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Woman Balks After Sister Demands To ‘Borrow’ Service Dog So Daughter With Seizures Can Go To Mall

A service dog is being walked

A service animal is a big responsibility.

Some don’t seem to understand that fact

These animals have special training tailored to their owners.

So trying to borrow one may not be the best option… or an option at all.

Case in point…

Redditor cricketlovescats 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:

“AITA for not letting for niece ‘borrow’ my service dog?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (22 F[emale]) have seizures, and I have a service dog to help me while I am in public.”

“I live with my boyfriend, so my dog is usually off-duty while I am at home.”

“I also have a niece (15 F) that gets seizures as well.”

“My dog was trained by a professional dog trainer, and it cost me $15,000 to get her trained.”

“I saved up for years, and my boyfriend helped me as well.”

“Two days ago, my sister (40 F) asked if my niece could borrow my service dog for her birthday.”

“She wants to go to the mall with a few of her friends.”

“She is not usually allowed to go places without my sister because of her seizures.”

“I told her that I couldn’t do that.”

“My dog is trained to respond to me, and I don’t know how she’d do with my niece.”

“I also don’t like the idea of having my dog in public without me, and I also need my dog for my own seizures.”

“My sister got mad and said it would only be for a few hours and that I should be willing to help out my family since everyone helped me while I was growing up.”

“She called my mom, and while my mom agrees with me, she also doesn’t want to upset my sister so she wants me to let her use my dog for a few hours tomorrow.”

“My boyfriend says I’m in the right, but I keep getting calls from family members saying I’m being selfish.”

“So AITA?”

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 was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. That’s messed up.”

“A service dog is not a thing that can be shared or borrowed.”

“It’s your service animal, and you clearly need him.”

“If she wants and needs a service animal, she should get her own.”

“But the fact that she thinks it can be just borrowed like that proves that she doesn’t have the maturity to care for an animal.” ~ MaybeAWalrus

“Also, the dog would be pretty stressed out to be with someone who is not their owner, especially out in public.”

“It wouldn’t be picking up on the signs of the niece. They’d be looking for THEIR human.”

“These dogs love their job and their owners.”

“Their dedication to both is unmatched.”

“Going out with a bunch of teenagers who probably wouldn’t adhere to the ‘no touch/petting’ rule would undo training and upset the dog.”

“Nothing about this would work.”

“Service dogs are not transferable.” ~ DonnieDusko

“Every single person’s smells are different.”

“Maybe not to us but to dogs, yeah.”

“I have a collie, and she is not a working dog (she’s tasked but she is NOT a working dog, I bring her only to things where dogs are welcome and invited), but she doesn’t really listen to anyone else but me.”

“LOVES me, listens to me, super sweet to everyone she meets, but she is 100% mine and will ignore everyone giving her a command (which for her breed is a good thing, she cannot be out in a field and have two people telling her conflicting commands).”

“It actually works identically for working dogs.”

“They’re tuned into their handlers.”

“They are constantly reinforced by their handler’s smells (diabetic working dogs get given cotton balls with the saliva from their handlers mouths of them being high and low).”

“When you pay for a dog like OP did, they don’t just give you the dog with an instruction manual and walk away. They train you with it after they have done all the basic training.”

“Working dogs are NOT toys. Both them and their owners are trained for the job they do.”

“They are absolutely fantastic!”

“They give people with disabilities so much freedom, safety, confidence, and independence.”

“OP is 100% in the right for being worried her dog is away from her.”

“Her dog is her lifeline to living life.” ~ DonnieDusko

“The dog is not trained for your niece.”

“It will also be in an unusual situation and stressed.”

“I’m sure it will also be distracted by people (niece and friends) not treating it like it’s strictly on the job.”

“All of this adds up to it being very likely that it would not trigger your niece.”

“Then what, it’s your fault? NTA.”

“Also, the dog has feelings and a relationship with you.”

“You don’t loan out pets, and you sure as f**k don’t loan out service animals.”

“This request is insane.” ~ KCarriere

“I hate to call a dog a tool, but in this case…”

“A service dog is a medical tool adjusted to fit the person who will be using it.”

“Even if casts didn’t get gross, you’d never have someone use it when you’re done ’cause it wouldn’t fit.”

“Custom prosthetics. Special script glasses.”

“A wheelchair with special adjustments.”

“Medical equipment that is either created or customized for a person should not be shared because it won’t fit/work or there’s a risk of something happening to a needed specialized tool or both.”

“Obviously, a service dog is a living, breathing, thinking animal and not a thing but still a customized medical necessity. OP NTA.” ~ NataliasMaze

“NTA. Service Animals are not meant to change the person they are supporting.”

“They have been trained to provide very narrow support for one specific person.”

“This skill is not transferable.”

“If you want, offer to help them understand the process and navigate it as a compromise.”  ~ DeviantAvocado

“NTA. From my understanding, service dogs are extensively trained to work with a specific person.”

“Especially seizure alert dogs.”

“Yes, they are a medical device, but they are a personalized medical device.”

“Your service dog is trained to respond to your medical condition, and more importantly, you are trained to respond to the cues your service dog gives you.”

“Letting your niece “borrow” a medical device that is not customized for her, that she is not trained to respond to is a complete recipe for disaster.” ~ A-typ-self

OP came back to chat…

“Thank you, everyone.”

“My family got into my head and made me second guess myself, but I feel more confident in my answer now.”

“I’m going to have a conversation with my sister and see if I can help her come up with another idea for my niece.”

“My niece was not aware that her mom was acting like this, so she is not being entitled.”

“It’s just my sister and some other family members.”


“Yesterday I had my niece, sister, and mom come over.”

“I told my niece to take control of AJ (my service dog) to see how she’d handle her.”

“I knew she wouldn’t be able to do it well, but I wanted everyone else to see too. As expected, she didn’t know how to command her to do her tasks.”

“I then sat everyone down and explained in detail how I got AJ and how she helps me.”

“They do know from being around me, but they never really learned in detail how it works.”

“I then offered to chaperone my niece and her friends at the mall with my boyfriend.”

“My sister said no.”

“She says I only wanted to do that to ‘show off’ my dog.”

“I also offered to help my niece get money for her own service dog.”

“My sister also said no to that because she didn’t wanna be seen as a ‘charity case.'”

“She then took my niece and left.”

“My mother apologized to me and said she’d help smooth things over with my other family members.”

“Later last night I got a call from my niece.”

“She apologized for my sister’s behavior and said that she wants me to chaperone her mall trip.”

“She also was interested in me helping her get money for her own dog.”

“After our call, I called my sister and again offered to help (I didn’t mention that my niece called me) and she hesitated but finally agreed.”

“She says she has been feeling very overwhelmed recently and was scared about my niece’s future.”

“She apologized for the way she acted.”

“She also said she felt jealous that I was able to get money for AJ.”

“I took this opportunity to talk to her about raising money for a service dog which she also finally agreed to do.”

“Today, I did take my niece to the mall, and she had a good time with her friends.”

“I also talked with her friends about what to do if someone has a seizure.”

“My sister seemed a lot more relaxed when I brought my niece home. “

“She didn’t use to be this angry.”

“She was very kind and pleasant when I was growing up.”

“Her husband left her and my niece when my niece was ten, and she became a bitter person after that.”

“Especially since he remarried and has a healthy daughter with his new wife.”

“My mom also was able to calm down my other family members.”

“I have been receiving apologies from them as well.”

“Thank you, everyone, for helping me see I was right.”

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

You did what you knew was best.

This was a difficult situation, but you navigated it so well!

We wish your niece the best of luck finding her own service animal.