PHS/SPCA Local Columns

Ken White’s Column

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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Fourth of July is hard for critters

I really think a gigantic red, white and blue cake with forks for everyone is the right way to celebrate our country’s birthday, but people just keep lighting fuses and blowing stuff up. So until my idea catches on, especially since this year the Fourth falls smack...

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Pet-heads, part II

Catnip was last week’s topic, a plant with some interesting and at times entertaining effects on cats and even dogs. Today, we look at the impacts of marijuana on pets. While not entirely risk-free, both immediate serious problems and long-term complications are rare...

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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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Miss Behavin’

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