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Woman Furious After Girlfriend Brings Her Dog Over To Try To ‘Cure’ Younger Brother’s Fear Of Dogs

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When you really love animals, it can be difficult to understand that for some people, animals are their greatest fear.

And when it comes to pets, people often think that their special animal will be the one to cure others of their fears if they just give the pet a chance.

A woman on Reddit found herself in the middle of this type of situation when her girlfriend brought her dog over, against her explicit instructions, in order to “cure” her younger brother of his severe fear of dogs.

Things went really sideways really fast, and in the end, the Original Poster (OP), who goes by throwAwaY112_1 on the site, wasn’t quite sure about how she handled things. So she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

OP asked:

“AITA for not allowing my gf and her dog to enter my house?”

She explained:

“I (29F[emale) have been dating my gf (Tina-27F) for two years. Tina has a dog, a German Shepard named Cookie that I adore. He’s a big dog and I was a bit intimidated at first as I‘ve never really been around dogs but he’s such a sweetheart.”

“Anyways, my brother, Jaden (17M[ale]) is staying with me for a few days because our parents had an emergency in a different city and because of a few reasons, he isn’t allowed to be alone for too long. Jaden is absolutely terrified of dogs. He’s working on this fear and he used to be much worse.”

“I told Tina that she couldn’t bring Cookie over to my house while Jaden was home because he was scared of dogs and she went ‘yeah yeah don’t worry about it’.”

“I believed she understood just how terrified he was as I made it very clear to her but I was absolutely shocked when she showed up at my house with Cookie.”

“I tried giving her the benefit of the doubt and reminded her that Jaden was inside but she said she was here because of Jaden. Apparently she read some post about how this girl went from fearing dogs to loving them after being forced to stay in a room with one. I explained to her why that was absolutely ridiculous with many reasons but she was INSISTING on trying.”

“I assume my brother heard us and Cookie’s barking because he came up to me and asked what was happening. I tried closing the door to explain but Tina kept it open and he saw Cookie. He tried to stay calm but the second he sensed the fact that Cookie was about to run in, he ran straight to his room and had a bit of a panic attack.”

“I’m thankful Tina had Cookie on a leash but I was extremely upset. I asked her if this was what she wanted and slammed the door in her face. I was very frustrated as the only one able to calm Jaden down is our mom and she was hours away. I managed but I was still upset.”

“Tina called me later saying I was really rude to her when all she was trying to do was help. Apparently I was dramatic and made her feel like her feelings are worthless. She said she didn’t mean to scare Jaden but heal him and that if I had let her into the house then she would’ve ‘cured’ him and there wouldn’t have been a problem.”

“Now, I love dogs and especially Cookie but I doubt this would’ve solved anything. I tried telling her this but she’s convinced I’m the a**hole. Am I?”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

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

And no surprise here–most of them were firmly on OP’s side and thought her girlfriend was way out of line.

“Wtf did I just read? NTA”

“She’s not a Dr but she read one story online and thinks she can decide to ambush a minor?! Wtf is wrong with her?”

“Your poor brother. Did she stop to think this might have some long term physiological effects on him? Probably not because she knows how to google and decide what’s best for others.” –HPNerd44

“Mate, I’m a psychologist, and you would be amazed at how much misinformation is out there about mental health and treatment. Everyone thinks they’re an expert.” –CoyoteZero

“NTA.”

“Exposure therapy is real, sure. But it’s done under supervision with a qualified professional and usually like.. a lab or retriever puppy, or a dog specially trained for the purpose.”

“Not some random girl with a fully grown, large-breed random untrained dog.”

“Good on you for setting the boundaries and sticking to them.”

“How’s Jaden doing now?” –Amaranth_Addams

“Yup this is like someone reading that small doses of an allergen can help someone ‘overcome an allergy’, disregarding the fact that there is medical supervision involved, there are micro doses and the increases are gradual and controlled, etc.”

“It certainly isn’t license for John Doe to get a jar of peanut butter and tell someone with a peter allergy to have a little peanut butter so they get used to their allergen 🙄” –lilpanda20

“NTA but an excellent sibling.”

“Your girlfriend may have heard about therapies but that isn’t it. For starters they would use a calm gentle dog, Cookie doesn’t sound that, especially as they were barking outside.”

“More crucially they are based in consent. The person with the aversion choses to go into that situation with support. How would she feel if she were randomly confronted with a crocodile?”

“Girl needs to learn about boundaries, you didn’t over react. You protected your brother who was already no doubt out of his comfort zone being not at home.” –kibthing5

“Is Tina a licensed therapist who specializes in dog phobia? No, then she needs to back the fu*k off. You told her about the situation and she just danced right over your boundary and is now gaslighting you like she did nothing wrong.” –Forseti555666

“NTA. Tina thinks spending a little time with her dog would “cure” him of being afraid? Naw, Tina is the a**hole. Your brother tried and whatever progress he has made on this just got slapped back.”

“Her feelings are worthless? Ask her why are Jaden’s feelings worthless? Because that’s what she did. She considered his feelings worthless and that her’s were not.”

“Take this to heart OP. SHE WANTED TO LOCK YOUR BROTHER IN A ROOM WITH A DOG HE DOES NOT KNOW. Because she read something on the internet.”

“She boundary stomped an extremely important boundary. It was not only your boundary, it was your brother’s boundary as well. Proceed with caution OP. What else will she try to do just because she read it on the internet.” –Apprehensive-Two3474

“NTA”

“You were never rude – she was.”

“Consider it a major red flag that your boundaries don’t matter to her. She’ll ignore what you, put you in an awkward position, and then try to gaslight you when she doesn’t get her way. It’s a major character fault that will not be limited to this one scenario.” –Maskydoo

“NTA. Some people have phobias and can’t control their reactions well when facing them.”

“I for example and am terrified by spiders.”

“When people at my old work found out, they started catching them and putting them under a glass on my desk – fu*k that place.” –LiterallyTyping

“I’m guessing your girlfriend is not a therapist or similar and that cookie isn’t a therapy animal. If this is the case You are Nta and she could have done more harm than good regarding your brothers fear of dogs.” –Impressive_Primary18

“NTA, what an insensitive horrible thing for her to do. She clearly has no boundaries and needs them. I am a dog lover, and I have a breed people are very often afraid of. I would NEVER expect someone scared of my dogs to be pressed past their comfort zone. Only HE gets to decide if and when he wants to work on his fear of dogs.” –AnarchyAcid

“NTA- id consider this as a red flag that you put up a boundary and she completely ignored it. Your gf was rude and it sounds like her ego was hurt that you didn’t accept her ‘advise'” –LiveHyena3841

“NTA Exposure therapy should only be attempted by a mental health professional who has determined that it may be helpful for a particular client. It should not be attempted by a random dog owner who just arbitrarily decided to ignore the express directions of Jaden’s temporary guardian.” –puppyfarts99

“NTA. Exposure therapy works when it’s done right. Having someone who is terrified of dogs suddenly be exposed and spend time with one without their consent would be horrifying.”

“Your girlfriend turning it about herself and how her feelings are hurt is a res flag for me. She doesn’t see that she caused more harm than good and doesn’t even think she did anything wrong.”

“And also, there’s no easy way to cure a fear. It’s a long and difficult journey that can’t be done by leaving Jaden and Cookie in a room for one day. I wouldn’t suggest you break up with her. But if that happened to me, I would dump my partner for disregarding my sibling’s feelings and fears.” –DeepDarkBlues96

Hopefully OP’s girlfriend can learn to be a bit more respectful of people’s boundaries.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.