Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

Frida

We first met Frida, a dog at the very heart of my family for the last 15 years, when she was part of the reason for the watermelon-sized belly on the bedraggled, ready-to-burst pregnant beagle, a stray rescued by PHS/SPCA. Once it became clear that the pregnancy was...

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Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

Yeah, sure, you might think the big holiday was a couple of weeks ago but you would be wrong. The 4th of July has its upsides. A long weekend most often celebrated with excessive food and beer, and who doesn’t love that? But today is July 16th and we all know that is...

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A Very Different World

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that North America was once home to lions, zebra, and other megafauna (mega as in big, fauna as in animals) which led to questions from apparently doubting readers. Come on folks: there were a lot of years after dinosaurs but before the...

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July 4th Hellish for the Pets

The 4th of July is not my favorite. It’s not anything political, but rather the obnoxious, drunken human behavior that somehow got linked with the holiday. So while your neighbor gets his illegal fireworks ready, it’s time for you and me to talk pets. First, the only...

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Wild Horses

Horses loom so large in America’s mythology, especially here in the west (even in the urban-suburban SF Bay Area west), it’s a bit surprising how little most of us know about their natural place in the environment. To sum it up, while wild horses are a thing of beauty...

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My Father’s Day Column

Twenty-plus years ago my daughter insisted on bedtime stories about Jasper, my first dog. My father’s day column, I offer her this written version. To begin: I wasn’t allowed pets as a kid, a loss I’ve (over)compensated for, and Jasper was my 21st birthday gift to...

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Take Your Dog To Work Day

Be prepared to learn new stuff! Pet Sitters International is, I assume, an organization you did not know existed. It is an educational association for professional pet sitters headquartered in King, North Carolina, which represents nearly 7,000 folks who make a living...

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Summertime Blues

Summer’s a few weeks away (June 21) but weather doesn’t pay close attention to the calendar, especially not here in the Bay Area. Let’s talk hot weather and pets! Prior to coming to PHS/SPCA I spent 7 years at Arizona Humane Society, so when I hear people complain...

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Memorial Day and the Animals

Without in any way intending to trivialize, it’s important to take a moment this Memorial Day weekend – days set aside to pay tribute to those who’ve lost their lives in defense of our nation – to reflect on the animals who serve and who have died alongside them. I am...

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Animal Collectors

Once portrayed as people who “cared too much” and “in over their heads”, animal hoarders are now recognized as suffering from a diagnosable mental illness linked to obsessive compulsive disorder. My first experience (back in the 1970s) was with a man who sat perfectly...

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Dogs and Litter Boxes

On the topic of doggy bad breath (and routine dental care) a few weeks ago, I mentioned one cause may be what some dogs choose as “snacks”: to put it less delicately, the sad fact that some dogs who live with cats may be fond of “cleaning” those litterboxes. As nice...

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Be Kind to Animals Week

I’m guessing you forgot to send me the Hallmark but this is officially the start of Be Kind To Animals Week. Yes, I know, it seems like everything gets its own special time on the calendar:  Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is January 29, April 4 is International Carrot...

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Over Rescue

This might be unexpected coming from me, but 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 time...

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High Touch plus High Tech

Last week we talked about high touch pets as opposed to high tech gizmos, but this week we see how the two have recently been brought together in one, shall we say, unexpected fashion. Now that scientists have mapped the genetic code of dogs we’ve seen a few...

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High Touch vs High Tech

Sure, we live in the very Center of the Tech Universe but, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence aside, this weekend I had to return my new desk lamp after receiving a scary recall notice from the manufacturer. Really, how am I supposed to trust my life to...

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Miss Behavin’

Bringing dog home for the first time

Dear Miss Behavin': After searching for months, we’ve finally found the perfect dog for us and we’re bringing him home this weekend. Any tips for our first week with Petey? Bringing home a new pet always comes with an adjustment period for everybody, but there are...

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Test the waters

Dear Miss Behavin’: We’re headed to Lake Tahoe this summer and taking our bulldog, Mimi, for the first time. She loves the water, but how do we know if she can swim? “Test the waters”, as they say, (pun intended) is the only way to go when taking your dog for her...

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Helping cat settle into new home

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’m planning on moving to a new apartment and was wondering how to get my cat Princess settled into her new home. Change can be quite unsettling for a cat, even if it’s good change in the long run. Cats can be creatures of habit, preferring their...

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Finding a good cat groomer

Dear Miss Behavin’: We tried to give our cat a bath and ended up with kitty scratches all over our arms. Ouch! We want to try a groomer but don’t know what to look for. Any tips? A cat groomer is a specialist to say the least. They’re able to keep the grouchiest...

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Best cat breeds to adopt?

Dear Miss Behavin’: My friend and I have been debating the best cat breeds to adopt. She thinks Maine Coons are perfect and I love Torties! Any thoughts on which breeds are the best to adopt? That’s actually a pretty tricky question. Cats come in all sorts of breeds,...

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What to expect when a cat ages

Dear Miss Behavin’: My cat just turned 13 years old and has been gradually slowing down over the years; no longer jumping on the highest perches or zooming around all hours of the day. So far she’s been in good health, but what types of changes can I expect as she...

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