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Woman Called ‘Selfish’ For Refusing To Go To Brother’s Birthday If She Can’t Bring Anxious Dog

A woman sits in the park holding her german sheperd

Animals are a huge responsibility to take on.

People often don’t grasp that fact.

That’s why so many people say it’s like having a kid, and it often feels that way.

Like humans, some animals struggle.

And they have needs that need attending to.

That can cause some issues.

Case in point…

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

She asked:

“WIBTA for not attending my brother‘s birthday party because I can‘t bring my dog?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (28 F[emale]) have a three-year-old German Shepherd (Lou) who is the sweetest dog I‘ve ever met.”

“She’s very cuddly and loving once she‘s gotten used to you.”

“However, she was abused as a puppy and has separation anxiety.”

“(EDIT: we’ve been working with a professional trainer, and she’s been making improvements) but currently, leaving her home alone for more than an hour simply isn‘t possible.”

“(EDIT: and my brother lives 45 minutes away).”

“It‘s hard to gain her trust, so getting someone to watch her on short notice is nearly impossible.”

“The last time I visited my brother (39 M[ale]), his wife (42 F) stepped on Lou‘s tale, and quite obviously, it hurt.”

“She didn‘t bite or even try to do so, but she barked quite loudly before running to hide behind me.”

“I asked my S[ister] I[n] L[aw] whether she was alright, and she said she was.”

“So I didn’t think anything else of it.”

“After all, she‘d known Lou for almost two years before the incident.”

“But when my brother invited me to his birthday party next weekend, he told me to leave Lou at home.”

“And when I asked for the reason, he told me SIL thought she was too aggressive to be around the guests.”

“She isn‘t, but it‘s their house, their rules, and I want to respect her wishes, so I simply called my usual dog sitter, who told me that, unfortunately, they weren’t available.”

“Anyone else who has watched Lou in the past will also be at my brother‘s party, so I don‘t have anyone to watch her.”

“I told my brother I could either…”

“a) bring Lou and keep her on a leash at all times, or…”

“b) take Lou with me and take turns with my mum walking her around the neighborhood so I could be able to stay a bit without his wife having to face my dog, or…”

“c) come over (with Lou in the car) to congratulate him and bring over his present but leave shortly afterward as I don‘t want her to be alone in the car for more than 15 minutes.”

“He told me that he didn’t like any of these options because his wife didn’t want my ‘aggressive dog’ on their property, in their driveway, or in their neighborhood in general.”

“I apologized and told him if that were the case, I wouldn’t be able to come at all.”

“He has told me he’s disappointed, but especially my SIL has been bombarding me with texts about how I was selfish for putting my dog before my brother.”

“And that I was an AH of a sister to do that to him on his 40th birthday.”

“I think I have proposed reasonable enough compromises, and because all of them were declined, I don’t see what other options I have left except for staying home.”

“But in the end, I‘d still like to hear the opinions of unbiased internet strangers to be sure.”


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 would NOT be the A**hole.

“NAH. Your dog is preventing you from attending some social event: if that is how you want your life to be, then it’s only up to you.”

“Sucks for your friends and family, but that’s your decision.”

“You cannot be forced to abandon your pet, but you cannot force people to be around him.”  ~ MaybeAWalrus

“SIL is TA for simultaneously refusing to have the dog anywhere in the vicinity AND berating OP for not attending.”

“Wanting to have it both ways is a di*k move.”  ~ Much_Class_828

“I think not wanting the dog around many guests is a wise decision.”

“It is a dog that has trust issues, and you are going to put it in a situation with a lot of people, some the dog may not know, possibly a lot of noise, and such?”

“So even if it is not so aggressive, it is wise.”

“Also, it is a big dog, and not all people are comfortable around big dogs.”

“I think not having the dog there is a wise decision.”

“But OP can’t just kill the dog because it is inconvenient.”

“It is unreasonable to try and force her to abandon the poor animal.”

“For me, they are the AH, not because they don’t want the dog.”

“I think that is reasonable.”

“Although saying in the whole neighborhood that is also an exaggeration, they are the AH because the only solution for them is to be somehow cruel to the dog.”

“OP already has the dog, OP didn’t get it just before the party.”

“You don’t get rid of a living being just because it is not convenient at all times. NTA.” ~ SkyLightk23

“Foreword, I love animals and never thought I’d be in this situation.”

“My uncle and his wife swear they have a sweet dog and refuse to leave it at home because of separation anxiety.”

“However, the dog has escaped and killed all of their neighbor’s chickens, bit me unprovoked (through jeans, and I still have a scar two months later), and bit them unprovoked.”

“Those are the incidents I know of, I am sure there are more.”

“I’ve told him that if his stupid mutt bites me again, I’ll take him to court to have it put down as the nuclear option.”

“I ask if he either leaves the dog at home or muzzles it as the professionals advise.”

“He has chosen to avoid events I attend instead, much like OP.”

“If OP’s dog wasn’t aggressive, she could easily board it or find a dog sitter.”

“I suspect professionals agree with her SIL, though, and refuse to have the dog as a client.”

“If we disbelieve the SIL, I think we should also disbelieve OP because pet owners often have a hard time accepting their pet is unsafe.”  ~ Zaeter

“I’m a rescue volunteer; I do behavior work with dogs and have a lot of experience working with abused dogs.”

“It is absolutely possible that OP’s dog cannot be boarded or left with a stranger.”

“Ask any trainer, separation anxiety is the most difficult behavior issue to address, and it takes time, usually a year minimum.”

“The dog can also have stranger danger and be anxious around a sitter he doesn’t know.”

“And that anxiety could come out in all sorts of destructive ways.”

“I know a professional trainer who has a dog with stranger danger.”

“She had been working on this with him for over a year.”

“He’s improving, but she would never leave the dog with someone he doesn’t know well.”

“Yes, some people, like your aunt and uncle, have a blind spot where their dogs are concerned.”

“I’ve experienced that and been bitten by a dog whose owners have a blind spot.”

“But there’s nothing in OP’s post to indicate that they’re an owner with a blind spot.”

“It’s perfectly believable that the dog has separation anxiety and stranger danger that makes him unable to be boarded or left with a stranger.”

“You have no idea how long she has had the dog, yes it is three years old but it was abused as a puppy.”

“She may have only had it for a year or two and maybe she didn’t immediately get a trainer.”

“She also has a babysitter who is unavailable and the other people that have watched the dog will be at the birthday party.”

“For a dog like that, you probably have to get it accustomed to its caretakers, and it sounds like she has several, but none are available, which will happen at times.”

“I don’t disbelieve the SIL, but she should understand that the dog responded to being in pain that she inflicted.”

“You step on someone’s toe when they don’t expect it. They might yelp at you.”

“Her calling the dog aggressive from that incident isn’t fair, and even still, OP offered several reasonable options that they refused.”

“ETA I have been made aware that OP states they’ve known the dog for two years.”

“I did say had it a year or two which fits the two years.” ~ Fabulous_Monk_8667

“You can’t just easily board or find a dog sitter.”

“I wouldn’t trust anyone I didn’t know with my dog, and dog sitters/board is incredibly expensive.”

“PLUS separation anxiety isn’t just about being alone; it’s about being away from their owner coming from a traumatic background they’re latched into their new owner.”

“And only old boarding house where they think they’re being abandoned again isn’t an option.”

“SIL is making the decision not to have the OP there not OP. NAH.” ~ Intelligent_Hippo258

“NTA. Let me get this straight. Your SIL hurt your dog. And he barked.”

“Now she doesn’t want him around as he’s aggressive?”

“Does she know that dogs bark as communication and not aggression?”

“An aggressive dog would fight, not speak.”

“I think this is just about your SIL having her way, and the dog makes people happy.”  ~ Critical-Vegetable26

Well, OP, sounds like Reddit is with you.

You have to protect your fur baby.

You can always mail your gift.

It’s up to them how it goes from here.

Give Lou a big hug.