2009 Photo by Lambert Wolterbeek Muller, flickr

Dog in trash and addictions

An old dog can learn a new trick. After having lived with us for over 1.5 years, our cocker spaniel has figured out that she can open the pull-out cabinet drawer that contains our trash. This only happens when we leave her penned in the kitchen. I suspect we left some wonderful smelling meat scraps in it one night and the desire enabled some higher level problem-solving skills (she’s not the brightest dog in the world) to kick in. Now that she has learned how to do this, we’ve taken to bungee cording the drawer when we leave the house. A few days ago, we forgot and came home to a mess of coffee grounds and torn up trash all over the floor.

Interestingly, our dog responds in quite a predictable manner. Normally, when we come home, she is at the door to greet us by dancing around and putting her front paws on our legs. But each time we have come home to a mess she has made, we see her cowering and ready to bolt. The last time we came home to this mess, she squeezed out the door before we could get into the house so she could run away. No, we don’t beat her. She knows she has done wrong.

I’ve wondered what goes on in her head during the time she is into the trash. Does she know it is wrong? When does she start feeling bad? The moment we arrive? Has she been cowering and feeling guilty as soon as she spreads trash around? One more funny behavior: when we send her to her crate (in the basement) for a time out, she goes right away. But then, after a bit, we see her outside of her crate but sitting patiently. Then, she’s at the bottom of the stairs looking to see if we will let her up. Then, her front paws are on the first step, waiting in anticipation that we’ll say all is forgiven.

And this relates to addictions how?

Most individuals who struggle with an addiction have the strong feeling of guilt even as they partake. Guilt rarely is enough to stop us from acting out. Even knowing that we may be caught does not stop us as much as logic would dictate. The desire to have what is right at our fingertips can easily overwhelm all sensibilities and logic–that will race back to us as soon as we finish partaking or as soon as someone finds out. Our initial response may include running away. Guilt and shame prevail for a time, and then we creep back into life hoping that the troubles we have caused will blow over and life will return to normal.

Of course, we are not dogs and so we must use the gifts God has given us (a brain capable of higher order planning, the Spirit) to learn from our mistakes and misdeeds. We can:

  • remove ourselves from proximity to the addictive agent
  • plan for accountability, especially during vulnerable times
  • examine the roots, shoots, and fruits of our addictions with a trusted friend/counselor
  • remind ourselves of the power to say no and the foolish, false promises of addiction

In addition, we who are filled with the Spirit of God know that our hope is not that our sins will be forgotten or blow over, but that they are paid for in full.

For more of what I have produced on the topic of addictions, use the search box at the top of my personal blog page. Or for a free podcast, Counseling Strategies for Individuals with Addictions, click here.

Comments 

 
0 #2 Philip Monroe 2014-02-01 16:22
Shawn, funny comment. This is NOT my dog but an image chosen by someone else. I will say, she is a cocker spaniel and wouldn't brightness isn't her best feature :)
Quote
 
 
0 #1 Shawn 2014-01-29 17:31
Your dog's problems may not be addictive as such, they may be an attempt to punish you for calling her a cocker spaniel when she is, in fact, a tri-color rough collie. Collies are wonderful dogs but have a bit of diva in them, and may not take kindly to being labeled as another breed. ;-)

Other than that, nice post! I love the last line too, "In addition, we who are filled with the Spirit of God know that our hope is not that our sins will be forgotten or blow over, but that they are paid for in full." Well said!
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Blog Mission

The purpose of this blog will be to expand the influence of our faculty, maintain contact with our graduates, and invite other friends to think with us about important biblical and theological ideas.

Biblical's Faculty

Biblical’s Faculty:

We are committed to ongoing engagement with culture and the world for the sake of our witness to the Gospel, and to continual learning from Christians in other cultural settings.

Latest Blog Entries

Written on 19 December 2014 - by R. Todd Mangum
Written on 17 December 2014 - by Philip Monroe
Written on 15 December 2014 - by David Lamb
Written on 12 December 2014 - by Dr. Kyuboem Lee
Written on 08 December 2014 - by Dr. David Dunbar
Written on 01 December 2014 - by Manuel Ortiz
Written on 25 November 2014 - by R. Todd Mangum
Written on 19 November 2014 - by Steve Taylor
Written on 17 November 2014 - by Stephen Taylor
Written on 14 November 2014 - by Charles Zimmerman

Previous Blog Entries

Follow Biblical

Follow us on the following sites and receive notifications on upcoming events and blog entries:

Follow Biblical on facebookFollow Biblical on Twitterg+_64_black

Contact Admissions

800.235.4021 x146

215.368.5000 x146

215.368.4913 (fax)

 

admissions@biblical.edu

Stay Connected with Biblical

Follow us on the following sites:

Follow Biblical on facebookFollow Biblical on TwitterFollow Biblical on YouTubeg+_64_black
Or simply call us at...
800.235.4021 x146 or 215.368.5000 x146

Support Biblical by Giving

800.235.4021 x162

215.368.5000 x162

215.368.7002 (fax)

 

development@biblical.edu

Home