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Redditor Balks After Germophobic Brother-In-Law Won’t Let Them Bring Dog On Family Vacation

A couple walks their dog
Westend61/Getty Images

Animals are family too.

And that can cause a few issues when it comes to family and kids.

This is when boundaries begin, and drama starts.

Case in point…

Redditor DancePanda2 wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“WIBTA for pulling out of a family vacation if my dog can’t go?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Background: My B[rother] I[n] L[aw] Thomas has really bad O[bsessive] C[ompulsive] D[isorder]  especially regarding his daughter (Ellie – 1) and our dog (2-year-old lab – Bella).”

“After his daughter was born, we all found out that he has really bad issues with germs.”

“He’s super careful with sanitizing and limiting germ exposure.”

“For example, if they go out to eat, he spends like 20 minutes wiping down the high chair before letting Ellie sit in it, or if she goes to the playground, he changes her clothes right when they get home.”

“We have a dog who we view as our child.”

“Thomas hates bringing Ellie around our dog because of the germs.”

“Whenever we get together for family dinners, he used to just hold Ellie, or make us lock Bella up in a different part of the house so that Ellie could run around.”

“He’s starting to realize that that isn’t sustainable, so he’s slowly becoming more comfortable with Ellie running around while Bella is around.”

“To clarify, Bella mostly leaves Ellie alone.”

“Even though he’s slowly warming up to it, he still refuses to come to our house because of Bella, and even asked us to leave Bella at home when we got together for Christmas (we said no, she’s family).”

The OP moved on to the current drama.

“The story: My husband (Bobby) really wants to go on a trip with his family this summer to a lake.”

“We talked it over with his parents and decided to rent a houseboat, and my F[ather] I[n] L[aw] said he would take care of the cost of the houseboat and us kids were going to split the gas.”

“Bobby was talking to his sister (Amber – Thomas’ wife) today, and she mentioned that Thomas had said that if Bella is going, they’re not.”

“I guess Thomas is worried about Ellie and Bella being in such close quarters with each other and is worried about Bella accidentally hurting Ellie.”

“The example he gave was Bella accidentally pushing Ellie off the boat.”

“Bobby tried talking with her, and she’s going to talk to Thomas and see if we can convince him that everyone involved will be safe.”

“There are guardrails on the boat so no one can accidentally go overboard. And make sure he knows that both Bella and Ellie will be under constant supervision, especially when they’re together.”

“Not only that, but we want to do some training with Bella and Ellie in the next couple of months before the trip to make sure they are comfortable around each other since they really don’t have a chance to be with each other without Thomas intervening.”

“There is an extra fee of $30/day for pets that we’re planning on paying, which is a lot cheaper than if we were to put her in a pet hotel for the trip.”

“And we don’t have any other family or friends that can watch her either.”

“So besides just wanting to bring her because she would have so much fun, it’s also easier (and cheaper) for us to bring her with us.”

“Bobby is worried that his dad is going to tell us not to bring Bella so that Amber and Thomas will come on the trip.”

“And I told Bobby that he should tell his dad that if Bella isn’t coming, then neither are we, which might make us the AH.”

“So, WIBTA if we say we’re not going if Bella can’t come?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole… but with a few caveats. 

“NAH. If you don’t want to go without your dog, that’s your decision.”

“If your brother-in-law doesn’t want to go with the dog, that’s his decision.”

“If your father-in-law and mother-in-law are paying for the trip, then it’s reasonable for them to ask a dog not to go.”

“Especially if it means they get to take the trip with their grandchild.”

“I know your dog is like a child to you, but that doesn’t mean it is to everyone else and that everyone else has to act accordingly.”

“In your own home is one thing, but this is a joint vacation you’re all agreeing to take together.”  ~ HarperStrings

“Couldn’t have said it better.”

“Not everyone likes dogs, gotta deal with it.”

“And this is coming from a dog owner.”

“I don’t know what this obsession is with everyone trying to force their dogs on people.”

“He doesn’t like dogs, he established that boundary.”

“You are also free to establish your boundaries, so I guess you can tell your husband y’all are not going on this houseboat vacation then.”  ~ Separate-Beyond5706

“I was about to ask this because I could swear I’ve been told that current child-rearing guidelines say sanitizing everything and not exposing children to germs or dirt can weaken their immune system or be damaging?”

“Obviously things should be clean, or if they spit their dummy on the ground, then it needs a clean before they get it back, but not allowing a child to be a child and limiting their interaction with the world around them doesn’t sound good for their development.”

“Is BIL not going to let his daughter play in the sand?”

“Will he allow her to go to daycare or school where most kids start getting lots of illnesses and building their tolerance to germs?”

“He doesn’t sound very well at all.”

“Man needs some help.”

“He’s not an a-hole for being concerned about the dog, but OP isn’t an one either.”

“I agree with NAH, but Thomas doesn’t sound like he’s alright.”  ~ Lulubelle__007

“To be fair if the kid is 1 or less then his partner was pregnant and had the baby during the pandemic.”

“Wiping down a public baby chair might have absolutely nothing to do with the dog and the dad being worried about the baby getting Covid.”

“Unless the dads said it’s specifically the dog – assume Covid.”

“Like what do you think when someone uses hand sanitizer or goes to wash their hands after coming in?”

“You’re absolutely right that being a hypochondriac-level germophobe is not a healthy way to live.”

“But other than OP saying they are and then giving an example of what any parent would do, during the pandemic, and then wanting to avoid the dog.”

“This all implies that the dad just does not like dogs.”

“And that’s fine. Dogs are dirty.”

“I love my little dogs.”

“They cover everything in hair and dirt.”

“I’m ok with that.”

“I do not expect other people to be ok with that or my dogs messing up their pant legs trying to say hello.”

“I do not expect other people to treat my dogs as family members.”  ~ M89-90M89-90

“Totally 100% this!”

“However, if you start insisting your dog go in place of someone’s child then a big huge YTA.”

“And I say this as someone with a ‘dog child’ and a ‘human child,’ my human child still comes first!”

“Also, your initial comment about BIL having OCD was quite telling; if he doesn’t have this and is just quite nervous and particular around his child then YTA for using an incredibly serious mental health condition to further your own comments.”

“Also YTA if he does have this condition.”

“As unless you have experience of this you cannot possibly know how truly debilitating it is.”

“And the fact that he is warming up to his child being around the dog in any way is a huge thing, and something that will have taken an incredible amount of work for him and for you to force that in an intense situation would make you an AH.”

“I’m not saying you should be aiding in avoidance practices for him, but you can also be more understanding.”

“Also YTA for putting parents in a choose my dog or their kid position; when it’s really my kid or their kid as either way they miss time with one human grandchild.”  ~ Sea_Asparagus_3523

“Gonna be honest.”

“No one but you guys wants your dog around at every single family trip and event.”

“She’s a pet, not a child. Obviously, grandparents would rather their grandkid came than your dog.”

“That’s not normal, and you seem entitled to believe you should be able to bring your dog to every single thing. YTA.” ~ Striking_Ad_6573

“NAH, this doesn’t sound like a feasible vacation.”

“It sounds like you’re better off seeing each other for an afternoon at a restaurant or something so you can leave Bella at home.”

“You aren’t compatible travel companions, and that’s okay.”

“I get it, I don’t travel without my dog either because he can’t be boarded, but that’s not my family’s problem.”

“I would just not go on such a vacation because the dog is my responsibility and it wouldn’t work for any of us for me to bring him.”  ~ ADawg28

OP had a response…

“ETA: I mentioned this in a comment, but we do have a 4-month-old human baby as well as the 2-year-old dog.”

“So there is no jealousy that they have a baby and we don’t or a lack of understanding about having a dog and baby together in the same space.”

Well OP, Reddit is riled up on this issue.

But it seems like they’re on your side… for the most part.

There is a lot of family discussion to have.