In the popular Reddit forum “Am I the A**hole?,” a social media user who goes by the username u/TheGreatestGreatDane began by explaining how his 14-year-old child got a dog when he was eight. After describing the dog’s breed as a half Great Dane, the man said his “son loves this dog and does all the care for him (except vet stuff) and is a very responsible dog owner. This dog is pretty much his best friend.”
The original poster (OP) then explained that his wife, who is 12 weeks pregnant, has been “weird” around the dog ever since she discovered that she was expecting.
“She avoids him, puts her hands over her stomach when he is around and jolts whenever he makes noise,” he continued. “Today she told me she wants to re-home the dog. I asked her what she was talking about.”
The man said that while his wife has been “having anxiety that [the dog] will jump on her,” he thinks that it’s “completely unreasonable” since the animal “doesn’t jump on people”.
“We trained him not to jump on people or run into people very young because he is half Great Dane, and I felt this was important for all dogs, but especially one who could possibly grow to such a large size (which he did),” he continued. “There is no reason for her to think the dog will jump on her.”
The OP then said his wife still told him that “there is no way to know for sure that the dog won’t jump on her” and if that did happen, their “baby could be hurt”. After noting that the “dog has never so much as growled at” his spouse, he said that his wife wanted the dog to live elsewhere, which he didn’t agree with.
“She said even if the dog doesn’t jump on her, her anxiety about it is bad for her health. She said she needs the dog elsewhere for her safety and the baby’s,” he continued. “I told her that there was no way. My son got this dog right after he lost his mom and imprinted on him hard. Sometimes I think he loves the dog more than me! I’m not taking his dog. The dog didn’t do anything!”
The man then shared that his wife told him that he was “prioritising the dog over her pregnancy,” which he didn’t feel like he was doing. He also asked fellow Reddit users for their thoughts on the situation.
“The dog isn’t a threat to her pregnancy,” he wrote. “If this were any other unreasonable request, I would just do it because she is pregnant. I just can’t break my son’s heart over a fear she has that makes no sense. Am I being an a**hole?”
He noted in the comments that he got his son the dog after the death of his first wife. The man also specified that while the second wife “never played with” or was “displeased” with the animal before her pregnancy, she “would interact with him”.
As of 6 January, the Reddit post has more than 18,500 upvotes, with many readers defending the man for wanting to keep the dog and questioning his spouse.
“She needs some counselling (genuinely, not being rude) to figure out why she is only fixated on the dog and reacting to sound similar to ptsd symptoms,” one person claimed. “Did you train the dog not to jump because he pushed her over at some point? Was she pushed by a dog as a child or something? Something got in her head. OR she has always hated the dog and is manipulating you now that she sees her ‘chance’ to get rid of it.”
“Don’t you dare give away your son’s dog,” another wrote. “He didn’t ask for you to remarry and have a new child. Your son will never forgive you, or your new wife, if you allow her to continue to push this topic. She needs to actively work on coping with her anxiety. May I suggest therapy?”
A third wrote: “Animals are lifetime responsibilities. Pawning them off because she got pregnant would be a s***ty thing to do.”
While most people agreed that u/TheGreatestGreatDane wasn’t in the wrong, they still acknowledged the wife’s mental health challenges throughout her pregnancy.
“Chiming in to say that previously non-existent anxiety around pets is pretty common during pregnancy. Of course you should keep the dog, but OP please understand that what your wife is going through right now is common, and hopefully she is willing to get help to overcome her anxiety rather than holding fast on the idea that you rehome,” one wrote.
“Having anxiety in pregnancy is totally a thing and can be debilitating. You should encourage your wife to talk with her OB about it because there’s a lot they can do- counselling, meds, etc. I started having intrusive thoughts during pregnancy and dealt with it on my own, but postpartum was a lot harder to manage by myself,” another added.