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Teen Livid When She’s Forced To Quit Swim Team To Pay Vet Bills After Nearly Killing Family Dog


Punishing children is never easy.

There is such a fine line on how to properly discipline.

Is there a perfect way?

Actions have consequences.

Do the consequences fit the crime?

Case in point…

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

They asked:

“AITA for making my 15 year old daughter get a job to pay for our dog’s vet bills?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I have 3 daughters, Phoebe (19), Allie (18), and Janie (15).”

“We also have a 2 year old chiweenie (chihuahua wiener dog mix), Pebble.”

“We were in the middle of a heat wave 2 weeks ago with temperatures hitting 107.”

“Small dogs are more sensitive to heat so we don’t let him go to the backyard for long periods of time and the deck is off limits because there’s no shade on the deck.”

“The problem is Pebble loves the deck because he can watch the cars, people walking on the trail behind our house, and he can see our neighbor’s chickens.”

“Janie doesn’t have first period and doesn’t leave for school until 10 a few days a week.”

“Both Allie and Phoebe leave between 9-9:30 so it’s Janie’s responsibility to make sure Pebble is inside, the fans are on, and he has water.”

“2 weeks ago in the worst of the heat wave, Pebble was crying at the deck door.”

“Janie got annoyed and let him go on the deck.”

“Then she left for school and forgot him on the deck.”

“Allie came home a few hours later and started looking for Pebble.”

“She found him passed out on the deck and called me sobbing.”

“I left work early, took him to the emergency vet, they treated him for heat stroke.”

“He had to stay at the vet for a few days and Allie was inconsolable while he was gone.”

“She was constantly crying, she wouldn’t eat or leave her room.”

“And she had a panic attack every time the phone rang because she was terrified that it was the vet telling us that Pebble was gone.”

“Pebble made a full recovery but now we have an expensive vet bill and Allie still has extreme anxiety around losing Pebble.”

“Janie’s upset because Allie hasn’t spoken to her since she forgot Pebble on the deck and Phoebe rarely speaks to her and doesn’t hang out with her anymore.”

“Janie was upset about Pebble when he was in the vet but now she’s very nonchalant about what happened because he’s fine.”

“My husband and I have been talking about what to do with Janie.”

“We decided on making her get a job to pay for Pebble’s vet expenses (close to $2,000 after insurance).”

“Janie’s very upset about it because she has to quit swim team to get a job and says that we’re ruining her life over a mistake.”

“Now I’m starting to wonder if I’m the a**hole for making her quit swim team to get a job.”

“Also, she can’t get a job after swim season because soccer season starts right after swim season.”

“Then after soccer season she has softball season then summer training camps.”

“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. 

“‘We are ruining her life over a mistake.'”

“A mistake that nearly killed a family member.”

“NTA. She knew the routine and knew better than to let the dog out onto the deck in the first place.”

“It doesn’t matter how ‘annoying’ he was – you do not gamble your dogs safety for some peace.”

“Regardless of what some may say, dogs are family!”  ~ 47Harpys

“Agree with you.”

“I don’t understand all the people saying it was a mistake and she learned from it.”

“The ‘mistake’ nearly killed an innocent life.”

“Glad the dog turned out okay, but that is one hell of a mistake.”

“The worst part is she doesn’t even feel bad about it now that the dog is okay.”

“Nu-uh, nothing about this is okay. NTA OP.”

“Make her get a job and pay the bill.”

“I’d even suggest keeping a very close eye around her with the dog from now on too.”  ~ thatshowyougetants20

“It’s so important that there is a consequence!”

“And a big one seeing as how she could have caused the death of a beloved family member.”

“If she’s over it now that Pebble is ok, then she hasn’t learned her lesson.”

“If I had done something that injured our pet AND cost my parents $2000 when I was in high school?”

“I would have felt like crap for months and wanted to help pay it off. NTA.”  ~ Jadertott

“I gave it a LOT of thought, read your responses to others, and here’s my judgment. ESH.”

“And here’s why.”

“Janie was clearly upset over Pebble’s time in the vet.”

“No doubt she already feels guilty and was traumatized by her mistake.”

“Her sisters are being super nasty about it, making things worse, and on top of that, you want to make her take an action that would adversely affect her academically.”

“And yes, sports are a part of academics.”

“Athletes are required to keep up a certain GPA, at both the high school and college levels.”

“Without sports, many young athletes will actually give up on keeping their grades up.”

“You admit that two of her sports, soccer and softball, are potential scholarship material.”

“Well, a job that keeps her from performing in sports for even one academic year can destroy those chances.”

“It can even be what keeps her from being accepted if it comes down to a choice between her and someone who missed no time in their chosen sports.”

“Time also matters for things like starting position, etc.”

“Further, at 15, her job options and hours are super limited.”

“It will 100% take her several months, especially since, in most states, employees under 16 don’t even have to be paid minimum wage.”

“They can be paid less.”

“I don’t know about where you live, but in my state, minimum wage is $10.30/hour.”

“At 15, Janie would not be allowed more than 3 hours a day during the school year, and no more than 5 days per week.”

“So that’s $150/week before taxes. After taxes, it’s about $130/week.”

“So it would take her close to 4 months to pay the vet bill.”

“And that’s IF your local minimum wage is at least that high.”

“If it’s the federal minimum, it will take her more like 5 months. Minimum.”

“So you would be taking MONTHS out of her life.”

“Now that I’m done with THAT explanation, let’s move on to Janie.”

“She 100% knew what her responsibility was.”

“She failed to follow through and it resulted in Pebble almost dying.”

“You almost lost a family member over her failure.”

“So, assuming you’ve already had to pay off the bill (most vets won’t do payment options, and most e-vets require payment up front).”

“Janie needs to have a punishment that is appropriate so that she learns from her mistake.”

“So ground her. No hanging out with friends.”

“If she gets an allowance, don’t give her her allowance until the bill is paid off.”

“If she wants to pay it off faster, she can do yard work, shovel snow come winter, run errands, babysit, etc in her free time.”

“And make her do the research again, and this time make sure she actually understands it fully.”  ~ leannmanderson

“NTA. You’re not ‘ruining her life over a mistake.'”

“She let the dog out on the deck, which she knew she wasn’t supposed to.”

“Then she left the dog out there and could have killed him.”

“Even if it was an accident, accidents have serious consequences.”

“It’s not right that everyone else pays for her mistake (you parents financially, her sister emotionally, pebble physically) while she is living a fun life like nothing happened.”  ~ QuackLikeMe

“NTA. It was a mistake. But it was a life.”

“If it had been something like. Oh she left the tv on.”

“She broke the vase while throwing a ball in the house, ie granddads urn above the fire place, maybe you’d be the AH.”

“But this is a LIFE.”

“And I think all humans need to know that a pet is a responsibility, you cant treat it, to use your own word, nonchalant.”  ~ Medium-Requirement60

“Maybe an unpopular opinion here but YTA.”

“She’s 15, her pre frontal cortex hasn’t fully developed.”

“YOUR family dog, that YOU as an adult agreed to keep as a pet, is YOUR responsibility at the end of the day.”

“Yes, she should learn to care for this living creature but it’s obvious that she didn’t do it on purpose and she feels terrible about what happened.”

“Now you’re going to punish your 15 year old CHILD because you gave her too much responsibility?”

“Were you forgetful, overwhelmed, and flustered at 15?”

“I think you owe all of the kids an apology for your mistake.”   ~ goaskalexdotcom

“I guess Janie has a choice then, doesn’t she?”

“Swimming or soccer and NTA.”

“Your daughter needs to learn that her life isn’t the only one with any value.”  ~ uwishuhad1

Well OP, there is a lot to unpack here.

Reddit seems to be in your corner.

Lessons must be learned.

Take good care of Pebble.