I would never give my dogs up. Not a one of them. I don't care how much money they end up costing me; I don't care how many sleepless nights they give me; I don't care how many items of furniture or other material things, they destroy; I will keep them with me and love them and cherish them forever.
I would never take my cat to a shelter - because she is part of my family and I would never take a family member to a shelter, hoping to have that family member 'adopted' out to a 'good' home. IF I EVER had a serious issue in my life and HAD to find a home for one of my pets, I would do so by contacting friends and family and researching true rescue-shelter projects.
I will not walk my dogs off-leash in my neighborhood or around the walking path we use every day. My dogs are sweethearts, but... they can appear to be less than friendly when they bark and carry on, which they do from time to time. I prefer to know they are in my "control" at all times - and that just means that I can keep them from harm. For instance, from seeing a friend across the way and running off to play with her - right into the path of a car. Or, meeting up with a stranger and, in their own fear and mistrust, acting too aggressive. Note the word "act"... my dogs are not aggressive...but, to others, they may appear so, sometimes.
I will not wait until I am really, really old to make sure my dogs and my cat will be cared for when I ... am no longer here. I am not getting any younger. Ok... I think I have a good 20 -30 years left in me, but as I age, I may not be able to care for my darling pets as I do now. And, if my maker claims me unexpectedly someday, I do not want my precious darlings put into a ... crowded pen with strangers. I want them cared for properly - with love, lots of attention, a warm bed, and every day walks. Yes, I do.
I may overindulge my darlings, now and then. Extra treats just because I can. Or, new toys I know they will tear apart in a day or two.
In short, I will be a good pet parent. I will parent my pets much the same way I parented my kids - by allowing them to be who they are (personalities accepted), and by letting them grow and learn through exploring the world around them, including the world of my home, where they live.
I love my pets. I respect them as sentient beings. To do less would be... criminal.
That's how I feel. How about you?
p.s. I wrote this cause I was visiting Forever Friends Great Dane Rescue on Facebook and so many people seem to give up their big dogs when they get 'older'... and need more medical care.
I can't understand it - having a dog or cat as a family member for 6-8 years and then just giving the dog away...or taking him to the humane society...seems horribly out of touch. Don't these people have hearts?