food? I vote (d) none of the above, but from the perch of someone who works for the animals, honestly,...

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Strangers in the Time of Covid

If you’re a regular reader here, it probably wouldn’t surprise you if this turned out to be another column about Lola, the world’s most perfect dog (my column, my rules). But it’s not. Sure, she plays a starring role (only appropriate for such a perfect animal,...

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Dog Whistles – and virtual gala mention

Having spent decades working with animals, I find it surprising that I’ve heard the words “dog whistle” more these past few months than in all prior years combined. Of course, these are two very different types of dog whistles. In today’s politics, “dog whistle” means...

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Critter Corner

Loose leash training

Dear Critter Corner: We are having a hard time teaching our pup to walk on a loose leash.  He gets walks daily and we have been working on loose leash training, but he still pulls a good portion of the walk which is no fun.  What are some tips you can give us?...

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Does your cat need a cat companion?

Dear Critter Corner: My family and I have a wonderful 3-year-old cat who we love dearly and is very attached to us. We need to start going back to the office and we are worried she will be bored all day. Would it be a good idea to get her another cat as a companion?...

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Helping dog adjust to new work schedule

Dear Critter Corner: I have been working from home and have not left my puppy alone for more than an hour or two since I got him last March.  I am worried about how he will be when I go back to work in a couple of months.  What can I do to make sure he will be okay?...

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Animals and small children

Dear Critter Corner: Why do so many animals have trouble being around small children?  There are several reasons why young children and animals tend to be a volatile combination. One reason is that young children tend to get excited very quickly and have a wild energy...

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Improving dog’s recall

Dear Critter Corner: With the nice weather here, we want to take our pup to off leash hiking areas but his recall is not that great.  How can we teach him to come when called and for us to trust him? This is a very common problem for many people.  There are a few...

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Energetic large breed dogs

Dear Critter Corner: I love large breed dogs, but I work full-time and do not have the time to run a dog five hours a day. I am all for weekend adventures with a four-legged friend, but is there anything I can do to quickly tire a dog during the week? This is a common...

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Harness resistance

Dear Critter Corner: Our puppy loves to go out for his walks and any other adventure, but he is very resistant to having his harness or collar put on.  He will avoid us or even try to bite.  Is there anything we can do to change this?  For many dogs this is a common...

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