I've, and my family, have always had pets, and no we have only parted with them in extremis.
MSUBioNerd, your story reminds me of my sister who, the animal lover that she is acquired a mini lop rabbit sometime in college -- they had permitted them the year before. Well after a couple of months into that year the powers-at-be decided that rabbits were forbidden and that she must now dispose of the rabbit. Well my parents, or rather my mother, who lived in Guam, agreed to take the rabbit when we came home for Christmas, and she found a friend to keep the animal until that time. So come Christmas with a vets bills of health, and an $80 air ticket, Benny-the-Bunny set out for Guam. All was fine until we got to Narita Japan where we were to change planes. But NorthWest Airlines had apparently cancelled all flights to Guam indefinately due to a typhoon. But Continental was flying to Guam and they would transfer us over to a flight leaving shortly.
So we went and picked up the 'labbit' (Japanese pronunciation of rabbit) from a very nice Japanese gentleman in customs and proceeded to Continental. That we had to pick up the labbit from customs should have been a clue of what was to come, but we were naive. Our arrival at the Continental Airlines desk caused an immediate and raucus scandal. The airline staff, who were rent-a-staff from Japan Airlines, wanted nothing to do with the labbit, as 'regulations' prohibited bringing the animal. Well we argued long and hard, and I got into a yelling match on the phone with the local Continental manager about regulations and typhoons, but to no avail, and we watched the plane leave. My sister was in tears at this point with visions of leaving the Benny in the Narita airport.
So we finally called my parents and explained things to them. They went to NorthWest and talked to the Guam manager who talked to the Continental manager and got them to agree to take the labbit. So we left the labbit with customs, or whatever the department was, and went the the hotel that NorthWest provided for the night content that everything was resolved. Well that was not to be, as when we got to the airport the next morning it was the same manager as the night before and he didn't give a hoot about the management in Guam, but the labbit wasn't going period. So we went back to NorthWest which still wasn't flying to Guam, but they would fly us to Saipan with the rabbit -- about 1/2 flight from Guam. We decided to take it, despite the fact that the lady at the ticket counter emphatically told us we would never get the rabbit from Saipan to Guam. We told her that was our problem.
When we got to Saipan and asked for two tickets for us and one for the rabbit they weren't even excited. Yes, of course the rabbit could go, just take him down to cargo. So 10 minutes and $30 later Benny was tagged and ticketed for Guam, and narrowly avoided being left behind in the Narita airport.