Supposedly, facing your fears is a way to get over them. But even professional therapists recommend doing so gradually and with the help of a therapist.
But that notion didn’t apply to Redditor throwaway1378938 and her friends.
When they forced something on her and she rejected their gesture, they became furious.
She went on the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for giving away a pet dog my friends got me?”
The Original Poster (OP) provided a little backstory to explain.
“I am absolutely terrified of dogs and I generally dislike them for a few reasons, which include being attacked and being sensitive to barking.”
“Ok, storytime. For my birthday, my friends said they had a big surprise for me, knowing them I’ve become really… wary around surprises.”
“Turns out the surprise was a new pet, a dog. Now as stated above, I’m really not a big fan of dogs at all, they know this.”
“They know I’m generally very wary around them and I get startled easily being around them, I do my best to stay composed and refrain from any comments and knee-jerk reactions but I most definitely keep my distance.”
“I don’t think I’ve shared my whole childhood trauma around dogs, but I’ve made it pretty clear I don’t necessarily enjoy their presence.”
“My friends have always egged me on about how annoying and sh*tty my behavior is, how there’s nothing for me to fear and that I shouldn’t be acting this way. I agree, I think it’s about time for me to move on with my trauma and leave it in the past.”
“I’ve been looking for ways to get help, it’s just a very difficult process and needs a lot of time and effort. I guess while I was talking to them about this, they thought it would be a good idea to speed it up?”
“Not sure, but long story short, they agreed [amongst themselves] on getting me a dog.”
“I was surprised, to say the very least, and quite terrified. I mean f’ks sake what am I supposed to do?”
“I’m not equipped to handle a dog at all, with my current mental health as well?”
“No way I could meet all her needs and take care of her by any means. I did my best to put on a good front and be happy, but I quickly brought up how I just don’t think having a dog right now is a good time.”
“I thanked them a ton and asked them if they could take care of her in the meantime while I was getting myself together so that I could properly prepare myself and do my best to look after her, immediately got faced with a ton of ‘no she’s your pet, you take care of her’ and generally lots of unhappy comments.”
“Not fun, I’ll admit. I sucked up and brought her home.”
“It was absolute hell. I could barely handle anything for a single day.”
“I called up my friends again and made it firm I’m unable to do this. Same result.”
“So, I ended up contacting a close family member and asked for some help, they immediately accepted her and she ended up becoming their dog.”
“Fast forward a little bit, my friends nonstop prodded and poked at me about how she was doing. I immediately turned around and gave them the answer straight up.”
“I could not look after her by any means, so I gave her away to one of my family members, who absolutely loves her and is taking good care of her.”
“They were incredibly furious, needless to say, I f’ked up big time. Nonstop harassment, rumors, drama, all that bullsh*t.”
“They said they bought her for me, and I’ll say that is very true, I just couldn’t take care of her.”
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 supported the OP’s decision and how she handled getting rid of the pet she never asked for.
“NTA, not at all. You did really well to make sure that dog got a good home. You did the absolute right thing and should be proud of the way you handled it.”
“And those people aren’t real friends. Real friends respect boundaries. In your place, I’d tell them that, then block them. Or just block them without talking anymore.”
“They clearly weren’t concerned about how you felt about the situation, and it’s also beyond wrong to insert an innocent animal into that situation.” – DanaMorrigan
“Yah OP, friends [don’t] behave this way. INFACT people who love and know dogs well enough don’t behave this way, you know why? Because anyone with decent enough common sense knows dogs are not something you just get.”
“They are hard work and need a lot of love and dedication. You don’t just hand someone a dog.”
“These people are not your friends and they are sorely misguided. NTA.”
“As a side note it’s okay to not like dogs. Yes therapy can help but some people just don’t like them and that’s okay. They are often big, loud, high energy and unpredictable.”
“They are loving gorgeous creatures too, but it’s not for everyone! You do not need people who villainise use you for this (especially due to trauma!!) in your life.” – DeviousCheesecake
“Seriously. I love being around dogs, but I’d be livid if someone sprang one on me.”
“I don’t live in a dog friendly apartment. I don’t have the time or patience right now to properly care for or train a dog. It would be so unfair on that dog.” – MotherFuckingCupcake
“Absolutely, a dog is a huge commitment to take on, and not something to spring on anyone, never mind someone who you know is actually scared or uncomfortable with them.”
“Not only is it a sh**ty thing to do to a so-called friend, but a cruel thing to do to the dog.”
“OP, you did the right thing for you and the dog. Block your ‘friends’, they’ve made it completely clear that they don’t respect you or your boundaries. Big NTA.” – LethalTeapot
“OP, all these people did was cause you (and the dog) discomfort. They are not your friends and they are super dumb. Drop them. NTA.” – Appeltaart232
“Even if a person was SUPER DUPER wanting to get a dog… no. A dog as a gift is like proposing in public to someone. It’s thrusting a pressure to answer/receive things positively on them along with a massive undertaking and responsibility and life change.”
“(Seriously. Dogs cost money. Heck, as a cat person I would be ticked if someone got me a cat as a gift unless I specifically said ‘I am going to get this specific cat within the next week’ or something- because you suddenly get a cat is an unexpected expense, and frankly i want to be able to pick out which one is best for my household.)”
“Only exception being if you’re a parent getting a dog for your kids under 18, because let’s be real your the one paying and taking on the expense and you’re the one who is taking care of the animal anyway.” – RobinGreenthumb
Overall, Redditors said that gifting anyone with a pet on a whim was presumptuous. It’s also not fair to the animal if the recipient was never interested in being a pet owner.
Shelters and rescues agree, unless an animal is joining your own household where you will take responsibility for caring for it, no animal should be a surprise gift.