PHS/SPCA Local Columns

Ken White’s Column

Exotic cats

Last week, we explored the fancypants world of “designer dogs,” noting the only meaningful difference between them and mutts is that the former has a better publicist. Not wishing to be accused of bias, this week we visit the universe of hybrid cats. Bengal cats,...

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Purebred or mutt?

A friend was convinced that her PHS-adopted shih tzu-mix was actually a trendy new breed made up of shih tzu and French bulldog until I asked if that meant the pup was actually a French Bull Shitz? Yea, I know, with friends like me ... Merriam-Webster defines purebred...

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Best Friends Forever

BFF (Best Friends Forever) gains a whole new meaning when you take a look at the archeological record: did you know that our ancient ancestors in many cultures buried their dogs and cats, often alongside themselves and often with great pomp and ceremony? Certainly the...

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Eight-legged fear

My column about Jacob and his pet tarantula led to several conversations regarding spider phobias, and that led to the internet for some interesting reading. Ten percent of Americans are affected by phobias (per the American Psychiatric Association), 40 percent of...

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Eight-legged love

Many past columns celebrated the joys of life with dogs and cats, and we’ve also touched on potbellied pigs, rabbits, hamsters, love birds, tortoises, guinea pigs and other animals broadly considered pets (or, for the more politically correct in the audience,...

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Honoring our history

Both in our private lives and also in the big public horrors we face together, life is often hard. For my generation, that first shocking experience we share was the assassination of a president. We all seem to remember where we were when we learned JFK had been...

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Hooked on canines

These past few months we’ve talked about the dangers of dogs in hot cars, summertime increases in ticks and fleas and nasty weeds which literally get under our pet’s skin, older dogs being dragged on leash by oblivious humans out to enjoy the nice weather, and more....

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Those Summer Time Blues

From Linda: “Since it’s summer we find ourselves at beaches and parks more than other times of the year. As such, you see more people who have their dogs off leash and the distressing consequences of most dogs who don’t return on command. Dogs who are blissfully...

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Living with Snakes

Opehidiophobia. Readers will recognize the end of that word means “fear of”; opehidiophobia is fear of snakes. I just returned from a glorious week in Tahoe where, yes, snakes live and thrive (along with thousands of other remarkable plants and animals: I mean, how...

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The long drive

We Californians love our cars and live in such a beautiful part of the world. While driving trips are among my favorite travels, I’ve known plenty of car sickness sufferers. Many claim the best antidote is simply to let them drive, which certainly begs the question:...

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Slime time had by all

Hillsborough resident Julie writes: “I finally figured out who’s eating my lettuces, and I’m not amused. It is these horrible brown snails. Surely your love of animals does not extend to them?” The ubiquitous Bay Area garden snail is no lowlife, Julie. This is the...

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A downside to good care

Remember those quarter-sized turtles in plastic bowls, adorned with a 2-inch green plastic palm tree, available for a pittance from neighborhood five-and-dimes? Millions were sold for decades. For many kids, these were the first “pet” and the first experience with...

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Are we what we eat?

As folks try to eat in ways better both for their own health and the welfare of animals raised as food, words like “free range” and “humanely raised” on food packages can be reassuring. Here’s a shocker. The federal government has no definition for either term. There...

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Keeping track of your pet

Not knowing where your animal has gone, if he or she is safe ... that’s a horrible experience. Decades ago when we first brought our newborn home from hospital, one of our cats was obviously unhappy about the addition to the family. An indoor only cat, she made the...

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Hot enough for you?

Prior to my role here at PHS/SPCA, I spent seven years at Arizona Humane Society, so when I hear people complain about how hot it is I admit I tend to snicker. Not, however, when it comes to how hot it is — and how potentially dangerous it is — for dogs in the wrong...

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Miss Behavin’

Prepare your pets for arrival of a baby

Prepare your pets for arrival of a baby

Dear Miss Behavin’: We’re expecting a baby.  Do you have any advice on how to prepare our “furry baby” for the new addition to our family? Reply: You’ll want to prepare your “furry baby” for the big changes ahead, months before your due date.  If your companion animal...

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Teaching a dog to ‘Leave it’

Teaching a dog to ‘Leave it’

Dear Miss Behavin’:  My cocker spaniel, “Polly,” is the sweetest dog, unless I try to get between her and food. If I accidentally drop a morsel on the floor when I’m cooking, she’ll growl at me if I try to snatch it away. Reply: This common behavior is known as food...

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Putting a harness on a Great Dane

Putting a harness on a Great Dane

Dear Miss Behavin’: My Great Dane mix pulls like crazy on leash. How can I save my arm and get him to walk nicely? Reply: For dogs that are very large or strong, often the best investment is a high-quality harness or head collar that is designed to help curb pulling....

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