When we’ve lost someone, it’s pretty safe to say we’ll want their memory to be respected.
In one Redditor’s case, that also means protecting his daughter’s name… from being used for a dog.
Redditor “dogkidname” explained his feelings on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP) asked:
“AITA for telling my partner’s sister naming her dog after my dead kid is disrespectful?”
The OP explained he’d had a child with a girlfriend years before.
“When I was 18, my then girlfriend got pregnant with a baby girl and we decided to name her after my grandmother who had been excited to meet her first great-grandchild but passed away a few months before she was born.”
He also pointed out his daughter’s name was not very common.
“An important note to make here is that, although I was born and raised in Arizona, my Dad is Mexican and my grandmother’s name while common in older Hispanic women (like, ‘you definitely know somebody’s abuela with that name’ common) it’s widely fallen out of fashion more recently and isn’t that common in younger people or outside of Hispanic communities/communities with large Hispanic populations.”
Tragically, their daughter did not have a long life.
“Unfortunately, our baby girl was born premature and with a whole mess of health complications, and she only lived for 3 weeks. This was obviously devastating for both of us, and I commemorated her life with a tattoo of her name.”
His relationship with his girlfriend didn’t last, and they went their separate ways.
“My girlfriend and I parted ways shortly after and I moved to England to go to university. This all happened 11 years ago, and I’ve lived in England ever since.”
He has carried his daughter’s name for 11 years without issue.
“So the current issue. I’m currently in a relationship of 3 years with a man I love very much.”
“The first time I met his sister, she asked about my tattoo and what it [meant] and I explained it all. She expressed her condolences and said it was a pretty name.”
He has a good relationship with his partner’s sister, at least typically.
“In general I like his sister just fine, but she can be kinda a lot. Just sorta entitled and selfish sometimes.”
That was until she got a dog while sheltering-in-place.
“Anyway, she and her partner got a puppy at the start of lockdown. I’m not really on social media or anything and haven’t seen her much, so I haven’t heard much about the puppy.”
“Until earlier this week, when I found out she gave it the same name as my daughter.”
The OP spoke with his partner’s sister, wondering if it was a weird coincidence.
“I was confused, because that name isn’t common here and asked outright if she’d named it after my daughter.”
“She said yes but was very…. [I don’t know]… flippant, I guess? Like, she was laughing and acting as if it was a cute little joke or something.”
The OP felt this was a disrespectful decision and asked the sister to make amends.
“I told her I didn’t really feel comfortable with that and asked if she’d change the dog’s name. She pouted and said that isn’t fair because she knows her name now and it’d be a pain to change it.”
“I told her outright I feel like it’s very disrespectful to my daughter’s memory and I don’t like that she didn’t run it by me first. She kinda threw a tantrum and said I was being stupid, it’s just a name, and that I’m mean and rude for calling her disrespectful over this.”
After speaking to her, the OP is unsure of how to feel.
“I feel bad now, but I can’t help the feeling of disrespect over this.”
“Do I have any standing or am I overreacting?”
Other Redditors shared their thoughts on the situation, using the following scale:
- NTA: “Not the A**hole”
- YTA: “You’re the A**hole”
- ESH: “Everybody Sucks Here”
- NAH: “No A**holes Here”
Some felt the partner’s sister was insensitive, plain and simple.
“‘Why don’t you talk to (horrible woman) anymore?’ ‘She named her dog after my dead baby’.”
“Boom. Conversation ender. Shut down.”
“(I’m speaking from some experience–when friends of my mother’s ask why I’ve thrown her out of my life, and I say ‘She laughed when I told her I had a miscarriage’ it’s like I’ve just dropped the conversational floor out from under them. Any chance they had of defending her? Goooooone.)” – RememberKoomValley
“‘I told her about my baby born prematurely who passed away and how it’s affected me; she liked the name and used it for her new dog'” – SnorlaxationKh
“I have a very similar story.”
“Why don’t you speak to your oldest sister anymore?”
“When we lost our first son at twelve weeks in the pregnancy, she said it was a good thing because she doesn’t think I’m ‘ready’ to be a mom. With a pregnancy we planned a tried for for months with infertility.”
“She had a fit when we didn’t tell her we were doing IVF and she’s met my now one-year-old twice.” – MrsLoki12Odin
“I agree with this completely.”
“You do not own the name. However, she knows the name through you sharing the story of your baby.”
“It is not like she named her dog Mary or something, the only contact she had with the name was through you. Knowing the background you have with that name, it is indeed a total A move on her part to give that name to her puppy.”
“Someone who thinks that is totally ok and will not cause any trouble is either super entitled, or stupidly naive to the extend that they should not be trusted to make their own decisions.”
“NTA” – SufficientMacaroon1
Others agree and can’t believe someone would do something like this.
“NTA- it’s very disrespectful I can’t imagine naming my dog after anyone who passed away. I wouldn’t even name a dog after another dog that passed away and she out here taking your daughters name…..”
“I can’t imagine any scenario in which that would be okay at all, you shouldn’t feel bad. She obviously has some screws loose if she didn’t even think to ask you or think it might not be appropriate. Plus in some cultures naming a dog after a human is always a sign of disrespect regardless of what’s happened.” – 1lofanight
“Definitely NTA. My dog has a human name but is not named after anyone I personally know (or after someone sentimental to anyone I know as far as I’m aware).”
“I don’t understand her reason for not changing it though. Dogs do not care what their name is. I got my dog from a shelter and she knew her name but I didn’t like it (Mazy) so I changed it and within a week she was answering to the new name.”
“She’s selfish. I hope OP’s BF is much more sensitive to the situation and can talk some sense into her.” – UghUsernameTakenUgh
“NTA. If she happened to have had a pet with the same name as your child for a few years before even meeting you it would have been an unfortunate painful coincidence. But the fact that she did this on purpose?”
“That’s sadistic. Shes more than a lot, shes an a**hole and you have every right to be angry and disgusted. Even if she changes it I would hold her at several arms lengths as this says very unfortunate things about her character. Does your boyfriend see how inappropriate this was?” – neobeguine
Some think this is reason enough to create distance between the OP and the sister.
“NTA – I’ve been reading advice columns for 30+ years and this topic comes up a lot. The answer every time is that no one can lay sole claim to a name and no one has a right to demand someone change a name. But I also think there are varying degrees of assholery when it comes to this.”
“I think this is about as AH as it gets when using a name someone else chose. Not only does it pain you to hear the name for obvious reasons, she wouldn’t even have thought of the name unless you had introduced her to it. And then she gives the name to her dog, insult to injury. Then she gives a rude response when you express distress over it and calls you stupid. Further insult.”
“While you can’t lay claim to a name and can’t make her change it, she’s definitely the AH here. I’d be limiting my exposure to this insensitive, immature, selfish, tantrum throwing waste of space.” – idrow1
“Here’s the thing. You don’t own the name. She doesn’t have to ask your permission to name her dog. She can name her dog whatever she wants.”
“Just like you don’t have to ask for permission cut ties with her for her heartlessness. I’m not sure what kind of monster would listen to you share a very painful, meaningful story like that and decide that it didn’t matter.”
“Personally I’d never speak to someone that cruel again. And if anyone asked why I would definitely tell them the full story.” – latetothegame216
Though the OP may not have the copyright on his daughter’s name, it’s fair that he would want the name to be used tastefully by those close to him.
As some Redditors stated, the OP’s feelings are valid. Hopefully he’ll be able to talk to his partner and his partner’s sister on the matter more, so they can work out a solution that doesn’t hurt his relationship.