Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

Licking

My dad, a man of many “unique” theories, would on occasion tell me that the reason dogs lick is because they need salt. This announcement, as I recall, always came out of the blue, relevant to nothing, and ignored the fact that we did not have a dog. Since you’re not...

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Unexpected

Last column noted 9,400,000 reptiles are pets in U.S. households. Here are some other unexpected numbers. The most popular pet? Fish! Close to 160 million individual finny friends swim in 14.5 million homes, and the aquarium industry is worth $300 million per year....

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Snakes on the Brain

To avoid being accused of speciesism, let’s follow last two weeks’ “why dogs dig” and “are cats social?” columns with one about our legless friends. Why would anyone want to live with snakes?, a question I get asked with surprising frequency, often by adolescent boys’...

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Are Cats Social?

In the common clichés, dogs are fawning creatures needing constant social interaction while cats are independent and aloof. The most generous thing one can say about both characterizations is that they are gross generalizations not supported when one observes many...

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Why Dogs Dig

Why do dogs dig? Great question but we can’t go to the source: the dogs aren’t talking. On the other hand, our species won’t stop talking, which means we’re left with many self-proclaimed experts’ theories. One popular theory, dogs lacking certain key minerals in...

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Poisonous Plants

From Sheila C.: “I received, as a present, an Amaryllis.  As an indoor cat owner, I always check on plants and I was pretty sure I was right.  Yes, there it was, number 3 on my list of poisonous plants to cats.” While eating or even just chewing on any plant may...

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S-E-X

Two weeks ago, our topic was eating too much. Last week, we covered the all-time sleep champions of the animal world. You should have seen this coming because after gluttony and sloth it’s only logical that this week we talk about sex. Weird animal sex. No worries,...

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Do Sheep Count Sheep?

Humans 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 organic fabric blackout shades. How to de-funk your CPAC...

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Big Boned Beasts

I prefer terms like big boned, Rubenesque, or zaftig, but a recent New York Times article was far more direct: “Humans are not the only residents of the United States who are getting fatter every year. So, unsurprisingly, are our furry friends – the dogs and cats that...

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Nervous Nellies

Last week’s topic, ailurophobia (fear of cats), led to several conversations which helped me realize what a bunch of nervous nellies we are. Seriously! I know 3 victims of lepidterophobia (fear of butterflies) although one may actually be the closely related...

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Fear of Cats

Not that there’s any need to embellish my neurotic bona fides but I was raised by an ailurophobic. Ailurophobia, the irrational and persistent fear of cats. While never diagnosed, my mom (not an animal person, period) demonstrated all the signs. Less common than fear...

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Puppy Love

My column my rules, here’s another update on life with Lola, the world’s most adorable puppy. Six months old and just topping 8 pounds, I admit that I am smitten. Because of our family’s schedules, I get to put Lola to bed at night and am also the one with whom she...

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Spring

Most people love Spring, now just two days away. The staff and volunteers of Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA have mixed feelings. Sure, warming weather and blooming flowers tickle our fancy too, but we also know the season’s real challenges. An “open door”...

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Lucky

“It takes a village”, sadly now something of a cliché, simply means the combined resources, talents and commitment of a group is often necessary to make things better. Things as big and overwhelming as the biggest and most overwhelming challenge imaginable. Things as...

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Getting a Leg Up

Although I didn’t see it coming I suppose it was inevitable that last week’s rather dire column about the loss of trees would lead to questions about male dogs lifting their legs. Because, of course, they often lift their legs on trees. So while I find the segue more...

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Miss Behavin’

Training your dog to not eat so fast

Dear Miss Behavin’: We got a sweet new puppy, Flower, last week who has quite the appetite. A few times, she’s eaten her meals so quickly that they come right back up! How do we slow her down? First of all, congratulations on your new puppy! It’s good that she has a...

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High value treats

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’m working on my dog’s reactivity on walks and someone mentioned using “high value treats.” What are they and how can I utilize them? Let’s say you have a bad habit of rushing out the door in the mornings. You find yourself flustered and most days...

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