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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Miss Behavin’

Indoor games and exercise for your dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: With colder weather upon us, I am looking for ways to keep my pup busy on the days we can’t exercise him as much as we normally do. Do you have any suggestions on great indoor games or types of exercise? This is a great question and many owners...

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Setting boundaries with dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our older dog, Josie, was recently injured and had to get stitches. Our younger dog, Jimmy, is very rambunctious and keeps pestering Josie has she rests. We want to keep the peace but don’t want to banish Jimmy to the back yard. Any tips to help us...

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Kitten pouncing and biting

Dear Miss Behavin’: My new kitten always pounces at me and bites at my hands and feet. I’ve tried to ignore him when he does it, but it’s not working. How can I get him to stop? Your kitten might be telling you that he is bored! Play with him more often and let him...

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Dog-proofing your home

Dear Miss Behavin’: Last week we adopted a dog as an early Christmas present for the kids. We had a great week together, but decided to leave Hanky home on Christmas day when we went to visit the grandparents. We came home to find that he had gotten into the trash,...

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Cat proofing Christmas Tree

Dear Miss Behavin’: I recently adopted a new cat, and this will be his first Christmas. I would like to put up a Christmas tree but I’m not sure if he’ll just want to climb it and attack all the ornaments! How can I cat-proof my Christmas tree? Cats are curious...

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Holiday gift ideas for dogs

Dear Miss Behavin’: We are looking for some suggestions on types of toys to get for our pup this holiday. There is such a large variety and price range, I am not sure what is the best choice. Can you help? Of course, what a lucky pup! There is quite the variety out...

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Indoor or outdoor cat?

Dear Miss Behavin’: I would like to adopt a cat soon and I’ve heard different opinions on whether to keep my cat inside or let them be indoor/outdoor. Won’t they get bored being inside all day? Good question! For the safety of your cat and for other animals outdoors,...

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Dog’s first Thanksgiving

Dear Miss Behavin’: We will be having close family over this year for the Thanksgiving holiday.  This will be our pups first family gathering, what are some things we can do to ensure that the gathering goes well and he is on his best behavior?  What a great question...

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