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Mom tells brother his GF can't bring therapy dog to Christmas because of scared niece. AITA?

Mom tells brother his GF can't bring therapy dog to Christmas because of scared niece. AITA?


Making everyone happy at Christmas can be a major challenge, and sometimes, it's utterly impossible.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for not letting her brother's girlfriend bring her dog to Christmas. She wrote:

"AITA for not allowing my brother and his girlfriend to spend Christmas with our parents?"

My daughter is nine and petrified of dogs. Sobbing, screaming, shaking - will literally wet herself - by them just being within sight. She is in therapy for it. My brother's girlfriend has a service dog for mental health reasons. We were informed of the dog, tried one interaction, we had the exact same situation (crying, wet herself, clung to her dad and would scream if he tried to put her down).

My mom told us that they were planning for her to spend Christmas with the family. I said that that would be fine as long as the dog stayed home. I did comment that he's only for mental health and she'll have my brother so she won't need the dog desperately. My parents agreed and explained the conditions to my brother and his girlfriend who apparently broke down in tears.

They think I'm alienating her, I disagree and think I'm protecting my daughter's peace. My brother's girlfriends argument is that her dog is fine and maybe him being friendly before upset her, so she won't let him greet anyone. I know from experience that that does not work with my daughter. I told my parents if the dog will be there we will not be. They have as such declared the dog an unwelcome guest.

My brother is angry because this is his first Christmas with his girlfriend and we celebrate it every year with my parents - they should "get" this year. I don't think a girlfriend is more important than their grandchild and my parents agree. My brother's words have been getting to me though and I do feel awful. So AITA for not allowing them?

Redditors had plenty to say about the situation.

billymackactually wrote:

Is there not some what to divide the day so that your brother and his GF can see the parents for part of the day? To those saying that the brother's 'family' is not being given consideration, a girlfriend, especially one of barely a year, is not exactly 'family'. She's a girlfriend, as opposed to a granddaughter, who absolutely does take priority.

Yes, this little girl does need therapy; this level of reaction to dogs is beyond reasonable fear. But she is entitled to visit her grandparents at Christmas without being terrified.

OP responded:

It's only for dinner (about three hours) so in theory they could visit beforehand, yes.

Sandyiam315 wrote:

Why is the girlfriend’s mental health more important than the daughter’s. They both have different and non-compatible mental health requirements. Split the time with your parents accordingly. NAH.

Vast-Ant-9699 wrote:

I am the only one who thinks it's kind of ironic that someone who has a service dog for mental health issues is willing to bring the dog around a 9-year-old kid that is in therapy after a traumatic event with a dog which then impacts the kids' mental health? If I was the girlfriend I would have said I won't attend I don't want to make things worse for the child.

It sounds like the girlfriend said she would just hold the dog back and is making light of the impact it would have on the little girl. I assume at least the uncle (brother) knows what happened to the child and could or would have filled the gf in about it. I get OP's brother being upset because he wants his GF around but adults being okay with triggering a 9 year old on Christmas seems ridiculous to me.

overworked-teacher13 wrote:

NTA. Commenters seem to ignore your daughter's real mental health issues (PTSD due to dogs) in favour of the girl friends mental health issues. One can’t just trump another but when a dog literally causes the issues, then the dog needs to stay home. It’s up to your parents to decide what is more important and they did.

Intrepid-Try6103 wrote:

NTA- these two individuals cannot coexist in the same space due to their individual mental health illnesses. The grandparents are aware of this and have been a decision as to who they will accommodate.

The grandparents may not see the girlfriend in the same light as their NINE-year-old granddaughter and in all likelihood prefer to create lasting Christmas memories with their GRANDDAUGHTER over a POTENTIAL DIL. Hopefully, people understand that there is a hierarchy to life- and grandchildren usually come first to grandparents, even over their own kids!

OP is NTA here, it's just a tough call - and the grandparents ultimately made it.

Sources: Reddit
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