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

Teaching dog to respect the cat

Dear Critter Corner: I recently adopted a young dog and it chases the cat all over the house. I am worried for my cat’s safety. I love my new dog but do not want to return it. What can I do? When fighting against natural prey-drive, the obedience of the dog is the key...

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Helping dog build confidence

Dear Critter Corner: We just brought home our new pup and are realizing that he is extremely shy and seems to be afraid of most things.  How can we help to build his confidence and let him know the world is not a scary place? Congratulations on your new pup!  There...

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Helping cat adjust to changes

Dear Critter Corner: I recently had my house remodeled, during which my cat disappeared into the closet for several days. He just now is returning to the living room, where he used to spend most of his time, but appears stressed. What can I do to help him? Cats often...

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First time dog owners

Dear Critter Corner: We are first time dog owners and will be bringing home our pup in a couple weeks.  We want to set everyone up for success, what tips do you have for first time owners like us? Congratulations on your new pup!  This is an exciting time and it’s...

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Rabbits make great pets

Dear Critter Corner: My kids are old enough to look after their first pet and are very interested in adopting a bunny. I’ve always thought of rabbits as outside animals, do they make good house pets? There are over 300 breeds of rabbits, and many do well in an indoor...

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Excited dog jumping on guests

Dear Critter Corner: We have recently started to have more guests coming over to the house and our pup is jumping on them.  He is very well behaved with us and doesn’t jump when we come home, but is overly excited with the guest.  What can we do to teach our pup to...

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Litter Box Issues

Dear Critter Corner: My cat has started to go to the bathroom outside the litter box. He was great for the first few months we had him and loves the family, but lately has started to leave presents in unexpected places around the house. A month ago, we dog-sat for a...

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Barky dog

Dear Critter Corner: I have noticed that our pup has started to bark at other dogs while on leash, but is fine once they are able to get to the dog or if they are off leash.  My pup is a large breed and the barking looks scary to the other owners and dogs.  How do I...

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Adjusting to dog parks

Dear Critter Corner: My family and I just adopted a young, energetic dog who loves to play. We want to take him to the dog park but we have never seen him play with another dog. He tries to pull to other dogs on leash but has never met any. What do you recommend we...

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