Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

Holiday Spending

According to the pet industry trade group, the American Pet Products Association, last year we spent a total of $69.51 billion on the dogs, cats, parakeets, guppies, rabbits, iguanas and other companion animals with whom we share our homes. That’s an all-in number,...

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Animals Grieve

The CNN report back a few months ago said it well: “It was a journey of love, driven by a mother’s loss, stretching across a thousand miles of ocean as the world watched and wondered. An apparently grieving female orca whale who swam with the body of her dead calf for...

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News from the Front Lines

A few weeks back I introduced readers to Lola, the newest addition to my family. So news from the front lines of life with puppy, here’s the first of what I imagine will be an occasional series of updates. As someone who prefers when friends have swimming pools, small...

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Giving the Bird

What we eat is based on many factors. Economics. Availability. Health. Culture. Personal taste. Ethics. Those factors lead to lots of labels. Omnivore. Carnivore. Vegetarian. Pescatarian (vegetarian diet plus fish and seafood). Vegan. Fruitarian (yes, that’s a real...

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The Name Game

I recently spent a few days labeled uncaring and ill-informed because of a dog’s name. (I get yelled at for all sorts of things.) The name in question? Snickers. The critic asserted, rather forcefully, that the name would encourage children to poison dogs. Confused?...

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Inevitable

Inevitable. When you spend your day at an animal shelter, falling in love is inevitable. Frequently, in fact. As one result, I often live with more animals than most people would think reasonable. Also inevitable, everyone dies, and not living long enough is one of...

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Oh the horror!

Kids in costume on sugar highs ringing doorbells demanding candy: What could possibly go wrong? I don’t want to be a total buzzkill but Halloween is not the animals’ favorite day. Most pets thrive knowing the world is predictable; holidays, especially Halloween, shake...

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Alec Bald-Wing?

As you probably imagine, most animals come to us nameless. Most in fact come to us not only nameless but without any history at all other than what we can determine based on their physical and emotional health. However, when it comes to our animals, despite the fact...

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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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Miss Behavin’

Teaching dog social etiquette

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’d love to bring my dog with me to get a coffee downtown, but her excitement usually gets the best of her and she ends up causing a scene. She’s sweet with people and friendly toward other dogs, but how can I teach her some social etiquette?...

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Advice on cat scratching herself

Usually an easy way to check for fleas is to comb through your cat’s fur using a flea comb. The smaller bristles of the comb help to trap the fleas, their eggs, and the flea dirt. You may end up seeing a flea on the comb initially or you may find flea dirt instead....

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Litterbox issues

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’ve been having various issues with my two cats, from litterbox problems to kitty scuffles every so often. I’ve searched online for help, and am overwhelmed by the number of resources and advice available. How do I sort through all of it? Many a...

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Dog chewing on leash

Dear Miss Behavin’: My dog Sparky has picked up a new habit of chewing on the leash at the beginning of our walks. He tends to settle after some time, but I worry he’ll chew through his leash and get loose. How can we avoid this entirely? If Sparky is only chomping on...

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