Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

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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My Bubby and St. Francis

Yesterday, October 4, was celebrated as the Feast Day of St. Francis. If my Bubby were still alive, she’d likely now turn away from the steaming pots on her stove and utter a loud Vat? St. Francis of Assisi is, of course, the patron saint of animals. My Bubby is my...

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Political Animal

Get the red, white and blue bunting ready because Wednesday is National Dogs In Politics Day. Why this date? On September 23, 1952, California Senator and then Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon gave his “Checkers Speech.” Back then, long before...

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I Didn’t Know That

Last week’s topic was remarkable things about animals you might normally consider unremarkable; pigeons as potential surgeons, snails asleep for years, that sort of thing. That left me wondering if there’s stuff we don’t know about dogs and cats. Did you know some...

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All Creatures

About a month ago, I sent in that coming week’s column to Jon Mays, editor-in-chief of The San Mateo Daily Journal. “Hummingbirds are pretty amazing,” was Jon’s reply. He’s right, of course, and what makes them amazing is why I’d written two columns about these tiny...

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Feral? Likely Not!

Last week’s column included a list of animals my wife and I’ve lived with who started out with severe behavioral challenges, including cats rescued from traps (my sweet, sweet Lily) and dumpsters (Sniff, who loved Carolyn but absolutely loathed me). I noted that some...

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Well Trained Human

Readers may recall the world’s most perfect pup (my column, my rules) came into my life a couple years ago. We were ready, time and illness having taken our wonderful dogs and cats from us, but Lola was frankly not who we had set out to find. We imagined an older dog,...

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Black Cats

I hope you can forgive my not acknowledging last Monday, August 10, as National Spoil Your Dog Day. My excuse, hopefully acceptable, is that my dog Lola, the world’s most perfect pup (my column, my rules) believes every day is National Spoil Your Dog Day, taking the...

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Cock-A-Doodle-Sued

Clearly, not everyone will miss Maurice. The most famous rooster in France if not the entire world (probably not much competition, after all) has died. As noted in the recent New York Times piece: “The crowing coq from Oleron, a small island off France’s western...

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Neolithic Dog Breeders

Here’s a question for those folks who get to put Latin-sounding genus and species names on animals. Why is that two almost identical little brown birds, identical other than one has a beige dot on the wingtip while the other does not, why is that those are considered...

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When Our Pets Die

There’s nothing simple about the death of a loved pet: when to let go, how to even approach making that decision, how to grieve, how to talk about our grief. Another and potentially quite touchy piece of that awful puzzle is the question of animals’ “soul” and place...

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Hummingbirds, the Real Deal

A few weeks ago we explored hummingbirds in various indigenous peoples’ religions. This week we take an equally remarkable look at these birds as, well, actual physical birds. Great timing, since Peninsula Humane Society is not only our community’s safe place for...

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The Flea’s Eyebrows

Not only do we care for amazing animals here at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, but our staff and volunteers are also a wonderful and rather interesting group of human beings. Just the other day, a millennial co-worker surprised me with an expression I would...

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Miss Behavin’

Introducing a kitten to a dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: We have an exuberant eight month old puppy and are considering bringing home a kitten. What are some tips on choosing our kitten and introducing it to the dog? It’s a good idea to start this process while both the kitten and puppy are young! Even...

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Helping puppy to slow down when eating

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our new puppy, Theo, is so much fun and a voracious eater! Recently, he ate his meal so quickly, it came right back up. What can we do to help him slow down? New puppies are always full of fun surprises! A hearty appetite is a good thing, but will...

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Positive muzzle training

Dear Miss Behavin’: We were told by our vet at our dogs last visit that he was very nervous and they needed to muzzle him. Is there anything we can do so that his future visits are not so stressful for him? What a great question and yes there are a few things you can...

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Getting cat used to the carrier

Dear Miss Behavin’: My cat absolutely hates his carrier. Trying to get him inside is a struggle and I’m worried in an emergency I won’t be able to get him inside quickly. What can I do to help him get used to his carrier and let him know it’s a safe spot?  The first...

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Leash manners

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our dog gets very excited when we go to take him for a walk. He is jumpy and pulling on the leash before we get out the front door and this way for a good portion of the walk, making the walk unpleasant. Is there something we can do so that we...

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Budgie needs

Dear Miss Behavin’: I really want to get a bird, specifically a budgie. I have done a little research but I’m not sure if I’m ready for a pet bird. What do budgies need to feel comfortable? Birds can be great pets and companions, but they do require a lot of care....

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Teaching puppy to not jump on people

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our puppy has been allowed to say hi to the family by jumping up on us. We are now realizing that he will be bigger than what we thought and that he could hurt someone, how do we correct the behavior? Great job on realizing the potential problem...

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Adding a second dog to the family

Dear Miss Behavin’: We’ve long been thinking about getting a second dog as a playmate for our young shepherd mix, Donny, and figure now is as good a time as any! Any tips on making sure they are compatible? Though it seems obvious, a good starting point is determining...

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Rabbit Enrichment

Dear Miss Behavin’: I recently adopted a rabbit and as a first time rabbit owner I still have a lot to learn. What are some things that I can offer my rabbit to make sure she doesn’t get bored? Sometimes she chews on my furniture and I’m worried I’m not offering her...

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