Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

Cock-A-Doodle-Sued

Clearly, not everyone will miss Maurice. The most famous rooster in France if not the entire world (probably not much competition, after all) has died. As noted in the recent New York Times piece: “The crowing coq from Oleron, a small island off France’s western...

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Neolithic Dog Breeders

Here’s a question for those folks who get to put Latin-sounding genus and species names on animals. Why is that two almost identical little brown birds, identical other than one has a beige dot on the wingtip while the other does not, why is that those are considered...

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When Our Pets Die

There’s nothing simple about the death of a loved pet: when to let go, how to even approach making that decision, how to grieve, how to talk about our grief. Another and potentially quite touchy piece of that awful puzzle is the question of animals’ “soul” and place...

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Hummingbirds, the Real Deal

A few weeks ago we explored hummingbirds in various indigenous peoples’ religions. This week we take an equally remarkable look at these birds as, well, actual physical birds. Great timing, since Peninsula Humane Society is not only our community’s safe place for...

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The Flea’s Eyebrows

Not only do we care for amazing animals here at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, but our staff and volunteers are also a wonderful and rather interesting group of human beings. Just the other day, a millennial co-worker surprised me with an expression I would...

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4th of July

In light of the highly politized nature of this moment, let me start by noting my dislike of July 4 has nothing to do with politics. Indeed, I have the same exact feelings about New Year’s Eve. Both, in my view, have become little more than excuses for loud and...

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I DON’T Vant To Be Alone

In a complex world at this complex time, one of the obviously complicated issues is when-if-how to return to a more out-of-the-house, less socially isolated existence. But what about our animals? For most dogs and cats who find themselves treasured family members,...

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Firefly

Like many Bay Area residents, I grew up in New York (coming west for grad school in 1975), and like many NYC kids my parents shipped me out of the City’s heat for summer camp in the country: Camp Kinder-Ring, to be specific, a Jewish sleepaway up in the Hudson Valley....

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Dr. Julie Butler

I never met Dr. Julie Butler but her untimely death at age 62, one more victim of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaves me mourning a stranger.  The only African American graduate in the Class of 1989 of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Butler spent...

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Because You Didn’t Have Enough To Worry About

Life before Covid-19 was not simple here in the Bay Area. Remember? Earthquakes. Gridlock on roads more pothole than asphalt. Housing costs. Drought. Fires. Let me add something that might have escaped your earlier attention. Rattlesnakes. Here? Yes, afraid so, and as...

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Gone Batty

Many scientists believe that the Corona virus has come to us as the result of human contact with bats, whether that exposure occurred in so-called “wet markets” where wild animals (including bats) are sold as food and, ironically, as traditional medicines, or from...

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Cat Squeeze

Dogs love balls, last week’s topic, might not deserve the front page headline any more than the observation that cats love squeezing into seemingly impossibly small spaces. But why do they do it? I’ve found my cats in the sock drawer, including the sock drawer I swear...

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Balls

I’ve loved and lived with a whole lot of animals, including a whole lot of dogs, and although I do not have a “type” (having lived with sizes ranging from 9 pounds to 130), there have been five retriever/retriever-mixes in my family. Which means I have a tolerance for...

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Wildlife Is Always Here

Confined to our homes for long weeks with eyes glued to our screens, we thrill to the images of wild animals returning to the spaces suddenly devoid of humans and all our busyness. We are drawn to the unexpected otherness of wildness here in our cities and suburbs, to...

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All In The Family

When Carolyn and I first got together 35+ years ago, our two incredible dogs fell quickly and completely in love. Less expected was how her Lilly (a wild kitten rescued from a trap) took to Savannah (a parrot seized while being illegally smuggled into the country)....

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Miss Behavin’

Adding a second dog to the family

Dear Miss Behavin’: We’ve long been thinking about getting a second dog as a playmate for our young shepherd mix, Donny, and figure now is as good a time as any! Any tips on making sure they are compatible? Though it seems obvious, a good starting point is determining...

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Rabbit Enrichment

Dear Miss Behavin’: I recently adopted a rabbit and as a first time rabbit owner I still have a lot to learn. What are some things that I can offer my rabbit to make sure she doesn’t get bored? Sometimes she chews on my furniture and I’m worried I’m not offering her...

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Helping new puppy settle down

Dear Miss Behavin’: We have a new puppy and that is very active and doesn’t like to sit still or settle for very long. Is there something we can do to help our puppy learn to settle? This is a great question and one that is often over looked by many owners, the...

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Cat no longer using the litter box

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’ve had my cat JJ for about six years and he’s always been pretty perfect! Lately, he stopped using the litter box and now seems to enjoy using the dining room floor. What is the deal and how can we correct this? There are various reasons that a...

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Helping a shy cat adjust

Dear Miss Behavin’: I recently adopted a shy cat from the shelter. The past few days she’s been hiding under my bed, only coming out to use her litterbox and eat at night. What can I do to help her feel safe and secure in her new home? Firstly, thank you for adopting...

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Camping with dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: We decided to get out of town for a bit and are going camping in a couple weeks! We’ve never brought our dog, Ruby, with us before but we’re planning to bring her this time. Any tips for her first camping adventure? Ruby is a lucky dog and will no...

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Keeping dog cool during heat waves

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our dog Max did not appreciate this week’s heat wave! Neither of us wanted to go for a walk, but he was a bit antsy being cooped up all afternoon. What can I do to keep him happy and cool all summer? Max is definitely not alone! The summer heat...

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