This rescue thing is on the forefront of my mind right now. Veng and I have what I would consider a fair number of animals but they're all happy and healthy little buggers. 3 turtles, 3 snakes, 3 hamsters and a fish who thinks he's royalty. Were moving June 1st into an environment that will allow for a dog finally and I can't friggin' wait. Starting the adoption process now which will likely take the full two months. Were going to see a 7 year old beagle tomorrow and I have a really good feeling about him.
Of course in all my research its easy to see why even people with the means/time get frustrated with rescues. Its so damn easy to walk into your local pet store and walk outwith a new animal while going through a rescue requires time, money and usually a huge song and dance of requirements. Also, as you said, not all rescues are created equal. Some of them, in worst cases, aren't in it for the betterment of animals, and some of them, in the not so bad cases, are just down right rude. You just have to persevere and realise that there are good rescues out there that are right for you. Ones where they put the onus of responsibility on the owner and ones where the song and dance routine is a relatively reasonable experience. And to buy from anywhere else is just making you part of really serious problem.
As for money, its not even just vet care but environment, supplies, food and toys where applicable. Animals are a huge expense but if you can afford it and love them, its so worth it
I dunno, just something that has been on my mind alot lately.
You're right about the whole reptiles being able to be home cared even when sick. We've only ever had to take one of our turtles to a vet but when we did, I felt that we were educating the vet on alot of subjects....something you're not used to doing with doctors. He helped with the shell rot issue (this turtle was a rescue) but if there was anything wrong with him that was breed specific, I honestly don't think he would have been able to help us much.