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Woman skips bro's bday party because 'she can't leave dog home'; gets called 'selfish.'

Woman skips bro's bday party because 'she can't leave dog home'; gets called 'selfish.'


'WIBTA for not attending my brother‘s birthday party because I can‘t bring my dog?'

I (28F) have a three year old German Shepherd (Lou) who is the sweetest dog I‘ve ever met. She’s very cuddly and loving once she‘s gotten used to you. However, she was abused as a puppy and has separation anxiety.

(EDIT: we’ve been working with a professional trainer and she’s been making improvements) but currently, leaving her home alone for more than an hour simple isn‘t possible (EDIT: and my brother lives 45 minutes away). It‘s hard to gain her trust, so getting someone to watch her on short notice is nearly impossible.

The last time I visited my brother (39M), his wife (42F) stepped on Lou‘s tale and quite obviously, it hurt. She didn‘t bite or even try do do so, but she barked quite loudly before running to hide behind me.

I asked my SIL whether she way alright and she said she was, so I didn’t think anything else of it. After all, she‘d known Lou for almost 2 years before the incident.

But when my brother invited me to his birthday party next weekend, he told me to leave Lou at home and when I asked for the reason, he told me SIL thought she was too aggressive to be around the guests.

She isn‘t, but it‘s their house, their rules and I want to respect her wishes, so I simply called my usual dog sitter who told me that unfortunately, they weren’t available. Anyone else who has watched Lou in the past will also be at my brother‘s party so I don‘t have anyone to watch her.

I told my brother I could either

a) bring Lou and keep her on leash at all times,

or b) take Lou with me and take turns with my mum walking her around the neighbor so I could be able to stay a bit without his wife having to face my dog

or c) come over (with Lou in the car) to congratulate him and bring over his present but leave shortly afterwards as I don‘t want her to be alone in the car for more than 15 minutes.

He told me that he didn’t like any of these options because his wife didn’t want my 'aggressive dog' on their property, in their driveway or in their neighborhood in general. I apologized and told him if that was the case, I wouldn’t be able to come at all.

He has told me he’s disappointed but especially my SIL has been bombarding me with texts about how I was selfish for putting my dog before my brother, and that I was an AH of a sister to do that to him on his 40th birthday.

I think I have proposed reasonable enough compromises (EDIT: and because all of them were declined, I don’t see what other options I have left except for staying home) but in the end, I‘d still like to hear the opinions of unbiased internet strangers to be sure.

Some people think OP is the AH.

tapdancepanda writes:

OP is TA for even considering putting her dog in a situation like a party, where there’s going to be an overwhelming amount of stimulation. That is very unlikely to help a reactive dog in the long run, and creates situations where she’s setting her dog up to fail and then being surprised when other people don’t want to be around it.

RecommendationLate80 writes:

Vet here. Whenever an owner starts the 'abused as a puppy' story, we all know that this is code for 'poorly socialized and now is fearful of everything.'

Spiritual-Shelter85 writes:

I think your dog can go more than an hour without you…

Hmmmmmm2023 writes:

It’s unreasonable to have a pet that you cannot leave at home for a couple of hours. You’ve had it for years and it can’t be left alone??? Put in the garage or something, go to the part, the dog will not be harmed if you leave it alone. It needs to get accustomed to it at some point. Sounds like a you problem that you are blaming on the dog.

andandandetc writes:

Keep in mind that this is coming from OP's perspective. There's always the chance they're an unreliable narrator.

PracticalToAFault writes:

I hear this story from everyone who's ever had an adopted dog. Every. Single. One. Is it possible that each of these dogs were abused?

Other people are on OP's side:

MaybeAWalrus writes:

NAH. You dog is preventing you from attending some social event : if that is how you want you life to be, then it's only up to you. Sucks for your friends & family, but that's your decisions. You cannot be forced to abandon your pet, but you cannot force people to be around him.

Much_Class_828 writes:

SIL is TA for simultaneously refusing to have the dog anywhere in the vicinity AND berating OP for not attending. Wanting to have it both ways is a d**k move.

are-Papaya writes:

I'm a separation anxiety dog guardian too, and you're always going to run up against people who just do not and can not understand, which it seems like your SIL is. Good for you for sticking up for what you know your dog needs.

Stunning_Proposal writes:

NTA, SIL might not like dogs and could’ve stepped on her tail on purpose if she’s acting like that. You offered a compromise but they were all declined so it’s not on you

OP responds to comments:

shockinglynotcoffee asks:

INFO — what happens if you leave your dog alone for more than an hour? How do you grocery shop, work, or go on dates? I’m wondering if you’re the one who is anxiously attached to the dog.

loutheshepherd OP responded:

Lou gets extremely stressed and starts trying to escape with will eventually lead to her getting hurt (my vet bills tell the whole story…).

I have a very reliable dog sitter who I can easily leave her with for hours at a time (great for an evening out with friends) and she‘s been with my parents for an entire weekend at a time. Unfortunately, neither my usual sitter nor my parents are available the day of my brother’s birthday.

No-Permit8239 writes:

I'm really skeptical of this claim that you can't leave this dog you've had for 2 years alone for more than an hour at a time. You don't have a job? You don't ever go to doctors' or dentist appointments? You never go out to eat? To the movies? The mall? The grocery store?

If this is true, that your life completely revolves around this neurotic dog, then this is a really unhealthy relationship you have with this dog. It's a dog, not your bedridden child who needs 24 hour care. YTA.

loutheshepherd OP responded:

I do have the ability to leave the house. That‘s what I have a dog sitter for. As I have stated in my post, they simply aren’t available for my brother‘s birthday.


Aren't you glad all these helpful people who obviously know your dog are able to give you such useful advice? It must be heartwarming to hear people berate you for not doing the exact things you have stated repeatedly that you are doing...

loutheshepherd OP responded:

Honestly, if I had known there were so many professionals on Reddit who know my dog‘s issues so much better than me or her trainer, I would‘ve come here sooner. /s

Massive_Cult writes:

YTA, you don’t get to make your neurotic a** dog everyone else’s problem. Is this even an enjoyable pet to own? It sounds like it’s keeping you hostage. Train your damn dog or keep your ass home.

loutheshepherd OP responded:

I am indeed 'keeping my a** home'. It‘s what I stated as my last options after my ideas of a compromise were turned down.

What do you think?

Sources: Reddit
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