Watching over a dog for a brief period of time can be a slippery slope.
Of course, you want to hit it off with the pupper. But all the while you have to keep in mind that someday, it’ll be goodbye.
A recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit shared a very complicated version of that predicament.
Despite the twists and turns that would come to be explained, the Original Poster (OP), known as isthesun on the site, kept the title simple.
“AITA For not giving back my cousin’s dog after babysitting it?”
OP began with the original source of all the drama.
“I [21-year-old female] have been watching my cousin’s [29-year-old female] puppy for just about two months now.”
“My cousin adopted the puppy (her name is Delilah!) from the shelter two ish months ago. My cousin at the time was living in an apartment complex that didn’t allow pets.”
“My cousin was aware of this, but decided to get the dog anyway. Surprise, she gets in trouble with the building a few days after adopting Delilah. They tell her either the dog leaves, or she moves out.”
The search for help was on.
“My cousin talked to different members of the family and asked if anyone could watch Delilah while she looks for a new place to live.”
“Nobody was able to take in the dog so I offered to take her because I didn’t want the poor thing to go to the shelter.”
OP quickly discovered what it would all entail.
“I go pick up Delilah and my cousin doesn’t have any supplies to give me, just what is left of the dog food and her tags. Whatever.”
“I take Delilah to where I’m living and get her settled. I go to the store and get her a collar, leash, bed, new food, bowls, toys, etc. I’m spending my own money, but I don’t care because I want this puppy to be happy and comfortable.”
“A week passes, and then more weeks pass. My cousin doesn’t communicate with me often.”
Things only continued from there.
“I try to check in with her and she says she’s working on finding a place. After several weeks my cousin said she has found a new apartment to move in to.”
“She sends me the info to show me. It very obviously states that they do not allow pets. What the hell?”
“I point this out to her and she insists they might change their mind since Delilah is so well behaved (I was the one who had to train her since she was living with me.) I don’t hear from my cousin for awhile again.”
But an unexpected development has evolved.
“Here we are now, about two months later. I am absolutely best friends with this dog, I love her more than anything. She is a quick learner and an absolute sweetheart.”
“We’ve been on vet visits, I’ve been grooming her, spending my own money on everything she needs so I can take very good care of her.”
But OP was surprised by what happened next.
“My cousin contacts me a few days ago and says she is ready to take Delilah back. She tells me about her living situation and that she is living with her boyfriend and his buddies at their place.”
“To make a long story short, they aren’t a good crowd, and I didn’t think it was a good idea for Delilah to live there.”
“I told my cousin that I was sorry but I felt uncomfortable sending Delilah there, and that I have been caring for her and spending all of my own money on her for two months and frankly, I wanted to keep her.”
Then things went from bad to worse.
“My cousin was disgusted with me and called me a lot of swear words which I will not be repeating. She hasn’t spoken to me since, but hasn’t made any attempt to get Delilah back either.”
“I’ve been getting messages and calls from other cousins and aunts calling me a thief and saying I’m a horrible person.”
“AITA for not returning the dog? (Also, I’m not worried about legal trouble, my family wouldn’t do that and let’s just say they don’t have a good track record with the law.)”
OP also included a brief edit with a little more information.
“EDIT: My cousin has a track record of adopting animals and then sending them back to the shelter or just getting rid of them ( I don’t know what happens to them.) She’s been through multiple dogs and cats. This is why I am uneasy.”
“Also I would just like to point out that I openly told my cousin I would LIKE to keep the dog. I didn’t say anything like ‘I’m keeping her and I don’t care what you say’ or anything like that.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors held a variety of opinions about OP’s situation.
Some felt that “everyone sucked here.”
“ESH. Your cousin sounds insufferable, trying to bend rules because she feels special. But at the end of the day, you agreed to watch over her dog, and you’re kidnapping the dog now, so that’s clearly an AH move.”
“Honestly, in your place, I’d eat being an AH and hold onto the dog, with whatever fallout that might cause, but that’s rough and might cause a LOT of fallout.” — eloel-
“ESH She isn’t in a position to have a puppy plus she owes you for all the money you’ve spent on the puppy since you’ve had her so I don’t blame you, but I can’t go n t a cos it is technically still her pet thus her right to ask for it back.” — FrescoInkwash
“ESH. Your doing the right thing but your approach could’ve been a bit smoother and less ‘this is what I’m gonna do, deal with it.’ It is her dog and you kinda stole it from her.”
“Try paying her back for adoption fees? And see where things go. But man, your whole family ganging up on you? I’d try and work this out as soon as possible if that’s something that worries you” — dannytoowavvy
Plenty of others took OP’s side, however.
“NTA. your cousin seems like a very irresponsible pet owner. I wouldn’t trust her to properly care for the dog. she basically got a puppy on a whim, hasn’t helped you with anything, and you’ve been caring for the dog, loving it, paying for it… she doesn’t deserve it” — mkennedy00
“If Judge Judy was overseeing this case she would make you pay your cousin back whatever fees they paid to get the dog, but then let you keep the dog.”
“NTA. Your cousin made a reckless decision but luckily you were able to be there for that puppy. You’ve clearly invested more time and money into this dog than your cousin and the dog is going to have a stronger bond with you as a result.”
“I would perhaps offer to pay for the adoption fees, but keep the dog. It’s yours.” — gucknbuck
“NTA, the dog is a living being that has been in your care this whole time, and your cousin is neglectful. Go get that pup microchipped ASAP and keep all your vet bills and grooming receipts to further establish ownership.”
“Ignore your aunts and cousins, they’ll soon be subsumed by a new drama by the sound of it.” — ZucchiniCatalyst
With no additional updates added to the post, we’re left to wonder exactly where the dog has ended up.