Pet parents, it’s time you learned a hard truth: not everyone likes your dog or cat or other furry, feathery, slimy, or scaly creature that you call family. In fact, some people are really, really not animal lovers — and that’s OK! What’s not OK is trying to force your animal upon people after they set a clear boundary, something this one dad on Reddit keeps doing.
A mom wrote in to ask Reddit if her husband Boddy is an a—hole for insisting their niece spend time with their dog, despite the objections of the girl’s dad (who is Bobby’s brother Thomas). It’s complicated, so let’s dive in!
As a little background, the OP wrote that Thomas has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) “especially regarding his daughter (Ellie – 1) and our dog (2 yr old lab – Bella).”
“After his daughter was born, we all found out that he has really bad issues with germs,” the mom continued about her brother-in-law Thomas. “He’s super careful with sanitizing and limiting germ exposure. For example, if they go out to eat, he spends like 20 minutes wiping down the high chair before letting Ellie sit in it, or if she goes to the playground, he changes her clothes right when they get home.”
But here’s where Bobby has a problem: Thomas doesn’t like his daughter around Bobby’s dog. “We have a dog who we view as our child,” the mom continued. “Thomas hates bringing Ellie around our dog because of the germs. Whenever we get together for family dinners, he used to just hold Ellie, or make us lock Bella up in a different part of the house so that Ellie could run around. He’s starting to realize that that isn’t sustainable, so he’s slowly becoming more comfortable with Ellie running around while Bella is around.”
She went on, “To clarify, Bella mostly leaves Ellie alone. Even though he’s slowly warming up to it, he still refuses to come to our house because of Bella, and even asked us to leave Bella at home when we got together for Christmas (we said no, she’s family).”
Eh, I kinda get Thomas’s point though? I mean, why can’t you leave your dog at home for a couple hours while you celebrate Christmas? It’s basic respect for others, and sorry, but a dog is not a child. They will be fine, I promise.
She doesn’t get into how Christmas was resolved, but she does get to the heart of the post: an upcoming family vacation.
“My husband (Bobby) really wants to go on a trip with his family this summer to a lake,” she continued. “We talked it over with his parents and decided to rent a houseboat and my FIL said he would take care of the cost of the houseboat and us kids were going to split the gas.”
She continued, “Bobby was talking to his sister (Amber – Thomas’ wife) today and she mentioned that Thomas had said that if Bella is going, they’re not.”
As a reminder, Bella is the dog. So, Thomas basically said he doesn’t want to share a vacation on a boat with their dog, which to be fair, I wouldn’t either? It seems like close quarters, plus Thomas has a mental health issue and this dog is a major trigger (which Bobby knows).
“I guess Thomas is worried about Ellie and Bella being in such close quarters with each other and is worried about Bella accidentally hurting Ellie (the example he gave was Bella accidentally pushing Ellie off the boat),” she continued. “Bobby tried talking with her and she’s going to talk to Thomas and see if we can convince him that everyone involved will be safe (there are guardrails on the boat so no one can accidentally go overboard) and make sure he knows that both Bella and Ellie will be under constant supervision, especially when they’re together.”
So despite him setting a clear boundary — hey guys, we’re going to sit this one out because being on a boat with a dog makes me uneasy — his brother and his wife are trying to force him to change him mind so they can bring their dog. On top of that, they want to expose their niece to their dog even more. “Not only that, but we want to do some training with Bella and Ellie in the next couple months before the trip to make sure they are comfortable around each other, since they really don’t have a chance to be with each other without Thomas intervening,” the mom continued.
Your solution to Thomas not liking your dog is to bring your dog around Thomas even more? I wonder why that wouldn’t work (sarcasm, obviously).
“There is an extra fee of $30/day for pets that we’re planning on paying, which is a lot cheaper than if we were to put her in a pet hotel for the trip,” the mom continues in her crusade to justify this strange behavior. “And we don’t have any other family or friends that can watch her either. So besides just wanting to bring her because she would have so much fun, it’s also easier (and cheaper) for us to bring her with.”
I’m so glad it’s easier for you — and I love how you’re not even trying to pretend like you care about your brother-in-law at all. It’s honestly so rude.
“Bobby is worried that his dad is going to tell us not to bring Bella so that Amber and Thomas will come on the trip, and I told Bobby that he should tell his dad that if Bella isn’t coming, then neither are we, which might make us the AH,” the mom continued.
So now they are making the kindhearted dad (who is paying for the vacation!) to choose between his granddaughter and his granddog? They are being so petty over a dog, it’s ridiculous!
The mom edited to add that they “do have a 4month old human baby as well as the 2 year old dog. So there is no jealousy that they have a baby and we don’t, or a lack of understanding about having a dog and baby together in the same space.”
Redditors were a little flabbergasted at this couple’s weirdly insistent behavior.
“You’re free to do what you want but yeah, in this case, YWBTA if you use this as leverage to get your way,” someone said. “A child, regardless of their age, always trumps a pet when it comes to safety. But more so when they’re as young as Ellie.”
“Gonna be honest. No one but you guys wants your dog around at every single family trip and event,” another commented. “She’s a pet, not a child, obviously grandparents would rather their grandkid came than your dog. That’s not normal and you seem entitled to believe you should be able to bring your dog to every single thing. YTA” Exactly. Why are you pushing your dog on this family, just let it go!
“NAH If you don’t want to go without your dog, that’s your decision. If your brother-in-law doesn’t want to go with the dog, that’s his decision,” one person wrote. “If your father-in-law and mother-in-law are paying for the trip, then it’s reasonable for them to ask a dog not to go. Especially if it means they get to take the trip with their grandchild. I know your dog is like a child to you, but that doesn’t mean it is to everyone else and that everyone else has to act accordingly. In your own home is one thing, but this is a joint vacation you’re all agreeing to take together.”
Someone responded, “Couldn’t have said it better. Not everyone likes dogs, gotta deal with it. And this is coming from a dog owner. I don’t know what this obsession is with everyone trying to force their dogs on people. He doesn’t like dogs, he established that boundary. You are also free to establish your boundaries, so I guess you can tell your husband y’all are not going on this houseboat vacation then.”
“It seems like they insist on taking their dog with them EVERYWHERE, in which case I understand why BIL is frustrated with the situation,” another said. I agree, it’s very strange. Does the dog sit at the table during mealtimes too? Stop being ridiculous.
Others advocated for the brother-in-law who is dealing with OCD on top of the petty family members. “This guy is OCD/dealing with mental health challenges. It would really suck for you to miss out on family time over this!” one person wrote. “Sounds like you’re not footing the bill for the whole trip – if you can, use the money you’re saving to give the doggie a nice experience at the pet hotel. I’m sure nothing good will come of you skipping the vacay. You’ll resent BIL & miss out on making memories with the fam. Don’t do it to yourselves!”
The went on, “Maybe in time you can continue working with BIL & have an honest convo about how much this means to you/the fact that you’re afraid it’s causing unneeded tension, and you’d like to find ways to help him be more comfortable with his kiddo being around your pup. But sounds like you’re just not gonna solve this in time for the family vacation.”
“The OCD is a major part of this puzzle that most here aren’t considering,” another said. “If he truly has OCD the BIL is not being petty. Forcing him into a situation where he has to make an impossible decision that make him feel even worse about himself, when all OP would have to do is leave their stupid dog home, is absolutely a petty AH move. I believe it’s cruel.”
Sounds like very good advice!
Another suggested skipping the houseboat vacay idea all together. “I’m sorry, but who TF takes a toddler on a houseboat?” another said. “I am generally a pretty chill parent when it comes to safety things, but I do not fuck with water and small children.”
“It’s not unreasonable to not want a dog and a toddler on a boat together for a long period of time,” one person pointed out. “This becomes even less of a vacation for the toddlers family because they constantly have to be watching their kid around a dog. It’s not about being in a bubble, it’s safety. If these peoples dog having a good time is more important to them than their nieces safety or the enjoyment of any of the actual humans on the trip they are definitely YTA.”
Maybe you should table the houseboat vacation and plan a trip with fewer safety concerns? But even if your family does move ahead with the trip, just leave your dog at home for peace of mind for everyone. Pets are important, but c’mon, this is your family! And she probably wouldn’t even like being trapped on a cramped houseboat as much as she would enjoy running free at a doggy daycare anyway.
Before you go, check out these unbelievable stories about Reddit’s worst dads.
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