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'AITA for defending my wife for using a service dog because my sister doesn't like it.'

'AITA for defending my wife for using a service dog because my sister doesn't like it.'


"AITA for not caring about how anyone else feels about my wife's assistance dog?"

Kimboisin writes:

My wife and I live in a different state from my family; however, we often travel back to my home state for special family occasions, birthdays, and Christmas, for example. My wife is a 22-year military veteran and was medically discharged.

She has been diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and has spent several stints in psychiatric hospitals, one for four months. She was prescribed an assistance (service) dog, who we have trained under the supervision of a registered organization. Daisy (the dog's name) is formally qualified and papered.

She goes pretty much wherever we go, including interstate flights in the cabin, with my wife in an ambulance to the hospital, and even to psychiatric units. My family is all aware of this and mostly supportive.

However, the last time we visited for my niece’s 21st birthday, I was questioned by both my sister and my niece about whether Daisy was accompanying my wife to the party. I responded that she was, as my wife really struggles in loud, crowded environments (there were about 80 people and loud music in one room).

My niece suggested several reasons why Daisy shouldn’t go: loud music, balloons, lots of people… I assured her Daisy was fine with all of it, as they already knew from being familiar with Daisy’s very calm temperament.

My sister then spoke to me after my niece and also said similar things, not outright saying it, but heavily suggesting it would be better if Daisy didn’t attend. I just said if my wife feels she needs her, she will be attending. Sometimes my wife has been able to do small things without her, but never big events like parties. Even in shopping centers and restaurants, Daisy comes with her.

Anyway, the party came and went. My wife had to take 4 Valium to cope but managed to sit through the evening with Daisy by her side at her feet at a table. Other people throughout the evening went over to talk to her, and most didn’t even notice Daisy was there.

For myself, I’m used to my wife’s conditions and knew that although she was struggling, she was coping and even enjoying talking to people at times. I danced the night away, periodically sitting down beside my wife and checking in. After the party was over, we had a few days at my sister’s house where the topic of her son’s impending wedding came up.

Again, I was asked by my sister if my wife would be taking Daisy. I again said yes, more than likely (for the same reasons as the 21st: lots of people, loud noises, crowded environment). Again it was inferred that the event wouldn’t be suitable for Daisy: the tables were really crowded, lots of people, plus my sister suggested that if my wife didn’t have Daisy, she would be able to get up and dance!

Before my wife had her breakdown, she was not a dancer, and now with her anxiety, there’s no way she’d be comfortable out on a dance floor! I was so taken aback I didn’t know how to respond.

My wife heard my sister talking to me and so she suggested she only go to the ceremony and skip the reception to avoid my sister getting stressed out about her dog. My sister snapped, “They’re at the same venue!” then softened it with, “Of course, we want you to come.”

Both my wife and I felt very uncomfortable and kept reassuring my sister Daisy would be fine as she has been taught to sit under my wife’s chair out of the way… it felt like the concerns raised weren’t genuine concerns but just a way to make Daisy feel unwelcome. We flew back home not long after, and this is where I may be the AH.

We woke up the next morning, and the first words out of my wife’s mouth were, “Maybe I should just stay home for the wedding, and you go by yourself so I don’t stress your sister out by taking Daisy.” I felt so bad for her. It’s taken such a long time for her to feel comfortable going out in public, and Daisy has been instrumental in that.

Now my family was making her feel like she wasn’t welcome with her assistance dog. I reassured her, but later in the day, I rang my sister and told her what my wife had said and that perhaps more care could be taken to make sure my wife wasn’t left feeling that her conditions were not considered.

I told her my wife had said perhaps she shouldn’t go to avoid stressing her out, and my sister just said, “Yes, and?” To which I replied that she had been prescribed a dog for a reason, and without her dog, my wife would likely not go anywhere (like she used to).

My wife said she was better last time she was down, she didn’t take her everywhere. I explained that mental health goes up and down. Last time she was doing a bit better; however, she’d just been sick and was put on medication that messed with her regular meds, so she was only just coming out of that. Also, I reminded my sister that last time we didn’t really go out apart from to a restaurant, to which Daisy also came.

I just feel like I’m constantly trying to “prove” my wife’s medical conditions. Even her PTSD has been questioned as (in my sister’s words), “She didn’t go to Afghanistan.” She even had her best friend question me about it. I’m tempted to tell them some of my wife’s horror stories, but I just keep it general so they don’t get second-hand trauma.

My sister also said that she “had to think about other people,” and I said, “Why? Does someone have a problem with Daisy attending?” She said her son (my nephew) and his future wife had spoken to her about it. I said, “Well, I’ll ring them then,” which she hastily replied, “No, you can’t, they spoke to me in confidence.”

I said, “I just don’t understand what you are trying to achieve,” and she said, “It’s not just about you; I have to think of other people.” I said, “Well, you wouldn’t be asking Nonna if she was bringing her wheely walker,” and she said, “Actually Nonna might be in a wheelchair, so I’ll have to put her at the end of the table,” to which I snapped and said, “Yes, but you wouldn’t tell her she’s not allowed to bring her wheelchair!”

And she replied, “I didn’t say you couldn’t bring Daisy!” I said back that it was disingenuous to pretend that your questions aren’t designed to make us feel like she shouldn’t be coming. To which she replied that she couldn’t handle the stress I was causing her, and she said goodbye and hung up. So, AITAH for calling my sister out on all her questions regarding my wife’s assistance dog? Am I too sensitive (like my sister said)?

Here are the top comments:

vandr611 says:

NTA (Not the A^#&ole). Stand by your wife. My suggestion with your sister is to set up a blanket statement. "If you want me somewhere, my wife will be there with the service dog that makes that possible.

If you question if the dog will be there, I shall take that as you questioning if I will be there and assume we have been uninvited as a group." Also, her son and his fiancee didn't tell her anything in confidence or otherwise. I would catch her in her lie on general principle.

BadgeringforHoney says:

I would be calling your nephew and finding out what the actual truth is. Then telling your sister what’s what. Your wife and Daisy are one person they come as a package if she has a problem she needs to verbalise properly what it is and stop beating around the bush.

It sounds to me she’s one of those people who think people with mental health conditions should just ‘get over them’ I hope she never has to suffer what your wife has been through. Absolutely NTA and much love to your wife.

Nishikadochan says:

Call your nephew. If he did talk to her in confidence, then he deserves to know that confidence has been broken and his mother can’t keep her mouth shut. If he didn’t talk to her in confidence, likely meaning he didn’t talk to her at all, then he deserves to know his mother is using him as an excuse to kick up a fuss about something that should be a non issue.

NTA, and good for you for standing up for your wife. I can’t imagine having ptsd on top of my anxiety and depression. I’m sure she struggles a great deal. She sounds like a sweet unselfish woman, and I wish her (and you) the best.

The only problem I can really think of with Daisy being there is if someone in attendance is highly allergic. I would think that would be something that would already be known about any family members or close friends who may be attending. Even if that is the case, there’s no reason that can’t be worked around. Seat them and your wife at opposite sides of the venue and everyone should be fine.

Magdovus says:

Call your nephew. It's his wedding. He and the bride get to make the call. Has Daisy had her daily ration of belly rubs? She deserves more.

What do you think?

Sources: Reddit
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