Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

The Original Tesla

At times it seems that we are a species possessed of apparently tiny memory as well as very little interest in the past. Here’s a case in point. Say the word “Tesla”, especially here in the Bay Area, and you’ll soon find yourself in a conversation about innovation and...

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Living With Animals: Fish Tales

Following last week’s story of my first pet, Spot, did you know that fish are the most popular pets in America? 14.5 million households have tanks containing 160 million finny friends. The highly profitable aquarium industry ($300 million/year) creates much animal...

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Living With Animals: Spot

Outside of work, I’ve lived with literally hundreds of animals, but all of that since leaving home at age 16. I spent childhood begging, unsuccessfully, for a pet. Rather than a pet-less childhood, however, it’s more accurate to say there were no pet-able pets. There...

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What’s In a Name

Our little Lola, the world’s best dog (my column, my rules) never meets anyone who is not her instant best friend, and most of those best friends burst into a spontaneous “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…” upon learning her name. And that, in turn, quite frequently...

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The First Dog

Love or hate him, among those traits which make Donald Trump unique is that he is the first president in a century to live without a dog in the White House. This realization made me turn to the “dog quotient” of those now attempting to take Mr. Trump’s place in...

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Summertime Blues

Summer has just begun but weather doesn’t pay close attention to the calendar, especially not here in the Bay Area. Let’s talk hot weather and pets! Prior to coming to PHS/SPCA I spent 7 years at Arizona Humane Society, so when I hear people complain about the heat I...

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Why Dogs Circle

For months now, our little Lola (the world’s most adorable puppy) (my column, my rules) has been entertaining us with super-excited mad dashes around furniture, racing from room to backyard to room, wearing a big ear-to-ear grin as she banks the turns, typically...

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4th of July

Admitting my dislike of this coming weekend’s holiday is not a political statement. Nope. It is entirely a pro-animal statement based on the obvious fact that this is going to be a lousy weekend for animals in America. Sure, I’m a child of the 1960s: I don’t think of...

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Bumping and Blinking

Whenever I write about dogs, someone accuses me of dismissing cats. Whenever I write about cats, I get accused of ignoring dogs. Folks, it’s hard to cover both animals in 350 words, much less the rest of the species we care about. But to appease the critics, let’s...

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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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Miss Behavin’

Keeping dog mentally stimulated

Daily News Columnist Dear Miss Behavin’: Our family dog is reaching her teen years and it seems like her body is tiring out faster than her adventurous heart. She gets fatigued quickly on our outings, but then seems bored once we’re back home. What can we do to keep...

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Teaching dog to not jump on people

Dear Miss Behavin’: How do I stop my dog from jumping on people when we are out walking?  He knows not to jump on us at home, so I don’t know why he jumps on people when we are out walking. This is a very common problem for a lot of dogs.  The most common reason is...

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Helping newly adopted dog adjust

Dear Miss Behavin’: I adopted my new dog Hank from the shelter this weekend and I’m so happy! The only problem is, he doesn’t seem to be settling into very quickly. How can I help him be more comfortable with us? Congratulations on the new family member! Try not to...

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Does my dog want a dog friend?

Dear Miss Behavin’: We are out of the house often, and thought it would be nice to get a doggie friend for our Poodle, Terry, to keep him company. How do we go about finding him the right pal? While it may seem obvious, a good place to start is to consider whether or...

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Overstimulated Cat

Dear Miss Behavin’: My cat Felix has been biting and scratching me a lot lately, and I think it’s from overstimulation. Would getting a second cat help?  Although getting a second cat might seem like a good way for Felix to have a playmate, it can also make things...

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