Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

Dr. Julie Butler

I never met Dr. Julie Butler but her untimely death at age 62, one more victim of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaves me mourning a stranger.  The only African American graduate in the Class of 1989 of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Butler spent...

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Because You Didn’t Have Enough To Worry About

Life before Covid-19 was not simple here in the Bay Area. Remember? Earthquakes. Gridlock on roads more pothole than asphalt. Housing costs. Drought. Fires. Let me add something that might have escaped your earlier attention. Rattlesnakes. Here? Yes, afraid so, and as...

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Gone Batty

Many scientists believe that the Corona virus has come to us as the result of human contact with bats, whether that exposure occurred in so-called “wet markets” where wild animals (including bats) are sold as food and, ironically, as traditional medicines, or from...

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Cat Squeeze

Dogs love balls, last week’s topic, might not deserve the front page headline any more than the observation that cats love squeezing into seemingly impossibly small spaces. But why do they do it? I’ve found my cats in the sock drawer, including the sock drawer I swear...

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Balls

I’ve loved and lived with a whole lot of animals, including a whole lot of dogs, and although I do not have a “type” (having lived with sizes ranging from 9 pounds to 130), there have been five retriever/retriever-mixes in my family. Which means I have a tolerance for...

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Wildlife Is Always Here

Confined to our homes for long weeks with eyes glued to our screens, we thrill to the images of wild animals returning to the spaces suddenly devoid of humans and all our busyness. We are drawn to the unexpected otherness of wildness here in our cities and suburbs, to...

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All In The Family

When Carolyn and I first got together 35+ years ago, our two incredible dogs fell quickly and completely in love. Less expected was how her Lilly (a wild kitten rescued from a trap) took to Savannah (a parrot seized while being illegally smuggled into the country)....

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Plan For Your Pets

Much of PHS/SPCA’s work is considered an essential service and we are and will continue to be here for the animals. All of our animals continue to be cared for and loved, and our staff as well as members of the public we serve follow strict social distancing...

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Over Rescue

While this might be unexpected coming from me, today’s column is meant to encourage you to considering leaving alone some animals who might seem to be in distress. I’m talking about young native wild animals, from baby squirrels to songbirds and others. This is the...

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Million Dollar Mutt

Although currently a thing of the past, visits to the dog park with the world’s most perfect puppy Lola (my column, my rules) often led to questions which I answered “Her mother is a Chihuahua. Her dad is a question mark, likely a Poodle, Maltese, or someone else...

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The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper

The mind wanders down some strange paths at times like this, and so for no reason other than random, sleepless 3AM curiosity I did an on-line search of checkout counter tabloids’ stories about animals. To my surprise, the Enquirer proved disappointing, focusing far...

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Dogs and Cats

Two weeks ago our topic was how animals show up in clichés. Here’s another: “They fight like cats and dogs,” meaning constant, loud and sometimes violent squabbling, like what I experienced growing up. (The baker laughed but said he couldn’t fit “celebrating 60 years...

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Carl and Lola

A very dear friend died just a few days ago. His death was not a surprise, coming at the end of a long and sad illness. His death is, in some terrible way, a good thing considering what had happened to his body and spirit. His death came, thankfully, only after we had...

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Animal Words

I’ve written before about animals’ languages (whales’ song, bees’ dance, that sort of thing) but let’s turn this time to how animals feature in our own language. The many animal-related sayings, clichés and expressions: where do they come from, and what do they say...

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Every Day Is Cat Day

Amazing that, once again, I fell into the same trap! Two weeks ago this column suggested we all celebrate a number of pet-themed holidays, and while two of the four highlighted were all inclusive (National Love Your Pet Day and World Spay Day) the remaining two were...

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Critter Corner

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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Trimming cat’s nails

Dear Critter Corner: I’ve been trying to trim my cat’s nails for the past week and he’s been hissing and growling when I come near. How can I help him get better with grooming?  It’s best to take a slow and steady approach when helping your cat become more comfortable...

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Exercising dog during hot days

Dear Critter Corner: With the warmer weather upon us, we are concerned with our pup overheating on our walks or outings.  Can you give us some tips on how to avoid this and make sure we are still getting him appropriate exercise? This is a great question!  Our dogs...

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Pet sitter for cat?

Dear Critter Corner: I have a vacation planned in July and am wondering whether I should leave my cat Sheik with my mom or if I should have a pet-sitter come stay with her. Which do you think is the best option?  It’s definitely that time of year when summer vacations...

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Dining out with dog

We have recently started dining out more with the nicer weather and would like to take our pup along with us but are unsure how they will behave.  Do you have any training tips for us to set our pup up for success with the outdoor dining experience? As our weather is...

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First time kitten owner

Dear Critter Corner: My neighbor’s cat had a litter of kittens and I adopted a little female kitten named Miku that’s 8 weeks old. I’ve never had a cat before, where do I start with her care? Congrats on the new addition to your family and home! It’s an exciting time...

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