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Dad takes away daughter's 'emotional support' dog; says, 'I had no choice.' AITA?

Dad takes away daughter's 'emotional support' dog; says, 'I had no choice.' AITA?


When this father is conflicted about his daughter's dog, he asks Reddit:

"AITA for taking my daughters 'emotional support' dog back to the shelter?"

My daughter is 17. I’m 47. My wife is 44. My daughter had been having problems with her anxiety and depression, school had been very hard for her and she asked us if she could get an animal for “emotional support”.

I asked her why we couldn’t just put her in regular therapy again but she said she didn’t really like her last therapist. Basically she doesn’t want to try it again. I was pretty against bringing an animal into the home as my daughter can barely keep her room clean and remember to wash her dishes, much less take care of an animal.

And I absolutely refused to do anything for the dog because I work long hours and didn’t want to be picking up messes when I got home. My wife said I was being unfair and that this could be what my daughter needed to get back in good spirits.

So we got her a dog. We let her pick out from few select breeds, since certain breeds tend to need higher requirements for care (such as frequent grooming and other traits) and I was against getting some breeds just because of personal preference.

The dog was great at first and it got along with my daughter and wife greatly. Me not so much, but it could probably sense I didn’t really like it either.

But then it started getting out of its leash on walks, tearing up the couch and various other toys we bought it. My daughter started forgetting to let it out, so I’d come home to find poop and pee all over the brand new carpet.

I warned her twice that if she didn’t start taking responsibility that the dog would be going back and she gave me excuses saying she was feeling depressed again. She said she would do better, but didn’t.

Ultimately, I got fed up so one day when she went to school I loaded the dog in my truck and told the shelter he wasn’t a good fit for us. Obviously when she came home she was upset. She was saying the dog was her best friend but I told her that she wasn’t taking very good care of him, and he didn’t deserve that.

Wife says it was very harsh to just take the dog back while she was gone, but she agrees daughter wasn’t responsible. My daughter has been saying I brought back her severe depression and we haven’t been talking. AITA?

Let's find out.

silentellburn writes:

NTA for returning the dog to the shelter. It was not having a good life with your family being unable to take regular exercise or go outside, and that is why it was going wild and going to the bathroom inside. It's best it is with a family that has the capacity to look after its needs.

And I see your daughter agrees she wasn't caring for it properly, so she needs to understand she can't have an ill/unhappy dog around because it helps her mood at times. It is a living creature and has needs, same way she does.

Maybe if she really needs/wants contact with animals you all should work out something like shelter volunteering or visiting petting zoos where she can see them when she's up to it. Or get more independent pet that you and your wife are willing to help with.

Slight Y T A for not discussing this with your daughter in terms of timelines. Whatever she is going through, she should not have found out by coming home to no dog, there should have been a chance to say goodbye.

fudgiehead writes:

OP is NTA for returning the dog. But he is TA for assuming 'I didn't like my old therapist' is just an excuse. FIND A NEW THERAPIST. One that she connects with or likes. People don't always match up with their therapist. It happens. Don't just dismiss her feedback just because she's a kid.

Looks like the jury's out on this one. Did OP do the right thing? What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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