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

Resource guarding

Dear Critter Corner: I have noticed that when I give my pup a chew stick or other high-value item, he tends to go and hide from me while chewing on it.  The other night, I got close to where he was chewing on the stick and he growled at me.  I am not sure what to do,...

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Barking dog

Dear Critter Corner: We feel that our once quiet pup has found his voice and is doing a lot of barking at home lately.  We have told him ‘no’ and ‘quiet’ but these do not seem to do the trick.  Is there anything we can do to get our quiet pup back?  This is a great...

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Harness for dogs

Dear Critter Corner: Our dog has taken to pulling while we are on walks or just about anywhere! We have been looking at front attach harnesses and head halters to help but are very confused as to what is best. Can you tell us the difference between the two and give...

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Socializing puppy

Dear Critter Corner: We are first time dog owners and just adopted a new puppy.  We keep hearing about how important socializing our puppy is but are not really sure what that means or the best ways to go about doing it.  Can you give us some pointers? Congratulations...

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Keeping dog’s focus

Dear Critter Corner: With the warmer weather upon us, we have seen an increase in all sorts of outside critters like squirrels and birds which we love to watch.  Our dog also loves to watch these critters but will not give us the time of day once he is focused on...

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