When I first adopted Finn, mum got a very bad ear infection and it affected the nerve endings in her ears, as a result she went almost completely deaf in about six months. Despite having a hearing aid mum has problems hearing most things - the telephone, t.v., door bells, etc.
Finn developed this system of communicating with mum :
When the door bell rang, she always went mad, barked all around the house until she found mum and would bark all the way back to the front door, until mum put her hand on the door handle. Finn would then sit, quietly, on the bottom stair by the front door.
Similarly, when the telephone rang, and my mum was sitting at the other end of the lounge from the telephone, Finn would go up to her and put one front paw on mum's knee and stare at her intently so as to get her attention.
If mum was not in the room, Finn would go around the house and into the garden to find her. Finn would attract her attention, then give mum two short sharp barks, turn and run back to the telephone, hopefully with mum following.
Finn even learnt to push mum into the grass edge when they were out walking on one of the local bridal paths, if a car, or farm vehicle came up behind them and mum didn't hear. Finn would gently push and lean on one side of her legs, making her move towards a grass verge out of the way. Finn would then stand next to her until the coast was clear. Finn even used to do this to me when I took my walkman.
Mum and I never went out of our way to teach Finn to do any of this. Obviously, when Finn did any of this for mum she would pat her and praise her - but Finn figured out mum couldn't hear and helped out.
I always said Kerries were very smart!
Editor's note: A few months later, Finn died from injuries inflicted by a vicious dog owner.