A post about a person declining to adopt their “dying best friend’s dog” and choosing instead to buy a puppy from a breeder has gone viral on Reddit, with 14,400 upvotes.
On Reddit’s Am I The A****** (AITA) subforum, user SB_MACK wrote that their best friend is dying of cancer and “could pass away any moment.”
According to the poster, their friend’s dog Horace is “a little s***” and was “never properly trained.” When the user declined to take his dog, the friend said: “Are you f****** kidding me? You’ve known Horace since he was a puppy.”
Telling the friend “that’s why I don’t want him. He’s just—not a good dog,” the poster wrote that they would help find Horace a “good home.”
According to the 2015 edition of the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines, most dogs and cats that are either sent to shelters, euthanized for behavioral issues or abandoned are aged from 1 to 3 and are “in the midst of social maturity,” as noted at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website.
The guidelines explain that “changes in pet behavior are potentially life-threatening, yet many of the problems emerging during that time can be addressed with simple intervention.”
As brutal as the poster’s response may have seemed, professional dog trainer Ali Smith, based in Maryland, told Newsweek that the user is “just someone who knows what they want.”
However, Laura Windsor, an etiquette and protocol consultant in London, told Newsweek that the poster’s response was “insensitive” and “by slighting the dog, he was, in a way, slighting the owner.”
The user in the latest Reddit post wrote that they were “blindsided” recently by their friend’s response to being shown images of a German shepherd puppy the user had just purchased.
The poster explained: “I’ve always wanted a German Shepard puppy, so I was excited to show him the pictures—and I thought maybe the pictures would bring him at least a moment of joy—even if the moment was fleeting.”
The user was instead told that the friend’s cousin, who was supposed to take his 2-year-old pug Horace, “could no longer take him and I could save a lot of money by taking his dog.”
According to the poster, “Horace is not a good dog. This is not me being an a******—this is simply me knowing Horace…he s**** in the house and he tears stuff up. He’s always yapping. He’s always wanting something. He doesn’t even know what he wants. He literally just wants to want something. Nonstop. He was never properly trained.”
Windsor is the founder of the Laura Windsor Etiquette Academy in London. She told Newsweek it is “quite understandable” that the poster may not want to adopt the friend’s dog, given the dog’s alleged behavior.
However, the poster “should not have refused outright or told his dying friend what he thought about Horace. This was insensitive. It is obvious that this dog is loved and cherished and this sentiment should be respected,” the expert added.
Windsor, who received her etiquette training from a former member of The Royal Household of Queen Elizabeth II, said: “The man is dying and it is normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious.”
Regardless of what reply the dying friend may have given, Windsor said that the poster’s response should have been “a more positive one,” and they should be there “to calm, not cause anxiety.”
The etiquette expert added that it is “only natural” for a dying man to feel helpless and want to “make sure his loved ones will be taken care of after he is gone.”
Windsor said: “Although it was thoughtful of the friend to offer to find him a good home, he could have left it open with a ‘I will see what I can do’ and assured him more at length of his desire to accommodate his wishes.”
Smith is the founder of Rebarkable.com, which provides puppy training advice. She said that “just because Horace wasn’t a great dog for their dying friend, doesn’t mean Horace won’t be a good dog for them, and could serve as a wonderful reminder of his friend, and be a very good deed.”
Admitting she is “a little biased being a German shepherd mom” herself, the professional dog trainer said that “a well-bred German shepherd is a phenomenal dog, and wants very different things from life than a pug. So it may suit the poster much better to have a shepherd than a pug.”
Smith added: “Taking a steep departure from what you need from a dog, or a dog who thinks similarly to you as a human (which, hopefully the German shepherd does) causes a lot of training issues and frustration in dog parents.”
The dog trainer also said that, given the pug in the latest Reddit post is only 2 years old and that it is a popular breed, “he’s very likely to find a home easily.”
Several Reddit users criticized the original poster for not being tactful in the way that he declined the friend’s request.
Purple_Routine1297 acknowledged that “dogs are a commitment, regardless of the breed, gender and age.” But “if my best friend was actively dying from cancer…I would have just said ‘look, I can’t take your pup in…what I can do is make sure your pup gets into a good home…”
In a comment that got 7,500 upvotes, user SatansHRManager wrote: “Honestly. People have the dumbest expectations of getting puppies. Here’s a dog that needs a home right in front of him.”