Staff Newspaper Columns

Ken White’s Column

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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Beware the Lizard People

Not sure how I missed this when it first hit the news but as reported back a few weeks ago the Parkland Police Department (a community outside Tacoma Washington) responded to calls of a heavily armed man standing next to his car in the middle of the street. It is,...

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Hair of the Dog

Just one of many colorful sayings involving animals, “hair of the dog” is the prescription to cure a hangover by drinking just a bit of what caused it. (From my undergrad days, I know that’s terrible advice.) The fuller version of the expression is “hair of the dog...

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What’s in a Name?

Why are we called Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA instead of just Peninsula Humane Society or Peninsula SPCA…? Because that’s the name picked by the folks who founded us in the 1950s. There are 8-10,000 organizations in the U.S. with one, the other, or both SPCA...

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Spring Has Sprung

Tomorrow is the First Day of Spring. Technically, Spring falls just after the Vernal Equinox, when day and night are each 12 hours long as the Sun’s center crosses the equator on its way north. In myth, this coincides with the ability to balance an egg upright...

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Black Cat Myths

Considering who is likely reading my column it’s safe to assume none of us here think black cats are unlucky or evil -- but how did they get that rap? Researchers of such things point to ancient Greek lore: Zeus’ wife Hera magicked a servant named Galinthias into a...

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What the F!

F for Feline, of course. Similar names of three feline diseases (FIV, FIP, Felv) is confusing, so let’s clear that up. Feline Leukemia Virus (Felv) primarily spreads by saliva: sharing bowls, grooming, cat fights, and pregnant moms can infect kittens. Healthy adults...

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Doggy (and Kitty) Dental

Last week’s column about pets’ stinky breath led to several conversations. Bottom line, pet owners (me among them) are often shocked at the cost for a dental cleaning. But while I don’t get paid by the veterinary lobby I do know that there are real reasons for the...

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Stinky Breath

I have a friend who jokes that his dog’s breath can kill spiders climbing walls across the room, and having spent time with them both I’m not sure it’s an exaggeration. Stinky breath can of course mean something stinky was eaten (dogs who like to “clean” litterboxes...

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Miss Behavin’

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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New Dog Sitter Tips

Dear Miss Behavin’: We’re going away this summer and I’m worried about our dog, Mimi, staying at home with a new dog sitter.  Any tips for ensuring things go smoothly for everyone? Whether your dog is staying at home with a pet sitter or going to stay elsewhere...

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Helping dog deal with anxiety

Dear Miss Behavin’: Our dog Betty has recently become anxious when left home alone. She gets into the garbage, has chewed on some furniture, and sometimes howls. How can we help her relax when she’s home alone? Whether your dog is transitioning to a new situation...

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Tie-down training

Dear Miss Behavin’: My boxer mix “Pongo” is extremely unruly in our house. He jumps up on furniture, knocks things over, and generally creates chaos. How can we train him to behave indoors? One great training tip that not many folks know about is a “tie-down.” A...

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What are “high-value” treats?

Dear Miss Behavin’: I’m working on my dog’s manners on walks and someone mentioned using “high value treats.” What are they and how do I use them? Say you have a bad habit of rushing out the door in the mornings. You’re always flustered and most days you forget...

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Easing crate anxiety for your cat

Dear Miss Behavin’: My cat was recently diagnosed with a medical condition and as part of her treatment plan she needs regular vet checkups every few months. My only problem is that she hates going in her crate, and if she’s stressed then I’m stressed. Help! That’s...

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