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Dad euthanizes daughter's emotional support pet; says, 'This is the best decision for our family.' AITA? 2 DISTURBING UPDATES.

Dad euthanizes daughter's emotional support pet; says, 'This is the best decision for our family.' AITA? 2 DISTURBING UPDATES.


When this father is convinced he made the right decision for his daughter and family, he asks Reddit:

"AITA for euthanizing my daughters emotional support animal?"

My daughter recently turned 20. She’s been dealing with major depressive disorder, social anxiety, anorexia, body dysmorphic disorder, and two autoimmune diseases since she was around 12.

I’m very involved in her treatment and obviously wanted her to get better, so when her therapist recommended getting her a dog to register as an ESA, we got her one for her 16th birthday, named Juniper.

I generally dislike animals, but it was for my daughters sake, so I caved. Juni and my daughter grew close and I have seen a notable difference in her since we got the dog, especially in her sense of independence and self-esteem.

Four years later, my daughter is now a part-time tutor, volunteers with the elderly, and attends school full-time with excellent grades. I’m so proud of how far she’s come and though I realize she has a ways to go, Juni has helped her and I credit the dog for that immensely.

Here’s the problem. While my daughter was at school, Juni got out of the house and got hit by a car since we live right in front of a busy street.

My wife and I rushed her into the vet and were told that Juni would need surgery, which would cost somewhere in the ballpark of $2000. I make a good salary, but I just cannot justify spending that much on a dog, especially when it may not even work and Juni would probably be crippled.

Plus, she was pushing five years old, and her breed usually only lives for nine to ten years. Due to all these reasons, I decided the humane and logical decision would be to euthanize Juni.

At this point I called my daughter to let her know the situation and the solution I’d chosen, and she freaked out on me. She tried telling me how she had $700 in savings and would quickly find a job to pay me back the rest, to which I declined because...

A) it’s not just about the money and B) I don’t want to risk ruining her mental health by her getting a job, especially since she’d likely have to quit one of her volunteer jobs which have helped her so much.

I explained this to her, but she wasn’t hearing reason, so I put my foot down and said my decision was final because the dog was technically mine since I paid for it, then I hung up. We put Juni down surrounding her with love and gratitude.

When we got home, my daughter had just pulled in and was hysterical. I told her she was too old to be acting like this and one part of becoming a competent, independent adult was accepting what life throws at you.

Now she isn’t speaking to me. I’m beginning to think I should’ve at least told her where we were so she could say goodbye. On the other hand, Juni already served her purpose in helping my daughter and she only had the dog for four years, so I don’t understand the huge overreaction. AITA?

Before we give you OP's disturbing and informative updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

jeena writes:

I'm saying NTA about putting the dog down. I've had dogs my whole life. It sounded like the daughter had the dog as an emotional support animal, but if she was going to school without it and assuming she's there full time, most of the day, her parents are probably watching the dog.

She may have a stronger emotional bond with it, but when an animal gets hurt like that and the outcome isn't good even if they spent the 2k on it, it's better to put it down.

Granted, I would've had her be more involved and waited for her to get back from school (if the dog lived long enough) so she could say goodbye. I think that's where things start to take a turn.

You can't ask if someone wants a new pet right after one passes away like that, especially if it's the first pet. I'm a dog person, so I know I'll continue to get dogs after each one passes away, but it took me two or three dogs to make that decision.

She's 20 and she's got a shit ton of problems, so she needs way more time to process. OOP was condescending there. The way he described her as "mopey" was also very telling. He's not very empathetic to her loss of this dog and that makes him TA.

I think he made a wise parenting decision, but he needs to work on himself as a person.

grandskaf writes:

I actually agree with this. NTA. Having had dogs and cats my whole life, it can be terrifically difficult, time consuming, and expensive to do pain management and create reasonable accommodations for a permanently injured pet.

They cannot speak to you and are very good at hiding pain and discomfort, so can exist in horrible, chronic pain. And some things are just plain hard to treat or compensate for, even if they could speak. Ask any human chronic pain patient; it is hard enough to treat with a patient you can communicate with, much less a pet.

I'm actually permanently physically disabled myself, and have owned a three legged cat, so this isn't about disability. If the vet is saying that the dog was very badly injured and the outcome is doubtful, I honestly would have made the same decision.

It is a very difficult decision; we get very emotionally attached. But deciding to hang on to a pet that is suffering horribly because we emotionally can't let go of its physical form is not merciful or kind. We only make its last days full of pain and fear.

I agree, the way it was handled was the problem here, not the decision itself. It would have been much better to have an emotionally sensitive conversation with the daughter explaining this, and allowing this to be an emotional learning experience, painful though it may be, for her. Help her work through this horrible reality; don't make it worse for her.

curbstopmme writes:

YTA. You likely ruined her mental state by killing her dog much more than a job would have. I’m amazed that you think what you did was okay. You basically killed her best friend.

Also, five years is only half of her life. That’s like saying someone is better off dying at 50 than trying to get a life saving surgery.

Honestly, I wonder if having a mom like this is part of the reason why this girl has so many problems. How sad. EDIT: I read it wrong, I know it’s a horrible father who did this.

rcmcjboe writes:

YTA. I wish I didn’t read this. This animal was a living being and a member of the family, not an object to be discarded once it had “fulfilled its purpose”.

If you can’t justify spending money on medical treatment for a pet, then you don’t get a pet. Simple as that. People who have such a cavalier attitude about euthanasia make me sick. That’s enough Internet for tonight.

brittycrock writes:

YTA 100%. Pets in general become part of the family. There have been many tests to prove that when people lose a pet it's like losing a family member. I understand what you did you did with good intentions.

However, your daughter most likely knows how long Juni's breed lives. She was expecting another 5 years, minimum. That's a school aged child. You can't justify spending $2000 dollars on an animal, but your daughter who was using this animal as a support system could.

You then say that it's not about the money when trying to justify your actions. Which is it? Your daughter will probably forgive you. My father had to put my pupper down when I was young, and I have forgiven him. However, she may not. You'll have to live with this.

You told your daughter her best friend was hurt and you were going to end it. She started the grieving process, denial. Then bargaining. And now Anger. You may have also fg up all of the healing she has done due to removing the support she needed to do it.

A house will not continue to stand just because the paint is dry if you remove a supporting beam. I'm sorry to say it, and I'm sorry for everyone's loss, but you were definitely the ass hole in this situation.

If not for what you did, which I believe you were, but for the way you treated your grieving daughter. Shes not to old to be sad. Grief isn't a maturity thing.

charlisty writes:

Eh. NTA. Frankly speaking i believe that if you're not ready to pay 2k for the surgery and multiple vet bills afterwards to give the dog the best chance to get well, putting it down is the best decision.

I also agree that it wouldn't be smart to lend her the money so she would focus on earning the money back instead of getting better and ready to face adult life, and what if the dog never got better anyway? Then she's in debt and have to live with seeing the dog get worse.

Father is still an AH by not allowing her to at least say goodbye and by not understanding why she's sad, but making a choice to put down a dog that might never get better will always be a hard choice, but imo the right one.

We can't really explain to animals that they might get better or they need to be careful while they heal and nothing is more sad than seeing something you love loose the spark of life because the body can't do what they want, and the dog itself can't make the choice.

Nothing should be kept alive only for those around it, if there are no joy without pain left...

sparkybarky writes:

Definitely TA. You didn’t get your daughter a chance to even say goodbye. Not sure what would have been the best decision for the dog but your daughter should have been able to come see Juni...

and make that decision. not saying you should have paid for anything either she could have applied for a Care Card to make down payments if she didn’t have a credit card, or scrounged money from friends.

I was at the ER vet today (had to put down my very old cat) and overheard a man crying about his dog that the vet recommended be put down.

He said he needed to call his wife first and have his 12 and 14 year old daughters come out to see the dog to all agree it was the right decision. He agreed it was but he thought his girls needed to see the dog to understand and say goodbye to him.

Also your comment “i don’t see why she was attached it was only 4 years” um.... what? As others have said, your lack of empathy is alarming.

And now, OP's first major update:

Message received, I guess i’m TA. I still believe I made the best choice, but I suppose I could’ve let her be more involved.

Some people are asking the same questions so I’ll answer them here: -I am not a sociopath. I am just excellent at separating emotion in preference of logic, especially in times of crisis. This does not mean I don’t feel anything. I love my daughter more than anything in the world.

-My wife was 100% on my side for the actual decision of putting Juni down and agreed our daughter should not witness it. She did, however, disagree with the words and tone I used towards my daughter when we got home, which is where I began wondering if I was the AH.

-I am not and have never been jealous of Juni. That’s ridiculous. She was an emotional crutch for my daughter and will always be special to me in that way. My daughter did not love me any less after getting the dog, if anything she loved me more.

LASTLY, thought I would update you all that I did, in fact, talk to my daughter today. It took her some time to let me in but once she did I was able to explain my side, give her my reasonings for what I did, and convince her to forgive me. She agreed, and we are all moving past this asap.

I’m actually about to run out and get her favorite fast food for dinner and we’re having a family movie night. She is still acting distant and mopey but she has her regular therapist appointment tomorrow so I’m confident she can vent there and her therapist can help her get through this without any permanent damage.

Btw I also offered to get her another dog, which wasn’t easy for me, and she declined so I don’t think her bond with the dog and like for animals in general was as “unbreakable” and “solid” as all you commenters are claiming.

Juni just wasn’t meant to be around that long and i’m glad my daughter was able to have four years with a dog she liked. Now we’re moving on, the end.

To everyone leaving horrendous messages to me in my DM’s, take a look at yourself and the words you’re using against me, and consider how hypocritical it is that you’re calling ME the asshole when you’re telling me you hope my daughter murders me.

After receiving more backlash, OP provides this second update:

She may be technically an adult, but because of her various issues she is not of sound mind when it comes to decision-making, which is why I as her father made what I felt was the best decision for her.

I reasoned that it would be more traumatic for her to watch Juni die and still believe it will be easier for her to get over this not having witnessed that.

Her health, mental or otherwise, matter to me more than anything. How does me choosing her sanity over a dog mean she doesn’t matter to me? If she got a job to pay it, she’d be stressed and potentially regress, and that’s if the dog even lived.

I didn’t want my daughter to make such a hard decision and have the consequence lie on her shoulders forever, so I took that burden as her father.

Grief is a process maybe she needs to go through sooner rather than later, and grieving a dog is good practice for someday having to cope with losing a parent, for example.

Plus, I understand she loved the dog and was close with her but placing a dog over family, or equal to, does not seem healthy to me. I’ve wondered in the past if perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to get Juni for that reason.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have said the dog served it’s purpose that way, I didn’t mean it negatively. Just that we only got Juni so my daughter could progress enough to get friends, a social circle, hobbies, and an interest in life again.

That was accomplished. So, her purpose was fulfilled and I am thankful for Juni helping as she did. Also, I didn’t snap at her, I explained my words carefully and calmly so as to not make her more hysterical. She gets panic attacks and I didn’t want to trigger one, Id never yell.

She is in therapy but for her own issues, nothing I’ve done to her. Anything and everything i’ve ever done has been to help her, I’m her father and this was just one of those tough situations I needed to step into to protect her mental well-being.

I never said she cannot have a job. I wouldn’t FORCE her to not get one. I just don’t want her to get one on the pretext of owing me money.

Volunteer work means less commitment if something goes wrong or she is struggling harder than usual. Besides, she doesn’t even need a job, I provide everything she needs. I’d rather her focus on activities that can help her soul, not line her wallet.

I am not a cheapskate when it comes to my daughter and her mental health, I have spent thousands on the best therapists and treatments for her over the years.

I believed I was making the best of a bad situation: an injured old dog not having to face years of suffering, and I wanted to spare her having to see that or put that choice on her shoulders.

She already is a gracious, empathetic, and loving adult, just needs a little more time and care until she can be fully independent and make these hard choices herself. She plans to be a NICU nurse and spends most of her free time volunteering. I think that’s indicative of how she was raised.

What are your thoughts on OP's decision? Is he a sociopath or are redditors taking things too far? What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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