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

Cat keeping you up all night

Dear Miss Behavin’: I recently adopted a cat and she is great except for the fact she runs around all night long and meows in my face at 3am. How can I get her to sleep through the night? As hard as it sounds, the best thing to do is ignore her when she is keeping you...

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Indoor games and exercise for your dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: With colder weather upon us, I am looking for ways to keep my pup busy on the days we can’t exercise him as much as we normally do. Do you have any suggestions on great indoor games or types of exercise? This is a great question and many owners...

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Setting boundaries with dog

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our older dog, Josie, was recently injured and had to get stitches. Our younger dog, Jimmy, is very rambunctious and keeps pestering Josie has she rests. We want to keep the peace but don’t want to banish Jimmy to the back yard. Any tips to help us...

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Kitten pouncing and biting

Dear Miss Behavin’: My new kitten always pounces at me and bites at my hands and feet. I’ve tried to ignore him when he does it, but it’s not working. How can I get him to stop? Your kitten might be telling you that he is bored! Play with him more often and let him...

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Dog-proofing your home

Dear Miss Behavin’: Last week we adopted a dog as an early Christmas present for the kids. We had a great week together, but decided to leave Hanky home on Christmas day when we went to visit the grandparents. We came home to find that he had gotten into the trash,...

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Cat proofing Christmas Tree

Dear Miss Behavin’: I recently adopted a new cat, and this will be his first Christmas. I would like to put up a Christmas tree but I’m not sure if he’ll just want to climb it and attack all the ornaments! How can I cat-proof my Christmas tree? Cats are curious...

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Holiday gift ideas for dogs

Dear Miss Behavin’: We are looking for some suggestions on types of toys to get for our pup this holiday. There is such a large variety and price range, I am not sure what is the best choice. Can you help? Of course, what a lucky pup! There is quite the variety out...

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Indoor or outdoor cat?

Dear Miss Behavin’: I would like to adopt a cat soon and I’ve heard different opinions on whether to keep my cat inside or let them be indoor/outdoor. Won’t they get bored being inside all day? Good question! For the safety of your cat and for other animals outdoors,...

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