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Woman With Severe Allergies Refuses To Go To Mom’s Wedding If Sister’s Service Dog Is There

Ralph (Ravi) Kayden/Unsplash

No one would argue that allergies are not terrible to live with and often difficult to address through medication.

But when a family is riddled with medical conditions, it’s tempting to begin questioning who has it the worst, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor unsatisfactory_blue felt she had always been put second because of the appearance of her epileptic sister’s service dog, despite her severe allergies to dogs.

When she was criticized for letting this get in the way of attending a family wedding, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was being petty.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for refusing to go to my mother’s wedding because my sister and her service dog will be there?”

The OP and her sister had opposing health concerns.

“My (20 [female]) sister (18 [female]) has quite severe epilepsy.”

“She has taken medication but for some extra protection a few years ago (when I was 15), my parents and her doctor decided it would be best if she got a dog that could warn her when she would have ‘episodes.’ They also said some of the side effects of the medication were not ideal.”

“I, however, am severely allergic to dogs. Most dogs I cannot be around.”

“However, my grandmother had a purebred poodle that I never had any reaction to. So I asked that the dog they get be a poodle so that I can live in the house without being miserable.”

“They did look into it but they found no groups near us that bred purebred poodles for service work, so they got an ‘F1B Goldendoodle’ that’s 25% poodle and 75% golden retriever.”

“My father was against the dog and wanted to at least wait until I had gone to college, but my mother and the doctor insisted so we got the dog.”

The OP struggled with living around the dog.

“The dog still caused an allergic reaction, because of the golden retriever.”

“There was no allergy medicine that completely worked and had no drowsiness side effects, and since I had school and work and sports, I couldn’t take it.”

“When my parents got divorced, it was still an issue because the dog was at both houses.”

“When I went to college, I tried to avoid going home because I would have to be around the dog, and when I did, I only went to my dad’s house.”

Those experiences were reignited over a wedding invitation.

“My mother is getting married again in April. She invited me and my sister.”

“I was surprised she wanted me to go since she said she was keeping it small but she said she really wanted me there.”

“However, my sister and her dog are going to be there so I politely declined and I made plans for that day.”

“My mother is very upset and says she wants me to just take medicine to get over it and that I’m being unreasonable.”

“I don’t think I am because I don’t want to go and don’t think I should have to take medicine to be at the wedding of someone who doesn’t care about my medical needs but she thinks I should just suck it up.”

“Other family members think I’m being ridiculous as well and trying to hurt my mother by refusing to go.”

“AITA here?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some empathized with the OP’s allergies and needs to self-advocate.

“It sounds like OP’s allergies are to dog fur, but not dog hair. Especially with not reacting to a poodle, which is a breed that has hair, not fur.”

“Sad thing is, there are a good number of breeds that they could have gotten instead that have hair and not fur, but not all of them would be available as trained service dogs off the bat.”

“And given the severity and past, I honestly wouldn’t call OP an a**hole for not wanting to be around the sister and her service dog at all.”

“They spent years stuck in a situation where their health was put second in their home (both dad and mom’s) because of the need for the dog. It may not have been intentional, given that they did look for a poodle, but it doesn’t change how it comes across as OP coming second.” – fallen_star_2319

“She sounds miserable around that dog and it makes her feel sick and so do the medications.”

“The health and well-being of her sister and herself are important, and OP seems to make herself responsible for her own health when no one else seems to worry about it. She’s doing what she has to do for her health.” – beans0913

“Maybe she could take medication, but I just know how much I hate taking allergy medication. It always messes with me.”

“I have chosen to wear glasses all my life because I would have to take hay-fever meds to be able to wear contacts. There are times of the year I choose not to do something outdoors rather than drug up.”

“Choosing to miss out on something rather than take drugs is a reasonable choice for OP to make. And if the choice is going to the wedding to being stoned on allergy drugs at a wedding… kind of a no-win here.”

“NAH, just 2 people who aren’t compatible, but unfortunately in the same family.” – Cayke_Cooky

“‘Just take meds’ is not an appropriate reaction. When OP says drowsy, I don’t think people understand that the most effective allergy drugs hit like a mack truck.”

“It’s not like you can drink a cup of coffee and you feel fine — in fact, that just makes you feel jittery and over-tired. Being crossfaded on an upper and a downer just plain sucks for most people, even if those uppers and downers are common over-the-counter items.”

“Imagine attending a wedding after driving eight hours instead of sleeping that night — that’s how OP would feel.”

“I think it’s fair to resent a situation where your family thinks it’s acceptable for you to be medicated into the worst symptoms of CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) every day in order to head off a much rarer event for your sibling. This smacks of ‘sacrificial sibling’ ideology.” – Peliquin

Others thought the OP was resentful and could take allergy medicine for one day.

“This isn’t about the dog.”

“You lived with the dog for more than 3 years without more than mild discomfort. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me, but I’m sure that if you were hospitalized or given an epi-pen for the dog allergy, you would have said so, instead of just being given over-the-counter antihistamines.”

“Your allergy is not that severe, and you’re taking a stand because you feel you should be catered to and not your sister, while she is the one with actual medical needs that need intervention more than just popping a pill that makes you a bit drowsy for a few hours.”

“Look, you don’t have to go to the d**n wedding if you don’t want to, but at least be honest with yourself (if no one else) about why that is.”

“YTA.” – metalmorian

“With OP’s comments throughout the post, it DOES seem like she COULD take medication, but is being petty about the dog because she feels her family didn’t prioritize her allergies over her sister’s service dog… even though OP clearly states that her family tried to find a dog to suit OP’s allergies AND her sister’s doctor recommended not waiting to get the dog until OP was in college.” – jdessy

“NAH. The dog isn’t there as a pet. Her doctor confirmed that getting one was required due to the severity of her epilepsy. You can’t be around the dog because of your allergies and have said as much. It seems like a no-win situation whatever you choose.”

“The only way you may be TA is if you can take medication that would help for a couple of hours and are choosing not to out of principle rather than an issue with side-effects or similar.” – walnutwithteeth

While no one would argue that the OP doesn’t have allergies or that the situation was complicated, the subReddit otherwise had mixed feelings about how the OP was handling the situation.

On the one hand, it was fair to assume she was going into this wedding season with resentment for her family and the service dog, making attending less appealing or practical.

On the other hand, some questioned the OP’s actual ability to take medicine for one afternoon in an effort to show support for the family.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.