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

Dogs tied up outside stores

Dear Critter Corner: I have seen several dogs tied up outside of the grocery store I frequent and was wondering your opinion on if this is a safe practice or not? This is such a great question! No, this is not a safe practice or good idea for several reasons. Once you...

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Helping to calm cat down

Dear Critter Corner: I just moved to a new apartment and my cat is bouncing off the walls. She’s been trying to climb up the closet, get into cabinets, and races around the room. How do I calm her down? A new move can be a big change for many cats, especially when...

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Adding variety to cat’s diet

Dear Critter Corner: I read recently that it’s good to give my cat lots of variety in their food, but am worried about it upsetting her stomach. How can I introduce different foods to her? There are some studies that have been done to speak to cats’ having a variety...

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Prepping for successful dog training

Dear Critter Corner: I have been doing a lot of training with my pup and I feel that they are 95% reliable with most of their cues! I am having a problem though; it seems as though the second we step foot outside they forget everything including their name. Why is...

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The 3 D’s of dog training

Dear Critter Corner: I have been working on teaching my dog to ‘stay’ but the second that I give him his treat or I try to take a few steps away, he gets up.  Are there any tips or tricks you can give me to get my dog to stay after I give him the treat or when I try...

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The importance of spaying a cat

Dear Critter Corner: My 11-month-old cat Skylar has been mewing a lot lately, rolling herself all over the carpet, and rubbing against me. I think she may be in heat, will getting her spayed help with this behavior?  It does sound like Skylar might be exhibiting the...

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Muzzle training a dog

Dear Critter Corner: We just had a visit with our vet and they recommended that we should muzzle train our dog.  I am not sure where to start or how to do this, do you have any suggestions? It is great to be proactive when working with our dogs and potential problem...

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