PHS/SPCA Local Columns

Ken White’s Column

Pet-heads, part I

Catnip gets Isabelle’s and Stinky Louise’s motors humming, while my third cat Puccini is distinctly not a stoner. What’s up with Meowy Wowie? Catnip is nonaddictive and completely harmless in cats, affecting about three-quarters of them (all types, by the way,...

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Big news: Shhhhh!

My recent column about the thriving marketplace for wild animals coincided with a friend sending an article from “Science” magazine (sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/call-keep-secrets-rare-species-draws-reluctant-support). Let me summarize. From the article: “The extent to...

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“I get that online”

An oft-heard comment, a sign of our times: “I got it online.” Those few words can signal a great deal (half what I expected to pay!), or a long-sought treasure (a 1940s Martin Ukelele!), or the decline of brick-and-mortar neighborhood shops, or something much darker...

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What’s the deal with hairballs?

For no reason other than the odd symmetry of it, let’s follow last week’s column (why dogs eat weird stuff) with this: Why cats vomit so often. I share my home with three cats and I’ve come to rely on Persian-style carpets for masking the telltale stains of hairballs...

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My sandworm beagle

Reader Michelle asks: “Why does my beagle eat socks?” Allow a digression. Remember Dune, Frank Herbert’s novel or the 1984 film adaptation? Remember “sandworms?” From Wikipedia: “cylindrical worm-like creatures with a fearsome array of crystalline teeth used primarily...

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Make that cat an indoor animal

Last week was all about why cats should be indoor animals only. This week it’s how to make that happen. This applies to bringing that outdoor cat indoors and also to shutting the door to cats used to coming and going. In self-help manual style, let’s introduce the...

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Both deserve better

A few weeks back, I wrote about the start of baby bird season. There I made a plea for keeping our pet cats as exclusively indoor animals. Clearly this raised some hackles since that gentle request resulted in a few most ungentle responses. Chill people, let’s pull...

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May Day! Skunk Spray!

Here’s a May Day! emergency you hope to avoid: skunk spray. As Bay Area natives, skunks are here to stay so encounters are not rare. Good news, skunks are reluctant to use their spray (accurate up to 3 feet, strong enough to send bears scurrying) and typically warn...

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A short, sweet life

The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA saves thousands of animals every year. Perhaps not as obvious, we also touch many thousands of human lives. Two years ago, the Leiva family adopted Harvey, a little guy with a huge smile. One of a select group of humane...

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Pot-bellied pigs

Tell me about pot-bellied pigs, writes Richard of Belmont. I’ve cared for dozens of animal species, professionally and personally, including one pot-bellied pig who arrived at the shelter so young that several months of home care were essential. The size and shape of...

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A friend in high places

As readers might know, recently the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed thousands of animal-related public records from its website. This removal came without warning, without explanation, and without any opportunity for public input or Congressional process. For...

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Clearing up confusion

Some group obviously just sent mail because I’m getting questions again: “What’s the relationship between PHS/SPCA, the Humane Society of United States, American SPCA (ASPCA), and other national-sounding groups?” There is no formal, ongoing relationship. Some...

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Bee quite concerned

Apocalyptic, dystopian books and movies are all the rage, likely reflecting a general worry that has snuck into our collective brain. Zombie uprising? A megalomaniac who gets hands on a nuclear device? Sure, sure, all possible (really?) but the more likely scenario...

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A special announcement

This serves as the required Formal Notice of a new set of policies and procedures impacting the animals, and the people who care about the animals, of San Mateo County and its 20 incorporated cities. Effective 8:30 a.m., this coming Saturday, April 1, all pet animals...

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Over rescue

Last week’s column extolled the virtues of my officemate Hermann’s tortoise. Over the weekend, a curious reader asked just how many different types of animals I’ve actually lived with — and, which is “The Best”? As to types: Lots. If this was an Academy Awards...

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Miss Behavin’

How to teach a dog to ‘Leave it’

How to teach a dog to ‘Leave it’

Dear Miss Behavin’: A few weeks ago you mentioned teaching a dog “Leave it” as a way to help two dogs that are possessive over food. How would you go about teaching a dog the “Leave it” command? Reply: “Leave it” is a very useful thing to teach your dog. The command...

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Corgis are fighting over food

Corgis are fighting over food

Dear Miss Behavin’: I have two adorable corgis that get along great, except when there is food involved. They’ve been in fights over their food dishes and crumbs that fall on the floor. How can I get them to stop sparring over snacks? Reply: If you think about it,...

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