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

Are bones safe for my dog?

Dear Critter Corner: My family recently just got a new pup in time for the holidays and we are very excited! Is it okay to give my dog a turkey drumstick? What kind of bones are okay for dogs to chew? Dogs and bones are a timeless pairing and chewing on them can be...

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Preparing excited dog for guests

Dear Critter Corner: We will be having guests over for the holidays and they are bringing their new pup with them.  Do you have any suggestions for introducing our pup to our guests’ pup?   There are a few things you can do to help make the introduction and visit...

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Best dog breeds for apartment living

Dear Critter Corner: I am looking to get a dog but live in a crowded apartment complex and have heard to stay away from large dogs. Do you have any recommendations on what breed of dog to adopt? There are many decisions to consider when adopting a dog and renting a...

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Keeping dog away from kitchen counters

Dear Critter Corner: Our pup recently discovered that he is tall enough to reach the counter and unfortunately has been rewarded a few times by stealing food.  I am concerned with the holidays around the corner and the food that will be out when guests are around. ...

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Dog’s first Halloween

Dear Critter Corner: This will be our pup’s first Halloween; do you have any suggestions on how to help prepare so that we have a safe and stress-free Halloween? There are several things we can look at to make sure the night goes well for all involved.  Here are a few...

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Black cats are good luck

Dear Critter Corner: I have adopted a couple of black kittens that are adorable, but some of my friends sincerely think they are going to bring me bad luck. They have brought me nothing but happiness. Why are people suspicious of black cats? When it comes to black...

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Improving dog’s recall

Dear Critter Corner:  I have been having a hard time getting my pup to come to me when I call him.  Are there any tips you can offer to help me teach him come to me when I call him? There are several ways to set our pups up for a successful recall.  Here are a few...

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Dog constantly chewing on things

Dear Critter Corner: My partner and I just adopted a new puppy, and she has been great, with one exception. When we leave her alone, she constantly chews on things she’s not supposed to and has cost us a lot of money in damages. We love her, but we are frustrated with...

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Demanding dog

Dear Critter Corner: We have noticed that our pup is starting to become very demanding and barking at us to initiate a game of ball or to get our attention.  We have also noticed that he is starting to whine during our meal times and is more underfoot.  We are not...

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