10 Ways to Exact Revenge While Helping Pets This Valentine’s Day · The Wildest

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A Shelter Will “Neuter Your Ex” For You—Plus, 10 More Pet-Friendly Ways to Exact Revenge

Like this New Jersey shelter, you can add a purpose to your payback this Valentine’s Day.

by Hilary Weaver
January 30, 2024
Person holding cute black cat.
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If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a similar fashion to a drunk, love-scorned Jennifer Garner in 2010’s Valentine’s Day (but maybe less baseball bat action), the Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center in Blackwood, New Jersey, has your back. The shelter is offering to “neuter your ex.” OK, wow, this isn’t a Quentin Tarantino movie (we’re thinking B-grade rom-com vibes here, not deranged-nightmare movie) — they’re not going to literally neuter your ex, you weirdo. 

But, for $50, they will name a feral cat the same name as your ex and then spay or neuter that cat in your former flame’s honor. Pros: It’s completely harmless to your actual human ex (who remains anonymous in this process), you help a cat receive an important procedure, donations go to the shelter’s spay/neuter program, and it allows you to release some pent-up feelings. Cons: absolutely none.

Remember, trap, neuter, release (TNR) is one of the best things you can do to keep stray cat populations under control, especially when cats can have up to 12 kittens in a litter.

“It’s absolutely taken off,” Eric Schwartz, director of development for Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center, told CBS of the shelter’s initiative. “A group of us were in a meeting talking about some fun ways to raise money over Valentine’s Day. We were discussing a petagram. A board member mentioned that an idea had come through a volunteer about ‘neuter your ex.’” 

The tagline is — wait for it — “Some things shouldn’t breed.” Iconic. 

How you can help with this brilliant fundraiser

As of today, CBS reported that Homeward Bound had received 40 to 50 names (they only accept first names and nicknames), so if you want to throw the name of a dirty, rotten ex (or a friend’s dirty, rotten ex) onto the literal chopping block, there’s still time. Go to any of the shelter’s payment platforms (Venmo @hbpac, Cashapp $hbpac, PayPal @hbnj). Then, enter your ex’s name into the comments. Or, you can go to the link here to enter your info. If you pay through social media, you can upload a screenshot of your donation to outreach@homewardboundnj.org.

This isn’t the first time a shelter has used Valentine’s Day for a little philanthropic revenge. Last year, in exchange for a $5 donation, Animal Friends Humane Society in Butler County, Ohio, wrote the names of people’s former beaus at the bottom of a litterbox for rescue kittens to literally sh*t on. This year, the  Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is doing something similar with a “Love Stinks” campaign (they’ll bury your ex’s name deep in the kitty litter).

In the spirit of those brilliant fundraisers and the “neuter your ex” campaign, here are some more suggestions for ways you can help shelter pets and stick it to your ex. You’ve got 15 days—that’s plenty of time to do them all. 

Valentine’s payback: help a pet, be rude to your ex

1. Sell their stuff and donate it to a shelter or rescue.

So, your ex talked nonstop for weeks about that designer sweatshirt. They would never let you wear it, complained when your cat got their fur all over it, and generally loved it more than you. And guess what? They left it in your closet after the  breakup. Oh, no. Time to list that baby on a re-sell site and pay it forward to your favorite rescue.

2. Take money from your joint account and donate it to a shelter or rescue.

Take a page from Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama playbook and drain that joint checking account. Where did our money go? Oh, just to the sweet pets at the shelter in need and not to you. (This is a great idea in theory, but obviously stuff with money gets tricky, so please take this as what it is: a suggestion from a writer who often conflates life with early aughts classics.)

3. Start a TNR organization with some of the money you would have spent on your ex’s birthday gift this year.

Kick off your GoFundMe for your new org with the dollar bills you set aside to take them on a surprise getaway and encourage everyone in your community to match your donation. Oh, Paul wanted to go to Mexico for his 30th? Too bad. You’re getting some stray cats neutered instead. 

4. Adopt a cat or dog and name them after your ex’s rival sports team.

Nothing enrages a diehard fan more than having the people they once loved and cared for suddenly root for the other team.

5. Adopt a cat or dog and name them after all the things your ex said bothered them about you.

Did your ex ever tell you they hated your movie taste? Reclaim it! Name your new pet after your favorite movie (Shrek is a dope name, and your ex has horrible taste ). Or maybe they were annoyed that you were always hanging out with your best friend and not them. What better time to pay tribute to the real pal in your life by naming your brand-new kitten for them? Melissa is a much prettier name than Scott, tbh.

6. Foster or adopt a pet, and publicly post on social media that “you’ve never had a greater love.” Or change your dating-app profile pic to one with them to show you’ve really moved on.

Use this opportunity to take some romantic photos with your brand-new paramour (cuddling, making kissy faces at them) and really drive home to your ex that you have all the love you need now.

7. Volunteer at a shelter on Valentine’s Day and post about how your outing with cuddly creatures is the best date you’ve ever had — bar none.

Same vibe as the above.

8. Volunteer at a shelter and name all the new cats and dogs after your pet peeves about your ex, just so you can list them one more time. Get it? Pet peeves?

The great thing about volunteering at a shelter is the creative names you can come up with (they’ll only entice potential adopters more!). Obviously, some things don’t work as names, but if your ex, for example, left piles of dirty clothes all over the house, “Laundry” is a nice homage to that absolutely abhorrent behavior.

9. Get your current or new cat or dog a voo-doo doll toy, name it your ex’s name, and watch them destroy it.

They actually make these

10. Foster or adopt a dog or cat and turn your ex’s old space in your home into a tricked-out, luxe lounge room for your new soulmate.

Get that designer-approved cat tree or that human dog bed so you and your pup can spoon every night. Your ex deserves nothing. Your pet deserves it all. 

Please note that these suggestions were written by a happily married but petty lesbian who last had a fresh ex seven years ago. It just feels good to flex that retribution muscle again.

If any of these ideas seem a little, erm, off-center, know that I am just living vicariously through you and wants two things for you: 1. To feel better. 2. For you to adopt or foster a pet or help a shelter in need this Valentine’s Day season. Seriously, shelters are as overcrowded as the list of people you’ve swiped left on this week alone. It’s hard out there. Pets are better. 

Hilary Weaver

Hilary Weaver is the senior editor at The Wildest. She has previously been an editor at The Spruce Pets, ELLE, and The Cut. She was a staff writer at Vanity Fair from 2016 to 2019, and her work has been featured in Esquire, Refinery 29, BuzzFeed, Parade, and more. She lives with her herding pups, Georgie and Charlie.

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