Having an emotional support animal is a huge responsibility. You still need to train them, take care of them, feed them, and make sure they have a good life.
It is a lot of work.
Sometimes kids fail to understand that, or get swept up with the idea of having a puppy.
Redditor ExchangeSuccessful21 encountered this very issue with her daughter. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for refusing to get my daughter an emotional support animal?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I won’t be using names or ages in this post.”
“So, me and my husband live with our daughter, and I’d like to think that our house has been decorated very well. We’ve spent a lot of money on furniture, good appliances, the kitchen, the bathroom etc.”
“Recently, our daughter’s therapist recommended an emotional support animal for our daughter, due to her anxiety issues. Now I was under the impression that cat’s fell under the umbrella of an emotional support animal, which would have been ideal, since we have a 1 year old Maine Coon cat.”
“However, the therapist recommended a dog specifically, since our daughter would be able to take the dog to school and into shops etc.”
“The problem with that is the fact that I’m not a dog lover to say the very least, and the idea of bringing one into my home fills me with dread. Before people tell me the dog can be trained: I get that, but the fact still remains that I just don’t like dogs.”
“My daughter think’s I’m basically the devil for not getting her a dog, since she thinks it would really help her in her day to day life. My brother also sided with my daughter, saying that I need to stop being so vain with regards to my house.”
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.
“Ok so, an ESA cannot go to school, cannot go in the store and do not have the necessary qualifications to accompany her to work.”
“It can be as badly trained as she wants unless it’s a true ‘service animal’ trained for guidance or a specific medical alert or task. ESA’s are not needs and I have an emotional support dog.”
“He’s for home and places where dogs go. Not the shop not work and not restaurant”
“ETA NTA. ESAs that go everywhere give people with legitimate service animals a terrible rep.” ~ Sandybutthole604
“Yep. A companion and a service animal are very different. Having a cat at home to soothe and comfort is wonderful. A dog who goes everywhere with her isn’t the same thing.” ~ crazycatleslie
One Redditor was particularly passionate about this issue.
“I wish the therapist understood this before suggesting it to OPs daughter and putting it in her head that that is what a ESA can do when in fact it can’t.”
“Now this will probably deregulate the daughter and twist OP to be the bad guy (as seen already). The therapist was way out of bounds imo and shouldn’t have talked or suggested something they didn’t fully understand.”
“I recommend OP research and request a family appointment with the therapist to talk about the ESA (but don’t say about not getting one, just that you want ‘more info’ on the benefits and talk together at once) and OP bring information to the appointment showing that they don’t get the same ‘privileges’ as actual service animals and it wont help her daughter as ‘advertised’ by the therapist.”
“The dog won’t come pre-trained, OP won’t pay for training so it would be on her daughter, her daughter can’t take it out everywhere like the therapist suggested and I would scold the therapist for giving misinformation.”
“OP IMO your daughter isn’t necessarily the AH.”
“She was given misinformation by a professional that she trusted and the misinformation was given as an attempt to help het anxiety. So with that misinformation, from her perspective, it seems like you don’t care or don’t want to help.”
“You need to get the therapist to retract the statement genuinely once they realize their mistake (as your daughter heard it from them/they are the ‘professional’) and at the same time provide proof to BOTH of them that what the therapist said was false.”
“That while you want to help your daughter, a dog is a lot more responsibility than a cat and it wont be able to do the things she was hoping it could (like go into stores with her).”
“Education and getting the therapist involved is the best way to mend the situation IMO.”
“Also (hopefully just as a last resort) possibly even get the therapists manager involved if they have one and if the therapist refuses to retract their statement despite having proof they are incorrect.”
“Edit: If OP got service animal and ESA mixed up or there was a miscommunication on terms even from the daughter’s end, the family appointment would help clear up any misunderstandings on what was and what wasn’t suggested by the therapist.”
“However I do suggest that OP be prepared that if the therapist actually did mean service animal and their daughter miscommunication that, then OP needs to look at what is best for her daughter. It would be an AH move to deprive her of a service animal if her anxiety is bad enough to affected her life to the point that a therapist or doctor recommend it to help her get through the day.”
“Edit2 : Also if it is a service animal that is required/was recommended they cost a lot of money. So OP if you cant afford one right now that wouldn’t make you an AH for not getting one as other necessities and expenses would need to come first.”
“This is something to look more into and find out the logistics about if it was a service dog recommended. It would make you an AH if you could afford one but refuse to get one due to just not liking dogs or more worried about your house.”
“I recommend seeing if family could help pool in money to get a service dog (including your brother who was all for helping her get one) if you need money for one. Although no guarantees it would be enough or that anyone would help, and also make it clear to family it would be a service dog for just your daughter, NOT a pet, so they don’t assume its a ‘family dog’ that can be shared between everyone in the household even though they pitched in money.”
“And make sure you could afford the dog in general after you get them as they need food, possible vet bills/insurance, harnesses/collars, etc.”
“Talk to the therapist, get more information and education on service animals/their training plus their costs. This could potentially put your mind at ease about them OP and let you make an informed decision in the future for both you and your daughter.” ~ TheoryAddict
OP shouldn’t have a dog if she doesn’t want one.