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

Helping cat adjust to new dog

Dear Critter Corner: I just brought home a new dog, Moe, and while he is pretty easy going, he is a little too interested in my cat. My cat is curious of Moe but does run away when she gets spooked. What can I do to help my cat stay comfortable while Moe learns the...

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First time pet owner

Dear Critter Corner: My 13 year-old daughter has been begging me for a pet of her own, my family and I have never owned a pet before, but my partner and I grew up with cats and dogs. What type of animal do you recommend for a first-time pet owner? There is no one...

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Improving puppy’s manners

Dear Critter Corner: Our puppy has recently started to jump up on the counter tops and tables to steal items from them.  What can we do to stop the behavior? Almost every dog owner has encountered this challenge when their pup has learned they are tall enough to reach...

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Myth of Lockjaw

Dear Miss Behavin’: I love how cute Pit Bulls look, and I’ve been considering adopting one, but I am very scared about their “Lockjaw.”  Should I adopt a different breed? The American Pit Bull Terrier is a very loving, athletic, and affectionate breed of dog....

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Dear Miss Behavin’: We have a newly adopted puppy and are struggling with potty training him. Do you have any suggestions you could give to help us with the process? Congratulations on your new pup! As with any new pup into our home, we need to give them guidance on...

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High energy dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: We have a young pointer mix who is super energetic. He gets at least an hour long walk daily but it never seems to be enough- he is constantly bouncing off the walls! What else can we do to manage his excitement? A young excitable dog like yours,...

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Strengthening bond with dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: I love my new dog, but she loves my partner more than me! She follows them around the house and doesn’t seem nearly as interested in me. How can I get my dog to become more focused on me? The key to strengthening your bond with your new dog is to...

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Shy Dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: We have a newly adopted dog that is on the shy side and is not wanting to go out of the house.  What can we do to help him build his confidence and get him comfortable with leaving the house? Congratulations on your new guy!  All dogs coming into a...

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Dog reactive dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: I have a large dog, Nancy, who is reactive to other dogs. Recently, an off-leash dog ran up to us on our walk and started a scuffle. Nancy was on leash, but we couldn’t escape the other dog. Do you have any tips for avoiding conflict like this in...

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