Penny, our Border Collie has a thing about the TV. I’m not sure what it is, but when anyone is sitting in the family room and gets up, Penny goes into full alert in case we’re headed to the living room where the TV is. Usually we’re not. We watch very little TV at our house. But when someone does turn on the TV, Penny goes into a frenzy. She’ll pick up one of her toys and shake it violently as she spins around in circles.

Then we found that we don’t even have to turn on the TV to get her to do that. I think David was the first one to aim his empty hand (mimicking a remote) at the TV and say “dvvvvv” (which is the noise the TV makes when it comes on). Penny went wild.

There are several other things that will trigger this response, including the following phrases:
“Can I watch TV?”
“TV”
“Where’s the remote?”
“Video”
“DVD”
“dvvvv”
“Curious George”

Aiming a cell phone does this too. Or aiming an empty hand. We don’t even have to be in the same room as the TV. Sometimes we’ll do this just to make Penny look like an idiot. Va says we’re being mean, but I see it as letting Penny perform one of her “duties” for us. It’s no less useful than some of the other things she does for us (stick collection).

Every morning when I leave the house to go to work and drop Beth off at school, Penny always darts out ahead of us, rounds up a soccer ball (or a basketball), and brings it to me. If I ignore this, she will as often as not manage to wedge it under one of the cars. I have popped more than one ball by running it over. So now I am always sure to kick it into the woods for her. I usually kick it once, then put my laptop in the front seat. By then, she will often have the ball in the driveway. If I try to leave then, there’s a good chance I’ll pop yet another ball, as they are pretty hard to see in the driveway when I’m backing out.. So I put the keys in the ignition while she brings the ball to the garage. Then I kick it back into the woods as hard as I can. She tears after it, and I dive into the car, start the engine, and back out. Then I buckle up. Penny will watch with a big smile on her face as we leave, satisfied that she has done her most important duty of the morning. Then she’ll take care of her other “business” before asking Va to let her back in the house.

Such is life with Penny!