In the shelter world when an animal is adopted, we always say that they finally found their 'forever home'. Unfortunately, there are many (many, many) who seem to have varying definitions of the word 'forever'.
When I was actively a volunteer in our cat shelter, I heard every excuse in the book for why an animal no longer fit in their lives. I *do* think there are some situations where a person does need to find a new situation for an animal but more often than not, I truly believe that the person has just forgotten what the word 'forever' means.
I was raised around animals. I was born into a home with them. I learned early on to respect the boundaries of my fuzzy housemates and what would result if I did not respect those boundaries. I found a deeper sense of love and compassion through my relationships with the animals in our lives that I don't think I could have found elsewhere. I have dealt with the good, the bad and the ugly in regards to health, habits, personalities, smells (hello, ferrets!)... and I still can't imagine not having them in my life. My sister battles allergies to cats and has a big ol' fluffy one herself. They are a part of our lives forever.
With a child coming into our world, I don't think about how I'll keep baby and pets separate but rather, how we can integrate them all together. While I know it is different, these four-legged forever friends are my first children. They are gaining a sibling, as she is gaining four of her own. I want her to be raised to respect, love and cherish animals just as I did. And I want our fuzzies to always feel loved. Forever.