Silkie, I understand your views. I can't imagine having a pet for however many years then just 'trading' them in to get the 'flavor of the month'. I am way attached to my animals, and it may sound stupid to say, but they are my kids. My bf and I can't have children so they fill a much needed void in our lives.
If anyone has ever read my posts about my 'babes' then they know I am truely into it for the personality and joy of interacting and watching them everyday. Some say that cleaning their cages and making sure they eat is a chore, but to me it's something I don't think twice about. I love my animals, and I mean it. I would do anything for them, and even if the animals AREN'T mine, I've gone out of my way to help them.
My dad once told me that if I left all my pets and rescues with my mom and moved to live with him in FL he'd buy me a car, pay for my schooling and give me anything I would ever need. I believed him, but telling me to leave my kids behind is something I CAN'T even consider. (Some of them are 'special needs' animals).
For the people who consider keeping reptiles a 'hobby' (and those of you who have mentioned this aweful word know who you are). Reptile keeping is no different from dog or cat keeping, yet no one calls that or treats that as a hobby.
My animals are my pets, members of a family; included in everything from holidays to their own birthday parties and I've got the pix to prove it!
Well thought-out thread, Silkie, thank you for reminding us just how special our pets are!