Woman Refuses To Attend Family Christmas Because Her Brother Wants To Bring His 'Unpredictable' Rescue Dog

Nothing is worth risking a child's safety, even at Christmas.

mom, child and dog in a yard Yan Krukau / Pexels 

Being part of a family is often an extended negotiation between what we want to do and what we think is the right thing to do. The holidays can be a particularly fraught time for family politics, with added pressure to come together for a perfect celebration.

Yet the mom of a toddler discovered that just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean she should compromise for family traditions.

A woman refuses to attend her family Christmas because her brother is bringing his ‘unpredictable’ rescue dog.

She wrote to the "Dear Prudence" advice column, asking how to navigate the family tension she anticipates will arise by not going to her family’s Christmas dinner.


She explained her "annual holiday dilemma" centering around her brother’s rescue dog, sharing, “I admire that they were willing to take on the dog, she has a history of trauma and can be unpredictable.”

Woman Refuses To Attend Family Christmas Because Her Brother Wants To Bring His Rescue DogPhoto: Leeloo The First / Pexels 

They can’t board the dog, as she’s aggressive with other dogs, yet she’s also aggressive to people when she feels threatened, due to her history of abuse.


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“The dog doesn’t always react very well to new people and environments, and has behaved aggressively at times,” the woman shared. A few years ago, the dog bit the woman; at their Thanksgiving meal, the dog bit her 9-year-old niece two times. 

When dogs act aggressively towards children, it's often based on anxiety, stress, or fear. Bringing in a dog trainer to specifically help reroute those aggressive instincts would probably be in everyone's best interest, and help the dog feel calmer and more safe.



Her brother and sister-in-law try to mitigate the dog’s exposure to people during family get-togethers by keeping the dog in a guest room, “but with all the kids, she inevitably gets let out at some point.” 


She shared her apprehension about bringing her toddler around the dog, saying, “I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable having her around the dog.” 

The mom wondered whether telling her parents that she wouldn't attend Christmas if her brother’s dog came was worth the inevitable family drama.

“I’m unwilling to risk my daughter’s safety,” the mother explained, wondering how to deal with the fall-out she expects from her decision.

Woman Refuses To Attend Family Christmas Because Her Brother Wants To Bring His Rescue DogPhoto: Stephe Andrews / Pexels 


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The advice she received landed on the side of prioritizing her daughter’s safety over her family’s comfort. As "Dear Prudence" sees it, the woman’s brother and sister-in-law have done a good thing by taking in the rescue dog, yet no amount of family politics is worth her daughter getting hurt.

“You owe your child at least as much loving care as they are providing for their pet,” she said. “Of course, you should tell them you won’t come if an animal with a history of biting children is there.”



While "Dear Prudence" agreed it might create a certain level of drama, she maintained that it pales in comparison to the possibility of a dog attack. 


Just as her brother wants what’s best for his fur baby, the woman wants a guarantee of safety for her actual baby, which is a completely realistic ask, one that takes precedence over any holiday celebration

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.