Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

Farm Animal Confinement Initiative

I wrote about Prop 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative, once it earned enough signatures to appear on the November ballot. With the election approaching, this merits a second visit. Proposed animal-related legislation always raises hackles, but this time it’s...

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Rabies

We are such a cranky species! Last week’s column about bats (October is Bat Appreciation Month) led to an anonymous voicemail message complaining that I had ignored the topic of rabies. Really? Do you send nasty-grams to Wine Spectator magazine when they don’t cover...

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Bats

We have seen Batmen from Adam West to Ben Affleck, and one common thread that oddly ties them all together is that none of the TV shows, films, the comic books or graphic novels has much to say about bats. How batty is that? Since today is October 1, the first day of...

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Worth Repeating

PHS/SPCA volunteer Lynette B. just sent me her two favorite animal-related quotes, and they are worth sharing. From Anatole France, "Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened." From St. Francis of Assisi, "Not to hurt our humble brethren...

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Drain the Swamp?

Terrifying, horrifying, paralyzing, frustrating, even entertaining: no matter which side of the political street you call home, this is a unique moment in our nation. However, while my beat is the animals rather than politics (and I do thank the heavens for that!),...

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Touch

Hearing, vision, smell, taste, touch: When we talk about our pets’ senses, we usually focus on the first four, assuming they are superior to our own, but how valid is that? According to the literature, cats and dogs need to be up close to see clearly what we see from...

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Celebrate National Iguana Day

Labor Day may mean you get a day off but the big news is that this Friday is National Iguana Awareness Day and it’s time to party! Ok, maybe you’re not such an iguana fan that you plan on a whole day of celebration, but certainly you can spare the 3 minutes it will...

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Pet Health Insurance

Seems like every month I get asked about pet health insurance: Do I recommend a particular plan? Do I have insurance for my own animals? Will I offer one plan or another through PHS/SPCA? The answer to all three questions is “no.” Opinions certainly vary even among...

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Compassionate, Difficult Decision

Someone just asked me for an old column to help a friend think through the extraordinarily difficult decision of euthanizing a beloved pet who is beginning to show signs of suffering from illness. It’s an odd feeling to be considered a resource on this topic but it’s...

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Living With Animals: Preparing for the Worst

All experts say that Bay Area residents should have a stash of supplies adequate to live completely self-sufficiently (no stores, no power, no nothing) for three days in the case of a major earthquake. Useful, of course, also in case of fire or other disaster, this...

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Living With Animals: Happy Anniversary

A month away from my 40th anniversary of working with animals, I spoke to a group of eager young people considering their careers when one of them surprised me: “You talk about meaningful, at times extremely difficult, always rewarding work with hundreds of thousands...

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Frida

We first met Frida, a dog at the very heart of my family for the last 15 years, when she was part of the reason for the watermelon-sized belly on the bedraggled, ready-to-burst pregnant beagle, a stray rescued by PHS/SPCA. Once it became clear that the pregnancy was...

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Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

Yeah, sure, you might think the big holiday was a couple of weeks ago but you would be wrong. The 4th of July has its upsides. A long weekend most often celebrated with excessive food and beer, and who doesn’t love that? But today is July 16th and we all know that is...

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A Very Different World

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that North America was once home to lions, zebra, and other megafauna (mega as in big, fauna as in animals) which led to questions from apparently doubting readers. Come on folks: there were a lot of years after dinosaurs but before the...

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July 4th Hellish for the Pets

The 4th of July is not my favorite. It’s not anything political, but rather the obnoxious, drunken human behavior that somehow got linked with the holiday. So while your neighbor gets his illegal fireworks ready, it’s time for you and me to talk pets. First, the only...

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Miss Behavin’

Overcoming fear of the harness

Dear Miss Behavin’: Last week my husband accidentally pinched our dog Pip when buckling his harness to go out for a walk. Now poor Pip runs away each time we pull out the harness! How do we help him overcome his newfound fear? First of all, let’s talk prevention. When...

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Dealing with potty accidents

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our two year old Dalmatian mix, Freya, recently had a few potty accidents in the house. We think it happened at night and while we were gone during the day. I know we aren’t supposed to smear her face in it, but what other tips are there for a...

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Calming a dog on edge during walks

Dear Miss Behavin’: My dog, Rocket, used to love going for walks, but recently got spooked by a noisy garbage truck and now seems on edge every time we go out. How do we tire him out without stressing him out? The last part of your question is key— avoid stressing him...

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