I can’t believe I have to explain that, but kids and pets are not the same.
Treating pets as children is not healthy or safe for them. We need to understand that sometimes you need to set boundaries and leave the four-legged babies behind.
Redditor Style-Missing encountered this very issue with their brother. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for telling my brother that we don’t consider his dogs our kids’ cousins?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I have three siblings, a sister and two brothers. My sister, my older brother and I all have kids aged 6 to 10.”
“For the last few months, we’ve been having weekly playdates for all the kids because they all really enjoy it. The hosts alternate. The adults make it if they can but usually it’s just the kids and maybe three or four parents.”
“My younger brother is childfree and he and his wife have three huge German Shepherds. After we started the routine, he asked if he could get his dogs since they’re like his kids and could do with some more stimulation and nobody really had an objection since we figured the kids would enjoy it.”
Then, things escalated.
“Last week, my BIL helped the kids bake a cake. While it was cooling, one of the dogs started eating it.”
“My BIL tried to get him to stop but he didn’t listen. It was a chocolate cake and he feared it would be harmful to the dog so he tried to snatch it away and the dog bit him quite badly.”
“He had to get multiple stitches and is lucky it wasn’t worse. My brother and SIL were really apologetic and said he’s still a little ‘food aggressive’ because he’s a rescue and that they’re working on it.”
“Now, my sister and BIL (who got bit) said they won’t let their kids near his dogs so it fell upon me (as I’m hosting the next playdate) to tell him his dogs are no longer welcome.”
“I told him that and he was fairly upset and asked if we’d ban a kid if they acted up. I said that a kid acting up won’t threaten the life of another kid and besides, even if my older brother and I were to believe it was a one-off incident and wouldn’t be repeated, my sister and her husband have every right to be cautious of his dogs and we can’t have the routine without their kids.”
OP’s brother was still confused.
“He asked why their kids are more important for the playdate than his dogs and I said it’s because they’re our kids’ cousins and his dogs aren’t.”
“He seemed really taken aback at that and said we’re only looking down at him because he doesn’t want kids and that his dogs can be just as fulfilling as children.”
“I didn’t disagree with that, but while they might be fulfilling for him, it’s unfair to expect the rest of us to treat them like children.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA a large dog with food aggression shouldn’t be around children that young. Your brother was exceedingly irresponsible for bringing a dog with behavioral issues around a group of young children.”
“I’ve had several rescues with behavioral and/or aggressive tendencies….it isn’t something you take chances with and hope things turn out OK. The dog injured someone, badly.” ~ CajunKC
“This. I have a 120lb mastiff that food and resource guards. You know who’s around her when she has food or high value treats? No one but my husband or I.”
“When we have kids over she’s not even allowed to have toys.”
“It’s not a perfect system but it’s setting everyone up for success as much as possible.” ~ MySweetSeraphim
“NTA- I’m child free and own a rescue dog that had/has aggression issues. For the first 3 years he was never alone with anyone other than me.”
“As he is now 9 and has mellowed a lot, he loves my house mates so I have very slowly left him with them. I do not bring him around small children, I don’t bring him around my niece and nephew either. Your brother is being irresponsible and cavalier with your family members and potentially his dogs life.”
“There are places that would ticket your brother, potentially quarantine the dog or determine he is a high bite risk and force him to be put down.”
“He may feel they are his children, I get it, I call my pets my kids, but push comes to serve the kiddos take precedent.” ~ Roadgoddess
Other fur parents agreed that pets and babies are not the same.
“I’m childfree, our cats are our babies, we have gone full crazy cat couple. My family are lovely and don’t bat an eye at me spamming the family group chat with cat pics and they get Christmas and birthday presents from everyone. I would still never refer to them as my nieces and nephews’ cousins. That’s a level of bonkers I can’t even fathom. He’s gone off the deep end.” ~ TipsyMagpie
“Just wanna say: that is a perfect system! Sure we’d all like dogs who are perfect and chill, but that’s just not the case. People need to set realistic expectations for their dogs, and accept that there may be some things their dogs just cannot do. You are doing the best possible thing for your dog in this situation!” ~ lemikon
“This, the brother is not setting his dog up for success. And he needs to work on the dog’s socialization. His demands are ridiculous.” ~ spaceygracie12
“As a child free adult with fur babies, he’s a failure as a pet parent. You always, always acknowledge the issues your dog has and you make choices that set them up for success.”
“And as u/CajunKC said, you never bring food aggressive dogs around young children.”
“I never fed my chihuahua around my nephews until they were 9-10 respectively and then there were strict rules. Because I didn’t want to be the reason a child got bit. And I didn’t want a child getting bit, to be the reason my dog had to be put down.”
“This is only going to increase that dogs anxiety around food too, which is going to become a viscous cycle of the dog lashing out and getting more anxious, finally ending when the dog has done so much damage, they have to be destroyed.”
“Protecting my baby, means making hard choices, but that’s what any real parent does. Full stop.” ~ TheBriarRoseBuffy
Fur babies are not actual babies.