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Woman Called Out For Paying For Her Dog’s Surgery After Refusing To Pay For Her Mother’s

Jamie Street on Unsplash

Redditor ElkBig9945 is a 23-year-old female who was raised with the belief turning 18 meant she was a full-fledged adult who was responsible for independently supporting herself.

But when she suddenly had to financially take care of her pet dog’s emergency surgery, she was criticized for her priorities.

The ensuing drama from family members prompted her to visit the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, where she asked:

“AITA for paying for my dog’s surgery but not my mother’s?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (female, 23) was raised by 2 parents who believe that being a parent ends once the child turns 18.”

“The moment I turned 18 I was forced to pay rent and for all other costs associated with my survival if you will. I ended up moving out until I graduated high school and moved in my college dorm.”

“Me and my parents have monthly contact but nothing deep or below surface level.”

“My mother has a mass that needs to be removed and I believe is cancerous. My parents have good health insurance but will still have significant out-of-pocket costs.”

“My father called me and told me that they needed help with money, the whole ‘she’s your mother and would do the same for you’ talk. I did want to help but told him that I didn’t have the money readily available, only in my savings so I didn’t end up contributing and they got a loan I believe.”

“Last week, my dog needed surgery to remove a foreign body she swallowed. It happened so fast I ended up using a large chunk of my savings to pay for it.”

“My father found out and called me awful names, and said I’d rather my mother die/be in debt and put an animals life over my own mother. I didn’t agree and have been ignoring his calls since, but other family members are messaging me because they think I don’t care it my mother lives or dies.”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

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

Many Redditors believed the OP made the decision that was right for her.

“Your saving is there for your emergencies, not your parents. Who kicks out their 18 year high school student before they even graduate? I thought that wasn’t legal.”

“And where was that, ‘she’s your mother and would do the same for you’ when you were starting out? Had you wiped out your saving for you mom, I doubt they would have helped out when you needed money for your dog.”

“NTA.” – bCaliforniaJade

“NTA. Your dog is your dependent. Your parents are not.”

“While I’m all about supporting family these people effectively raised you until 18 and then waved you off. They did the bare minimum, and I don’t know why they’re expecting more from you tbh.” – Full_Worldliness1480

“Can confirm, it’s infuriating. I moved out on my 18th birthday because while I already had a job and paid for my cell phone, clothing, school books, food and car, I was also expected to start paying market rate rent at 18 while I was going to college.”

“Which they told me one month before my birthday! They also claimed me on their taxes so I couldn’t receive financial aid, and refused to put any money towards my education.”

“I said f’k that and moved in with a friend, worked and went to school full time. Now I’m doing pretty well and my family jokes about how I should ‘buy them a nice house when they retire’ and I should get the check at every dinner as a way to ‘start paying them back.'”

“It’s just so f’king tone deaf. They insist they ‘taught me responsibility’ and imply I wouldn’t be where I am without their life lessons, meanwhile I literally had to succeed despite them. I was on the verge of a breakdown for years due to the stress of working full time to pay for school and knowing I had no safety net. F’k parents like this, and f’k their sense of superiority.” – mr_trick

“Right. Like had she given them the savings, then had to ask for financial assistance for the vet bill, they probably would have let her dog die. NTA.” – MissBlaize

“You made a promise to take care of your pet. Your parents made a similar one when they decided to be parents but then they reneged on it. You are under no obligation to pay for the surgery of someone who didn’t even care about you enough to make sure you would be successful while transitioning to adulthood.” – ACanadianSnack

“OP not paying for Mom’s surgery didn’t cause Mom to die. OP not paying for the dog’s surgery would have caused the dog’s death. There’s not a comparison.” – Alternative_Year_340

“OP is NTA.”

“I moved out when I was 15 due to having to pay rent living in the unheated garage of a townhouse. Back in those days it wasn’t uncommon to help out when you went to work. My problem was they insisted on 3/4 of my check (for household bills they called my share) not leaving any money to buy needed clothing or save for college.”

“I ended up joining the service later so I could go to college. Even then they demanded I send money home supposedly to be put into savings for when I got out. After sending it for a year while I was stationed in Hawaii. When I came home on leave I asked what the total was and got a blank stare. They had spent it! I never sent anything home after that.”

“When Christmas rolled around, they called me because they thought something happened to the presents since they hadn’t arrived yet. I told them they were in the bank with the savings account they lied about. I did send my sister and grandparents something that year.”

“Don’t be bitter at your folks, I was for years and it didn’t help make things easier. Mine are gone now and I would love to hear their voices again.”

“Take care of your doggy, it depends on you and returns more love then you could ask for.” – Willy3726


“The animal that can’t take care of itself, that you’ve committed to caring for, always wins out over the mother who only took care of you as long as was legally necessary and at her age should have the money saved to cover her max OOP for the year.”

“And even if you didn’t have a dog, there’s no shame about prioritizing your financial well-being! Don’t feel guilty at all.” – honey-smile

Overall, Redditors said taking care of her dog was more of a priority and, therefore, more urgent at that moment.

They also believed it was unfair for other family members to pressure her with guilt for not financially helping with her mother’s medical costs.

In an update, the OP thanked everyone for their input in the thread. She also informed readers her dog was recovering well from the surgery.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo