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Redditor Called Out For Setting Strict Rules For Their Sister-In-Law’s Service Dog During Her Visit

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Most of us want to do all we can to accommodate our loved ones’ disabilities. But is there a point where the accommodations are asking too much?

That’s the quandary a person on Reddit found themself in when they tried to set some boundaries for their sister-in-law’s service dog.

But when her requests sparked drama, she wasn’t sure about how she was handling things. So she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by silservicedog on the site, asked:

“AITA for limiting where my SIL’s service dog can go?”

They explained:

“I honestly think I might be in the wrong but also I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.”

“My brother, Brian, and sister in law, Claire, are visiting me. I’m not entirely sure how Claire is disabled but she has a service dog. Her service dog is a golden retriever, so sheds a lot.”

“I’m not a huge fan of dogs but I understand Claire needs her service dog. I did ask a few things, though.”

“I asked that the dog stay out of the kitchen, where food is being prepared. I think that’s a little gross, having the dog hair floating into peoples food. I also asked that the dog not go into the main bathroom with the shower.”

“The next request was that the dog not go in the basement. This is where my cats food and litter boxes are. I also asked that her dog not go on any furniture, aside from her bed. Finally, I asked her dog to stay on a leash when outside to not scare my chickens.”

“Claire was upset at these rules. She said I’m being unfair and that she needs her service dogI think they’re reasonable to avoid dog hair getting places it shouldn’t, but also I know I might be the a**hole because she needs her service dog.”

“AITA for setting these rules?”

OP then returned to add a bit more context.

“Edit – because this has been asked, my cats are mainly in the heated, finished basement, but they are able to come up into the house if they want to. They are also not allowed in the kitchen, bathroom, or on furniture(to the best of my ability).”

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 many were on OP’s side on this one.

“NTA. If this is a true service dog, it will be well-trained. And thus the dog should not be getting up on the furniture to begin with. These all seem like very reasonable requests. In fact, other than the kitchen rule, I would have expected that the woman would follow these even without being asked. But the kitchen rule makes sense as well.”

“As for her saying she needs her service dog, sure. But unless she is doing work in the kitchen and needs the dog’s help in there, then she doesn’t need the dog in the kitchen. The only thing that would make sense is if she needs the dog to literally help her in the bathroom and she needs to use the main bathroom, it wouldn’t make sense to restrict the dog from that room, but it sounds like that’s not the case.”

“Is this really a service dog, or is it just an emotional support animal? (The “just” is intentional.)” —twitchydigits

“Agreed with this! Also want to add that if she wants to claim that you’re being unfair, maybe offer that you can lift some of the rules if they hire a professional cleaner after to rid the house of the dog hair after. Not everyone loves having dog hair all over their furniture/house/clothes and there’s nothing wrong with that.” –yoashleydawn

“I have a service dog (yes, a service dog) and he gets up on all of my furniture. There is always a learning curve when we go to other people’s homes to remind him to not be on their furniture. He listens, of course, but his first inclination is to absolutely park his butt on a comfy couch. Real service dogs get to be dogs, too.”

“This is a NAH, not an NTA. The SIL isn’t a bad person for feeling things are unfair.” –splinterwulf

“As a service dog handler, I feel that these requests, especially the ones regarding the kitchen, cats and chickens, are reasonable. A service dog is still a dog, and dogs sometimes get excited and chase creatures they’re not supposed to.”

“Staying out of the kitchen is a safety issue, as well as a food preparation issue, the only exception to the kitchen request would be if the dining room is through the kitchen. The dog does need to be close to the SIL in order to do their job properly, but that doesn’t necessitate full access to all furniture.”

“The bathroom, on the other hand, unless there’s an alternative bathroom that SIL can have her dog with her in, especially when she bathes, because BP drops can happen suddenly with warm showers.”

“As for off leash space, as long as the dog is able to be walked regularly, not having an off leash area isn’t going to be detrimental in the short term” –Witchywomun

Though not everyone agreed.

“She said in a comment that she knows the dog alerts her to blood pressure changes. So that’s a true service dog.”

“He needs to be able to go wherever SIL needs to go. So there needs to be an easily accessible bathroom the dog can go in. If the dog can’t go into the kitchen then someone needs to be available to go into the kitchen for whatever SIL wants. The dog also likely needs some area outside where they can run off leash unless they’re setting up a dog run.” –trilliumsummer

“How is it reasonable to say the service dog can’t go in the bathroom or kitchen? OP says it, at the very least, alerts SIL about her blood pressure. Is SIL supposed to magically have that under control in the bathroom and kitchen?” –Gigibean3

Hopefully OP and her sister-in-law can find a way to work around this.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby 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.