A friend called me dumbfounded. She was speaking to a person who was planning a vacation, could not find a sitter for the family cats, and did not want to spend the funds to board them. She then announced to my friend that she would do the right thing and "donate" them to a local shelter. She and her children would then get new cats upon their return from vacation. Problem solved.
I realize that not everyone is as immersed in or educated about the animal welfare business as those of us directly involved - but - really? We hope that a commitment is made when adopting a pet that is for the life of the pet and includes food, medical care and boarding when necessary. I understand that people don't always choose the correct words when speaking - but - "donate"? We seek donations to care for and educate about unwanted and abused pets with the hope that someday we won't have anymore of them. I believe that it's commonly felt that providing children with a pet can be an invaluable experience - but - what is the real message to her kids here? That pets are disposable and there are always more? In fact - most children witnessing such behavior wonder if they will be turned in should they become too expensive or inconvenient.
Clearly, we have a lot more work to do. And I finally met a donation I didn't want!