Photo by Dr. Ronnie Schenkein
Meko, a type of parakeet known as a nanday conure, was adopted by Dr. Ronnie Schenkein at the age of 5. "She watched TV [and] DVDs and listened to music with me all that time until she passed away at age 19 in 2014," Schenkein said. "She loved music and danced."
If human beings are suckers for television, their animal companions are right there with them.
Judging from anecdotes posted recently by veterinarians around the United States, individuals of a variety of species show interest in screens of all types — whether standard televisions, computer monitors or even security camera feeds. Their content preferences run the range, too, from sitcoms to continuing education videos to the twitchy mustache of a notorious public figure.
The anecdotes came in response to the recent VIN News Service article What do TV-watching dogs watch? about the results of a research survey plumbing the screen-watching habits of dogs around the world. Veterinarians who shared their own stories posted to a message board of the Veterinary Information Network, an online community of the profession and parent of VIN News.
Here's a sample of the anecdotes.
My iguana growing up loved to watch Friends. He would excitedly jump around when it came on and just stare at the TV the entire time. As soon as the show was over, he would wander off.
Dr. Kelleen Parnell
My clinic cat spends a large part of the day watching my security camera feed. The monitor is not in an easy spot to watch. He gets kind of creative about the spots he finds to get a good view of the monitors. One of his favorite shows is when my techs are mopping the floors. :)
Dr. Jeromey Gillespie
Panama City, Florida
My nanday conure loved musicals and absolutely detested anything in black and white. She usually watched TV and movies with me, but if anything in black and white came on, she screamed incessantly until I put her away where she couldn't see it. I think she just felt that was very, very wrong. She did get upset by violence and preferred nature and anything with good music.
Dr. Ronnie Schenkein
Photo by Dr. Allen Matson
Zeke, an Alaskan malamute puppy, raptly watches a lameness exam in a continuing education program provided virtually during the recent VMX veterinary conference.
When I was doing the VMX [conference] this year virtually, my dog was watching the lameness video exams in the neuro/ortho lecture.
Dr. Allen Matson
I had a co-worker years ago who said her cat, Ernie, would come to the couch every Monday night to watch the Northern Exposure moose walk across the screen. After it was done, he would go do something else.
Dr. Joseph Griffioen
My hound dog has a thing for [the television weatherman and anchor] Al Roker. Most of the time in the mornings, she's busy outside doing hound things, but if she's in the room and Al comes on, she stares at him quite intently.
Dr. Laura Hedemann
Albuquerque, New Mexico
My dogs most recently watched the full series of The West Wing. Seems to be their favorite show!
Dr. David Simison
I was in vet school during Operation Desert Storm. CNN showed the famous video of Saddam Hussein making his speech about crushing the Western infidels. His face filled the screen and his mustache was jumping up and down. My cat jumped on top of the TV and kept swatting at his mustache.
Dr. Lynda Bacon