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.
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.
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.