There’s an Addict in My House!

Today I need to talk about the serious topic of addiction, and how it’s affected someone who I love very much. Not only does addiction cripple the individual who is hooked, but it plagues all of those around them as well. Loved ones struggle to find answers, ways to cure the person they care so much about. Only, there are no easy answers, no simple ways to break addiction.

I’m one of those loved ones searching for cures, especially since the addict is in my house. I have to confront this disease every day. Pain, hurt, sorrow, fear—emotions I deal with on a regular basis. I also feel guilt, because, in some small way, I’m responsible. And now, my one and a half year old Jack Russell Terrier, my baby girl, is addicted…


Yes, it’s true. Leia simply can’t get enough of the boob tube. Any time a television is turned on, she runs over, stands front and center, and is immediately lost in the world before her. She wasn’t always like this; only recently has the TV become her number one vice.

My Dog, the Couch Potato

It seems that some bad habits can be formed during periods of great change or stress. Well, recently Leia and I had moved from a cramped 1-bedroom apartment into a house. Although she seemed to respond positively to the move and enjoys all the additional room, her TV habits started shortly after.

In the past, Leia used to curl up on the couch beside me or squeeze on my lap while I would watch TV or a movie. Occasionally, if an animal of some type made an appearance, she would leap from the couch and run up to check it out. She’s quite fond of horses. And barks at dogs and cats.

But one night since our move, I put in an action flick and she stood at the base of my big screen TV for nearly two hours straight, watching in amazement. Occasionally, moving along with the actors or vehicles, or jumping up with her paws on the top shelf of the entertainment unit to get closer to the action. It’s sad I can’t remember the movie to give it proper credit, but it seems to have been the initial source of the problem.

I knew there was a problem one late night when I turned off the living room TV to get ready for bed. After brushing my teeth and washing up, I couldn’t find Leia anywhere in the house. I looked again in the living room and, sure enough, there she was, sitting in the dark, staring at the big, blank screen.

These days it really doesn’t matter what’s on—news, sports, commercials—she’s obsessed with it all. She’d rather watch TV than play, or eat, or even go for a walk. When evening approaches and the TV is not on, she whines and paces in front of the set. I can only imagine if she could talk: Please, Daddy, please! I need my fix!

Another problem is that this affects my own TV viewing experience. The other night, I watched the futuristic dystopian drama Children of Men. I hadn’t seen it since it was first out in theaters several years ago, and didn’t realize how many dogs were in the movie. Since it takes place in a future without children, I guess the creators figured that people would keep more pets around. So there were dogs and cats of all shapes and sizes in damn near every scene. Leia barked her head off almost every time she saw one, and I couldn’t enjoy the movie.

Hey, down in front!

I tried using an ultrasonic bark adjuster, but the bass of the soundtrack kept activating it, so I merely tortured Leia before she even let out a single bark. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, although I’m not sure I want to anyway. And forget any animal based movies, cartoons, etc.

So, I’m at a bit of a crossroads: either the TVs go or Leia goes. And I’m very fond of my TVs. 😉 Yet, I’m even fonder of this furry little pain in the ass.

Has anyone else encountered this level of addiction with their pets? Any advice??


* Disclaimer: By no means am I making light of addiction in itself, which is a very serious matter that affects millions of households. I am not an expert on the subject, nor am I suggesting any remedies or solutions to the disease. This post is merely for the purpose of entertaining by providing a humorous read.

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27 Responses to There’s an Addict in My House!

  1. Got some giggles out of this post. thanks

  2. Mom says:

    Ha, ha, ha!!! My poor little Grandpuppy!! Perhaps if she had a playmate, it would take her mind off TV!!!! 🙂

  3. Tracie says:

    You are too funny!! (so is Leia!)

  4. Jeff, You succeeded, I was very entertained. You hooked me good in the beginning.

  5. Nancy says:

    This is very cute, and though I’m well versed in humans with addictions, I can be of no help with the pup. Of course, my Harlee Ann (the redneck rescue cat) has OCD, but that’s not the same thing. I can’t put ANYTHING down in my house unless it is in the right spot, or she paces and cries and nags until I put it away. Or, she takes it a hides it like a pack rat. However, she could care less about television. Wish you lots of luck with Ms. Leia! She’s just too cute! Maybe you’ll just have to buy another TV – one for each of you. LOL.

  6. Pingback: Nothing Like We Imagined – A Kreativ Blogger Award Winner!!! « Nothing Like We Imagined

  7. I think there’s a law suit here somewhere. First, sue any producer that uses animals in their creation, be it commercials, info-mercials and up to and including movies. Second, sue the makers of any television: Sony, Magnavox, Visio and so on. Hell, go after GE. I think they stopped making televisions in 1982. Like many, deeply embedded addictions, they don’t start overnight. Lastly, makers of dogs. The dogs who make the dogs should be sued. We wouldn’t have this problem if the dogs didn’t exist, right? Or, work it in your favor. Set up a blog for Leia to give her paw up or down for what she watches. I’d follow her!

    • Jeff Swesky says:

      Yes, I’m sure there’s a very good lawsuit here. I don’t want to sue Visio, though, because that’s the set I have and I love that friggin TV. A Leia blog–another great idea. I wonder if she’d be able to maintain it herself though. She would probably only post animal videos or things that she and her dog friends could bark at. Thanks for the humorous comments!! 🙂

  8. jae says:

    This won’t help Leia’s addiction problem, but it at least would help you feed yours…you mentioned TVs (plural), so, assuming you have another TV in the bedroom, when you want to watch something in the living room, shut Leia up in the bedroom with her own TV to watch. Of course, this won’t work if her separation anxiety is stronger than her TV addiction.

    • Jeff Swesky says:

      Great idea, Jae. I had tried that without closing the door before, but of course she’d rather watch TV with daddy. Next time, I’ll try your suggestion and let you know how it goes!

      • jae says:

        For Leia’s enjoyment, I recommend The Artist. One of the main characters is a Jack Russell in possibly the greatest dog role of all time.

        • Jeff Swesky says:

          I heard it’s a great movie, but I didn’t know about the Jack Russell. Thanks for the head’s up–I’ll wait until it’s on DVD, so we can watch it together. I believe it’s a silent movie, right? So she can bark all she wants–I’ll just wear earplugs. 😉

  9. jae says:

    It’s already out on DVD but not yet available on Netflix. Sound is actually very important in this movie so you may want to use headphones instead of earplugs. BTW, we haven’t officially met yet, but I’m a new addition to the FWA Palm Coast group.

    • Jeff Swesky says:

      I’ll definitely add it to my Netflix queue–hopefully it won’t be too much longer until it’s available. Oh yes, you’re name did sound familiar–one of our members had mentioned you. It seems you’ve made a good impression. 🙂 I look forward to meeting you at one of our future meetings.

  10. Okay, this is hilarious. I have a parson russell, and she watches animal planet, but that’s about it. I am going to have to watch it or she might turn into an addict as well. Your dog is so cute.

    • Jeff Swesky says:

      Thank you! I can’t get away with Animal Planet because Leia barks her head off. Good luck with your parson–don’t let her turn to the dark side! 🙂

      • Haha, luckily my little Juno hasn’t started barking at the animals on animal planet yet, but she does this really cute thing where she just cocks her head and stares at them.. Until a commercial comes on and she loses all interest. She also perks up and looks at the TV if she hears people on it saying the word “dog” a lot. It’s pretty funny. Hey, maybe I should have her watch the movie “Juno.” Since that’s her name I bet she’d like it 🙂

        • Jeff Swesky says:

          I tried that with Leia (named after Princess Leia) by putting in Star Wars when she was a pup. She didn’t have much interest then, but maybe now she would be a lot more into it–maybe even wonder why they keep calling her by name. 🙂 You’re lucky that Juno’s not barking at the dogs. Leia gets so worked up that aside from barking she looks behind the TV–and even goes as far and running down the hall and looking in the room behind the TV–to see if she can find the dogs. It’s like she thinks my TV is a big bay window or a portal to another world. Too funny.

  11. debreilly says:

    Too funny! Don’t let her near the Play Station.

    • Jeff Swesky says:

      Thank you, Deb! Her paws have pounced a little too close to the PS3 on more than one occasion, so she’s already been warned. Hmmm, if I had a Wii, she could probably learn how to play the games easily enough! lol

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