Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

Do Sheep Count Sheep?

Humans 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 organic fabric blackout shades. How to de-funk your CPAC...

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Big Boned Beasts

I prefer terms like big boned, Rubenesque, or zaftig, but a recent New York Times article was far more direct: “Humans are not the only residents of the United States who are getting fatter every year. So, unsurprisingly, are our furry friends – the dogs and cats that...

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Nervous Nellies

Last week’s topic, ailurophobia (fear of cats), led to several conversations which helped me realize what a bunch of nervous nellies we are. Seriously! I know 3 victims of lepidterophobia (fear of butterflies) although one may actually be the closely related...

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Fear of Cats

Not that there’s any need to embellish my neurotic bona fides but I was raised by an ailurophobic. Ailurophobia, the irrational and persistent fear of cats. While never diagnosed, my mom (not an animal person, period) demonstrated all the signs. Less common than fear...

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Puppy Love

My column my rules, here’s another update on life with Lola, the world’s most adorable puppy. Six months old and just topping 8 pounds, I admit that I am smitten. Because of our family’s schedules, I get to put Lola to bed at night and am also the one with whom she...

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Spring

Most people love Spring, now just two days away. The staff and volunteers of Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA have mixed feelings. Sure, warming weather and blooming flowers tickle our fancy too, but we also know the season’s real challenges. An “open door”...

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Lucky

“It takes a village”, sadly now something of a cliché, simply means the combined resources, talents and commitment of a group is often necessary to make things better. Things as big and overwhelming as the biggest and most overwhelming challenge imaginable. Things as...

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Getting a Leg Up

Although I didn’t see it coming I suppose it was inevitable that last week’s rather dire column about the loss of trees would lead to questions about male dogs lifting their legs. Because, of course, they often lift their legs on trees. So while I find the segue more...

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Trees Please

I know many will disagree but a new report in “Urban Forestry and Urban Greening” is among the most frightening things I’ve come upon. The article documents research conducted by the United States Forest Service (USFS), reviewing and comparing aerial photographs of...

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World Without Bugs

I’ve used this bully pulpit before to inform (and rage) about the terrifying worldwide decline in insect population. A new report published in the journal Biological Conservation is catching more of the general media’s attention (and, hopefully, therefore more of the...

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The Amazon, Part 2

Last week focused on injured and orphaned wildlife in rehab centers visited along the Amazon. Today, it’s who we saw in the wild and OMG we saw so much! Perhaps I’ve seen such abundance of animals elsewhere, perhaps, but not the conspicuous diversity. Imagine sitting...

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Living With Animals: The Amazon, part 1

The Amazon River holds more water than the next 7 largest rivers of the world combined. It courses 4,000+ miles from headwaters high in the Andes north and then east across 4 countries to feed the Atlantic with enough water every single day to satisfy New York City’s...

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Cost of Caring for a Pet Part Two

To garble the bard, “To pet or not to pet?” Last week we considered the finances of pet care. Yes, economics should be considered when contemplating living with an animal and, sure, not everyone should be responsible for another life. That said, there is some pretty...

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Cost of Caring for a Pet

I had a call from some money magazine reporter (you know, best car under $25,000., pay off your mortgage in 15 years, etc.) asking about the cost of caring for a pet. Not a completely dumb question but pretty darn close, since the variables are so extreme and so...

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Life With Lola

Another update on life with the Official World’s Cutest Puppy (my column, my rules). Now topping 4 months and 5 pounds, little Lola exhibits every reason why people should and should not have puppies: they are adorable, exasperating, sweet, and a whole lot of work....

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Miss Behavin’

High value treats

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’m working on my dog’s reactivity on walks and someone mentioned using “high value treats.” What are they and how can I utilize them? Let’s say you have a bad habit of rushing out the door in the mornings. You find yourself flustered and most days...

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Bringing home a new cat

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’m planning on adopting a cat from a possible hoarding situation but I’m not sure if the cat has been spayed or vaccinated. It also doesn’t always use the litterbox. Can you help? Once you’re ready to bring home your new cat, consider setting up a...

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Helping dog overcome fear of men

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our new family member, Bosco, is scared of my husband and will bark and run from him. He’s a young dog, so we’d like to help him learn to trust and be comfortable with my husband and men in general. Any tips? Although it might be difficult to...

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Introducing dog to neighborhood kids

Dear Miss Behavin’: I just moved to a new neighborhood where there are lots of families. My dog Poppy is really sweet with people but isn’t so sure about all of the little kids. They of course want to pet and play with her but she is hesitant. How can I help her warm...

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Training beyond the basics

Dear Miss Behavin': My dog, Smith, learned his basic obedience commands much faster than expected! What are some other things I can teach him now that we’ve got the basics down? After mastering the basics, teaching tricks is a great way to continue building Smith’s...

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