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Mom Tells Sister To Leave Service Dog At Home Because She Can’t Stop Her Kids From Petting It

Photo by Dzmitry Dudov/Unsplash

Who doesn’t love a dog?

Dogs are the best.

Nothing against cats, love them too.

But dogs are so snuggly.

And they love love.

But too many people take advantage of that and try too much with dogs.

You’re not really suppose to just touch other people’s pets without permission.

That can lead to trouble.

Case in point…

Redditor No_Decision5157 wanted to discuss her story for some feedback. So naturally she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for refusing to go to family gatherings at sister’s house over my service dog and her kids?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My (35 F[emale]) sister (27 F) has three small children (5 F and twins 3 M[ale]).”

“I have a service dog for C[omplex] P[ost]-T[raumatic] S[tress] D[isorder], it is not an ’emotional support animal’ it’s an actual psychiatric service dog for my CPTSD.”

“Last time I came with my service dog her children kept trying to pet her.”

“Since she is a service dog she is not aggressive in any way so I’m not worried about her biting the children.”

“But when she is working the petting is distracting to her and I need the dog to be able to focus on its tasks.”

“Now the vest is not on 24/7 when the vest is off she gets to be a regular dog, when the vest is on that’s her signal to her that she’s working.”

“So I don’t mind the kids petting her when her vest is off, but when the vest is on she needs to be left alone.”

“My sister claims it’s too much of a temptation for her kids to not pet her and even when she tells them ‘no’ she can’t ‘referee every single second.'”

“Because the second she turns her back to do something that she needs to do the kids will try to pet the dog and she.”

“‘Can’t be perfect with stopping them every single time, because they’re fast and it only takes a second of my back being turned.'”

“When I told them ‘no’ her kids cried and she didn’t like that.”

“She said when coming to her house I either need to leave the dog at home or let the kids pet her.”

“I told her I don’t mind them petting her when her vest is off as that means she’s not working but when the vest is on hands need to be off.”

“She said it should be no big deal to leave the dog at home because ‘it’s just a psychiatric dog it’s not like you’re blind or something.'”

“I was so hurt I hung up on her after telling her that I would no longer go to her house under these conditions.”

“My parents think I should just leave the dog at home to keep the peace and don’t understand why I just can’t leave the dog at home.”

“They aren’t taking it seriously because it’s for mental health rather than physical health (such as blindness).”

“I told them until she can control her kids I will not be coming.”


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

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA, kids need to learn how to respect animals and their boundaries early.”

“What of they did that to a stranger’s dog and it bit them?”

“Or like yours, is a working dog and the owner flips out on them?”

“Just because it’s tempting doesn’t mean they should do it.”

“Fire is tempting but I don’t stick my hand in it. Boundaries are important.”  ~ Dear_Rhubarb8716

“She needs to raise her kids better.”

“If the dog is smart enough to understand that it’s working and can’t play when the vest is on then I’m sure her 5-year-old can understand that.”

“The 3-year-olds shouldn’t even be in a position where they could be around an animal without supervision.”

“So that’s just her own crappy parenting there too. NTA.”  ~ SouthernComrade53

“I only pet dogs without asking when the dog approaches me and is clearly asking for pets (tail wagging, head butting my knees).”

“I’d never just walk up and start manhandling someone’s dog; that’s a great way to get yourself bitten.”

“People are so dumb and rude sometimes.”

“I always tell people not to pet my cat because she will absolutely get scared and bite.”

“She doesn’t like being touched; only my husband and I can pet her, and only when she asks for pets.”

“SO MANY PEOPLE have insisted on petting her anyway when my back is turned and then are all shocked when she bites them.”

“Like?? What did I just say?”

“Leave other people’s animals alone.”  ~ boudicas_shield

“NTA. I have 3 Kids 8, 6 (with Autism) and 4 and i could guarantee you my children wouldn’t pet your dog.”

“It is something children have to learn early.”

“Not every dog wants to be Patted. Your sister has to learn to set boundaries.” ~ Aggravating-Deer1445

“Right? We taught my nieces early – ask the owner if it’s okay to pet.”

“If so then ask the dog through body language if they want to be pet.”

“They only had to hear it once and they formed the habit for all future animal encounters.”

“A kid running up and glomping a random dog is incredibly dangerous.”

“It’s like teaching a kid to not touch the stove because it could be hot.”  ~ joyfall

“NTA. She’s not doing her kids any favors by not reinforcing that if a dog’s owner.”

“Not even a service dog; just an ordinary pet – says you can’t pet the dog right now, you don’t get to pet the dog.”

“The ableism is just crap frosting on an already terrible cake.”  ~ mm172

“NTA .I cant believe how much she minimized your condition.”

“Also, she couldn’t teach her kids NO PETTING?”

“It should be that way with EVERY dog.”

“What happens if they come across an aggressive dog??”

“She’s an AH for not teaching her kids better.”

“ETA… I don’t mean no petting dogs ever.”

“I mean asking permission to do so before petting, you don’t just pet random people’s dogs.”  ~ No-Rub1544

“NTA. I am going to make a potentially controversial statement (for reddit at least) – no-one is entitled to pet another person’s animal without explicit permission.”

“Especially so when it’s a service animal and technically an expensive piece of medical equipment.”  ~ ChaiSlytherin

“NTA. First off, thank you for clarifying that this isn’t an ’emotional support animal.'”

“It makes this easier to understand.”

“The thing you’re asking for is perfectly reasonable.”

“Kids aren’t stupid, and the physical presence of a vest on a dog isn’t something you can miss.”

“Kids just naturally test boundaries, but with a little effort from their mother, they would understand and be better for it.”

“People shouldn’t be approaching dogs and petting them without the owner’s permission, service dog or not.”

“Unfortunately, your sister and parents are saying that you should forgo something that has been deemed medically necessary for your mental health.”

“So she doesn’t have to experience the inconvenience of parenting her own children.”

“To be honest she’s not just being a bad sister, she’s being a bad mom.”

“But maybe don’t call her a bad mom. I don’t think it would help.”  ~ thefanciestcat

“NTA. Whether the dog is working or not isn’t the point. the point is, IT’S YOUR DOG.”

“You should be able to take your dog out without it getting swarmed.”

“If your sister wants her kids to have a pet, she should get them a f**king pet, not encourage them to pet YOUR dog.”

“If she refuses to parent them or even supervise them properly, there is no reason to bring your dog there.”

“And given your condition, there’s no reason for YOU to go there.”

“It will only aggravate your condition to have to right someone so entitled and hostile about a dog that isn’t theirs.”

“You are absolutely right, and all this bulls**t about ‘keeping the peace?'”

“That’s something enablers say to protect the narcissist in the family.”

“Why isn’t she telling your SISTER to stop having her kids all over your dog, to KEEP THE PEACE?”  ~ AbbyFB6969

“NTA, I trained my kid from a toddler to leave service animals alone.”

“Its not a hard concept you start with ‘asking permission’ before petting someones dog.”  ~ Current-Read

“Your sister is being dismissive and unfair.”

“You are under no obligation to leave a needed service animal at home because someone else won’t teach their kids. NTA.”  ~ Lurker_the_Pip

“NTA!! You have set your boundary, don’t let anyone stomp on it.”

“Mental health is every bit as important as physical health.”

“To be honest, your family sort of sucks at supporting you if they think it’s acceptable to leave your service dog at home.”

“Don’t go anywhere without your service dog.”

“Keep to the rules of the dog’s vest with regard to showing the animal affection.”

“If anyone wants to steam roll your rules, they can do without your presence.”

“Pretty soon they’ll fall in line if they want to see you socially.”  ~ lkwinchester

Well OP, Reddit hears you and seems to agree.

Your sister and family need to understand the reasons for a helper pet.

And you sister may need a crash course in responsible parenting.

Good luck.