When it comes to our loved ones, we always want to do what’s best for them and what will make them happy. Depending on our personalities, that can also include gift-giving and wanting to give them the best gift ever.
But one thing we definitely shouldn’t be gifting is a pet, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Spillthesausage1_ was on the receiving end of a pair of guinea pigs for his daughter. The gifting proved to hardly be a happy occasion.
But when he saw his sister’s reaction to his feelings, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was being too harsh.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for getting rid of the animals my sister gave my daughter?”
The OP’s sister gave his daughter pets without asking.
“My ([Male] 36) daughter recently celebrated her seventh birthday and, without taking in mind that I said my daughter would appreciate nature books and Barbie dolls, my sister Amy ([Female] 26) decided to, without permission, get my daughter two guinea pigs.”
“Obviously my daughter latched onto them, so I kept them because I didn’t want to break her heart, although I hate animals.”
The OP had a variety of concerns.
“Hundreds was dropped on appropriate food and toys and a cage for them, and then came the issue of bonding with them.”
“Anybody with experience around 7-year-olds knows that they’re obnoxious, and any attempts at holding the animals calmly failed.”
“My sons (5 [Male] and 3 [Male]) were obviously curious about the guinea pigs and accidentally scared them half the time, driving up their stress levels.”
“And then the cat (my one exception to my hate of animals) was curious about the new additions too, and not in a positive way.”
The OP and his sister couldn’t see eye-to-eye.
“I tried to talk to Amy about it but according to her, the pigs were my responsibility now.”
“My daughter began to slip on her duties of feeding and giving the pigs water, but was thankfully a lot more understanding when I sat her down about the pigs and agreed, after some mild tears, that it was best if I found a new home for them.”
The OP was able to come up with a solution.
“A friend of mine is very experienced with guinea pigs so he took them and my daughter was happy to learn that she could visit them or have pictures of the guinea pigs sent to her.”
“However, Amy learned of this and is now pissed off at me for ‘breaking my daughter’s trust in me’ and betraying her own trust and that I was a massive a**hole.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with how the OP handled the situation.
“You don’t give animals as pets to a kid without the parents’ permission (basically the parents’ word that they know it’ll be their responsibility).”
“Even if you loved animals, and your daughter was super responsible with them, and you didn’t have two other little kids, it’d still be an AH move. As you said, the animals were the cheap part, she thrust very expensive maintenance on you.”
“Your daughter is handing the rehoming very maturely.”
“I wonder if your sister just wanted to play with guinea pigs without the responsibility and cost of owning them.”
“Let her know she should never buy animals as gifts.” – Usrname52
“OP is showing their children the mature and responsible way to deal with situations like this.” – knittedjedi
“‘Here are some living things that require years of attention and obligation. If you didn’t want this responsibility, too bad. And if you aren’t grateful, it means you are betraying your child’s trust.'”
“NTA at all.” – saltpancake
Others agreed and said animals should never be given as gifts.
“You don’t give animals as gifts.”
“The ONLY exception is if it’s been coordinated in advance with the recipient, they are aware, they are open to it, and they have enthusiastically consented.”
“You do NOT give animals as gifts.” – alana_r_dray
“These stories always remind me of when I had just moved – with a newborn.”
“Some friends / previous neighbors came to visit, and as a surprise brought my three-year-old a kitten as a present.”
“Not just any kitten – this one was flea-infested, spent the time of the visit vomiting and having diarrhea. To this day I can’t figure out what their motivation was.”
“I felt bad for the kitten and was young and non-confrontational by nature, but I did manage to as politely as possible decline the ‘present.'”
“Still shaking my head over that one.” – shunrata
“If you want to gift someone a pet just gift them money for the pet instead. That way they can pick it out themselves and things will work out much better for everyone.” – Kinuika
“After Christmas and Easter, too many pets get returned.”
“Don’t gift a pet to anyone.”
“My Luna, a female black cat, was my birthday present one year. I was given a card from my parents saying they will cover the cost of my new kitten. I then spent several months kitten shopping at various shelters and pet stores that adopt shelter animals. (I will not buy an animal from a breeder at any pet store, ever. I make sure the animals are from a shelter.)”
“I found Luna online. My parents didn’t have to pay anything as she was free. We went up and I met Luna. It was love at first sight. That was four years ago. Luna has grown into a very loving and sweet cat.” – Catqueen25
Some also pointed out the importance of parental consent.
“NTA! I would beat my siblings’/in-law’s a**es if they tried this s**t! You don’t get a child anything living without parental consent. Ever.” – ScarletRegalia
“Also OP wasn’t ‘betraying [sister’s] own trust.’ That trust was betrayed when she bought guinea pigs for a 7-year-old, without even providing them a place to sleep!” – Perspex_Sea
“Only a**holes give a child pets without the kid’s parents full knowledge and enthusiastic consent to take on that burden – including potential vet bills which can be startling even for small furries – for the next however long.”
“Strong NTA. Her actions and words are both completely unacceptable.”
“You didn’t betray your daughter’s trust. You modeled good, responsible, humane decision-making and put the guinea pigs’ needs first.” – RafRafRafRaf
“I work at Petco and on several occasions, we have refused to sell someone an animal when we learned that they were getting it for a kid without the parents’ approval. We tell them all the same thing. Animals are only appropriate gifts if the parents are aware and approve of said animal and if the child is capable and mature enough to take care of the said animal.” – CelticFire28
The father wasn’t sure what to think after what his sister said, but the subReddit reassured him that he was not in the wrong for finding the guinea pigs a new home. While it might have been nice to keep them because the daughter loved them so much, her love didn’t necessarily mean that her home was the right one for the animals.
Being rehomed with someone who knew the precise care they needed, and invited the young girl to visit them, sounded like a much better fit.