Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

My Bubby and St. Francis

Yesterday, October 4, was celebrated as the Feast Day of St. Francis. If my Bubby were still alive, she’d likely now turn away from the steaming pots on her stove and utter a loud Vat? St. Francis of Assisi is, of course, the patron saint of animals. My Bubby is my...

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Political Animal

Get the red, white and blue bunting ready because Wednesday is National Dogs In Politics Day. Why this date? On September 23, 1952, California Senator and then Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon gave his “Checkers Speech.” Back then, long before...

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I Didn’t Know That

Last week’s topic was remarkable things about animals you might normally consider unremarkable; pigeons as potential surgeons, snails asleep for years, that sort of thing. That left me wondering if there’s stuff we don’t know about dogs and cats. Did you know some...

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All Creatures

About a month ago, I sent in that coming week’s column to Jon Mays, editor-in-chief of The San Mateo Daily Journal. “Hummingbirds are pretty amazing,” was Jon’s reply. He’s right, of course, and what makes them amazing is why I’d written two columns about these tiny...

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Feral? Likely Not!

Last week’s column included a list of animals my wife and I’ve lived with who started out with severe behavioral challenges, including cats rescued from traps (my sweet, sweet Lily) and dumpsters (Sniff, who loved Carolyn but absolutely loathed me). I noted that some...

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Well Trained Human

Readers may recall the world’s most perfect pup (my column, my rules) came into my life a couple years ago. We were ready, time and illness having taken our wonderful dogs and cats from us, but Lola was frankly not who we had set out to find. We imagined an older dog,...

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Black Cats

I hope you can forgive my not acknowledging last Monday, August 10, as National Spoil Your Dog Day. My excuse, hopefully acceptable, is that my dog Lola, the world’s most perfect pup (my column, my rules) believes every day is National Spoil Your Dog Day, taking the...

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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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Critter Corner

Training dog with a variety of treats

Dear Critter Corner:  We have started training with our new pup and are having a hard time finding treats that he likes to use in our training.  He will eat them in the house but once outside it is hit or miss.  Do you have any suggestions for us? This is a great...

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Preparing dog for tense situations

Dear Critter Corner: We have a very shy pup and have been working on exposing him from a distance to people and dogs at our local park that requires all dogs to be on leash.  The other day, another dog owner had their dog off leash and it charged our pup.  As I called...

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Door dashing dog

Dear Critter Corner:  We just adopted a new pup and need some advice on teaching him not to dart out the front door anytime it’s opened.  We live on a busy street and he has gotten out once and it was very scary!  Please help! I am so glad to hear that your pup is...

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Crate training your cat

Dear Critter Corner: I recently adopted a bonded pair of 2-year-old cats, and plan on taking them to the vet for their annual checkup. Any tips on how to train them to be comfortable in their crates? Crate training cats can be a fun and rewarding experience for both...

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Teaching puppy to come when called

Dear Critter Corner: We just got a new puppy and want to start working on getting them to come to us when called.  Can you give us some pointers? This is the perfect time to start training since when our pups are very young, they tend to follow us everywhere.  Take...

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Helping cats adjust to a move

Dear Critter Corner: I’m planning a major move across the country with two senior cats and it’s kind of daunting. To add to that we’re downsizing from a one-bedroom apartment to a studio, help! Any kind of move, whether down the street, to another city, or across the...

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