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

Dog’s first Halloween

Dear Critter Corner: This will be our pup’s first Halloween; do you have any suggestions on how to help prepare so that we have a safe and stress-free Halloween? There are several things we can look at to make sure the night goes well for all involved.  Here are a few...

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Black cats are good luck

Dear Critter Corner: I have adopted a couple of black kittens that are adorable, but some of my friends sincerely think they are going to bring me bad luck. They have brought me nothing but happiness. Why are people suspicious of black cats? When it comes to black...

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Improving dog’s recall

Dear Critter Corner:  I have been having a hard time getting my pup to come to me when I call him.  Are there any tips you can offer to help me teach him come to me when I call him? There are several ways to set our pups up for a successful recall.  Here are a few...

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Dog constantly chewing on things

Dear Critter Corner: My partner and I just adopted a new puppy, and she has been great, with one exception. When we leave her alone, she constantly chews on things she’s not supposed to and has cost us a lot of money in damages. We love her, but we are frustrated with...

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Demanding dog

Dear Critter Corner: We have noticed that our pup is starting to become very demanding and barking at us to initiate a game of ball or to get our attention.  We have also noticed that he is starting to whine during our meal times and is more underfoot.  We are not...

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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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