I'm just a suggie Noob (hoping to get a couple in a few months time and finding out all I can), but I think your post's brilliant. I think it's really important to give people all the 'cons' of pet ownership. The 'pros' tend to jump out at people, especially with small adorbale things like suggies.
We had all kinds of everything in our house when I was growing up but my Mum had a really strict policy about getting a new pet. We had to research all about the animal; what it eats, when it sleeps, how much care it requires (including playing, cleaning etc), toileting arrangements, if our vet would treat it, what it's set up and ongoing costs were. If we could answer her questions about it, and tell her how caring for it would fit into our schedule she would consider discussing it with us (and this was when we had to go to a library to research, the internet was not as developed as it is now). She wouldn't even entertain a discussion until we knew all we could about something. I think more parents should teach this to children (I don't know anyone else who's parents did this even my Dad thought she was being a kill joy). A lot of people treat animals like toys or applicances that are there for their convenience.
I had a chinchilla as a teenager (which was quite exotic back then) and when I went to Uni I decided to get him a friend (as I had to commute and wouldn't be home as much). I encountered a breeder who told me not to bother with the introduction process usually recommended, and to just 'chuck her in with him'. My Dad took the attitude that this man must know better than me because he was a breeder! I told him to take a hike and instead opted for a lovely little rescue chinchilla who's owner had supposedly been allergic and she'd been handed into a local pet supply shop. She was sold to me as a beige chin, but when I got her home and saw her in a cage beside my boy's I realised that she had only her inner downy coat, not her lovely thick hair, she had no claws or whiskers, her tail was wiry and her ears were dry and scaly looking. I rushed her up to the vet who advised that she had skurvy. This was easly treatable with good diet and vitamin suppliments, and some oil on her tail and ears (daily- if anyone has ever tried to apply anything to a chin you'll appreciate that this ate into my day a lot). I spoke to the petshop again who (when pressed) admitted that the previous owner had fed her guinea pig food and kept her in a hutch. He'd become frustrated whith her escapes. Her fur grew back (and she was a grey) and so did her whiskers but it really annoys me when people buy something because it's cute on the assumption that 'it's a bit like a hamster'.
Sorry for the rant... This is a raw nerve (don't get me started on inexperienced vets!).
Thanks again for the great post. Any more info you have that might 'put me off', or that I can at least warn my unsuspecting husband about before we get suggies would be most welcome.