For some of us, our pets are as much our family as our human family, and we would do anything to keep them in our lives.
That can include making special accommodations for our pets when we go through a major life event, like getting married or going off to college.
But unfortunately, sometimes our human family members don’t quite see eye-to-eye.
As described on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, one guy found this out when he discovered his brother and sister-in-law (SIL) were potentially trying to rehome his beloved pet parrot of over a decade when it was time to go off to college.
Redditor aitathrowaway357 reached out to the sub after making the discovery, wondering if he overreacted to the situation.
The Original Poster (OP) asked the subReddit:
“AITA for accusing my sister-in-law of trying to ‘get rid’ of my parrot?”
The OP admitted it sounded like a weird situation but assured parrots are particular pets.
“Okay, [this] title sounds weird as heck, I know. But please hear me out.”
“[This concerns] my (16[male]) sister-in-law, Emily (26[female]), and my older brother, John (28[male], and my parrot (macaw), Blue. (Lmao (laughing my a** off) why am I changing his name?)”
“So some context about macaws: they’re the talking kind of birds, and they have the potential to be really loud. Blue is honestly pretty quiet for his kind though, and he’s incredibly friendly. Although mornings, he is very loud.”
Clearly, the OP’s sister-in-law isn’t the biggest fan of birds.
“My family is used to this, and doesn’t mind, but clearly Emily does, which I understand because she’s not used to it.”
“But here’s the thing: she doesn’t live with us. They either visit, or sometimes John and her stay the night because they do live sort of far [away].”
“In the morning, when Blue wakes up, he wakes all of us up. We’re morning people so it’s fine, but Emily is always in a bad mood when she is woken up by Blue. I remember on multiple occasions her asking my parents why I ‘couldn’t just get a cat or dog.’ She says it in a joking way, but I see the passive aggressiveness of what she means.”
But the OP only just realized how deep his sister-in-law’s negative feelings run.
“Today, Emily and John came over. After a few minutes of just us saying hello and small talk and stuff, John asked me to go to my room with him, and he needed to talk to me. I was kinda worried since it just sounded weird and ominous.”
“When we got to my room, he closed the door and told me we needed to talk about Blue.”
“He asked me, what I was going to do with him, since I was going to college. I was confused, because I already told my family that I was going to a nearby college, that I could quickly drive to and still live at home.”
“He then tried to argue that college is hard, and that I wouldn’t have time for Blue. I don’t think that will be the case though. I’ve taken care of him since I was like 8 and never had problems.”
“But then here’s what got me: He said Emily found a family that could take him in.”
“I was immediately p**sed and yelled at him that Emily was trying to get rid of him, and he got equally p**sed and said that wasn’t true.”
“I started to cry angry tears, and he tried to hug me but I kicked him out of my room. I was honestly so angry he could say something like that.”
Now the OP wonders if he overreacted to his sister-in-law’s suggestion.
“I’ve calmed down a bit, and now I can sort of see where he’s coming from.”
“Now I think I’m TA (the a**hole) because I may have overreacted, but based on my interactions with Emily, I also don’t think I did.”
“I’m honestly really confused. Should I apologize to them, AITA??”
Fellow Redditors reached out anonymously, rating the OP’s reaction and the overall situation on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some Redditors were really worried that Emily would find a way to release Blue “accidentally.”
“Be careful that she doesn’t decide the bird needs to ‘accidentally’ ‘fly away’.”
“I would have your parents have serious talk with your brother. They got you the bird, it’s their house, and Emily doesn’t even live there.”
“[Her] and your brother should probably get a hotel when they want to stay in your town. Those birds are very long-lived and capable of love just as much as a cat or dog.” – Jessg3985
“Yeah, Emily wants the parrot gone so she can sleep and they are pretending it is because ‘you will be busy with school.’ You were totally right to see through that scam and get made. NTA and hang onto your pet. You can still have it when you are an old person.” – snarkravingmad
“You know what, I just thought of a terrible scenario – a lot of people are moving back home with their parents due to the pandemic. If Emily and your bro were to move in, then things may be complex and your parents may take their side.”
“No need to bring this up yet, just keep it in your back pocket, but in case of this scenario happening and Blue needs to temporarily stay somewhere else – figure out a list of places he can stay for a few weeks/ months at a time: a trustworthy relative’s house or a friend’s house that you can visit anytime to check on Blue. Some vets have boarding services as well.” – WanderingWitchCat
Others also said that rehoming the bird was cruel, based on how they bond to their owners.
“They bond intensely to their owners. Giving that bird away is the worst thing they could do for it. It’s cruel, that bond is more intense than dogs and humans (and I say this as a dog owner). Just google parrots bonding with their owners and you’ll see.” – i_paint_things
“If they’re rational people then they’ll see that you’re taking very good care of your bird and there is no need to re-home him. I admittedly don’t have any experience with birds, but from what I’ve seen online, birds bond with their caretakers and I imagine it would involve a lot of stress for your bird to be re-homed like that.”
“Do not apologise to your brother and do not let them do anything to your bird. Get him chipped, keep a camera around the enclosure at all times you aren’t there to watch him, and make it very clear that your bird isn’t going anywhere.” – therealnotrealtaako
“Woah, holy s**t, NTA.”
“Birds are not like dogs or cats. Birds bond to their people and you don’t just GET RID OF THEM. They will mourn you forever. My friend has an African Grey rehomed to her at about 8 years old. she still calls for her old person and mimics noises they made.”
“It sounds like you’re a bird person and they aren’t. they can go off because birds are different than a fish or something. JFC.” – sfinnigans
Some also stated how important it would be for the OP to talk to his parents about this and ensure who the real owner of the parrot is.
“Talk to your parents ASAP and explain everything that happened. Don’t try and keep this to yourself. They’re trying to get you to ditch a family member” – ChaosofaMadHatter
“Talk to local vet offices, shelters, and parrot rescues in your area. Let them know that you’re worried about your macaw being involuntarily taken and rehomed.”
“Someone might be able to put one of those metal identifiers on him just in case.”
“If you’ve taken him to vets before I’d take a look at the paperwork to see who it lists as the official owner. If it’s one of your parents and your brother and Emily convinces them to give him up ‘for your benefit’, than there’s not much you can do since legal they’re the official owner.”
“I’d look into talking with your parents about how giving up blue is non-negotiable and/or signing official paper work stating you’re the owner (at most next time you go to the vet ask for an owner name change)” – AnimalLover38
“Make sure you register your parrot with a vet and have plenty of pictures of him so if he goes missing you can call the police and report it as theft.” – Honestgirl1
“Here’s the thing- they are not going to let this go. They will find a way to get rid of your bird. Most likely sooner but they may play the long game and wait till you started college. I feel like within days of starting college you will come home and the bird is gone.”
“Sit down with your parents this week and explain the conversation you had with your brother and any other supporting incidents where Emily said the bird is a problem/ should go. Let them know this is concerning and would like to make clear your wishes that Blue goes nowhere and your plan for Blue once you start college.”
“I would also make clear that when you are in college or not home that your parents do not allow Emily near the bird alone.”
“One of the things I learned with communicating with my parents that to also let them know your feelings – ‘I am afraid that something will happen to Blue’ or ‘I am concerned that there is a misunderstanding because of brother’s statement and would like to get this cleared up’. Then have your parents speak with Bro and Emily.”
“You are a minor child- they went around your parents’ back. Blue is also their responsibility and not only love put in but financially as well. Please be as clear as possible with your parents- Blue is a member of your family.”
“And after they speak with Bro, follow up with him and tell him your thoughts. I’m not sure what your feeling but if it was me, I would tell him, ‘I am sad and disappointed you would do this and that your intentions hurt me and our relationship. And that it’s hard to trust you after this.'”
“Also super important – get Blue chipped by your vet. That way if he ‘accidentally’ escapes from the house somehow – open window, took an Uber, sold on Craigslist, when he’s taken to a vet the chip with scan to show his return address and that he is missing.”
“Create a set of photos with his picture including unique marks and characteristics. That way if Blue goes missing you can call all vets, animal control centers, and adoption centers and let them know that Blue is missing and can email them pictures and the ID number Blue was chipped with.” – WanderingWitchCat
After receiving a lot of comments, the OP hinted at an update.
“EDIT: WOAHHH THIS BLEW UP. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR THE AWARDS AND SUPPORT! DON’T WORRY, I HAVE GREAT NEWS AND AND UPDATE COMING SOON!”
We have no idea what the update could be, but we wonder if it has something to do with taking “Blue” off to college, or if the OP is indeed considering rehoming his feathered friend.
In either case, he’s hopefully making the decision for himself and his pet, and not to appease his in-laws.