By Deborah Goldstein
Anyone with a pet would agree that it's a beloved member of the family. In fact, it's been reported that animal-loving Americans spend $41 billion per year on their pets (Hermés dog collar, anyone?). Despite this, heartbreakingly, many pet shelters are currently overflowing with animals surrendered by owners who can't afford them in this economy.
Why not spread some holiday cheer by helping out a pet charity? If you're strapped for cash, you could walk dogs at a local shelter or assist at a fundraising or adoption event. Or, watch for pet food coupons, then stock up and deliver them to a shelter. If you can afford it, write a check-your donation also serves as a tax write-off. Now is also a great time to adopt.
These organizations are worth considering:
Petfinder.com: An online adoption center for 15 years, you can narrow down their 350,000+ animals by zip code, animal (from dogs and cats to horses and pigs) and breed.
Joplin Humane Society Animal Adoption & Resource Center: This non-profit based in Missouri has worked to help animals affected by last spring's disastrous tornado. Donate to them, or volunteer at your local Humane Society.
North Shore Animal League: The world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption center, in the year after Hurricane Katrina, they made 36 road trips from New York to New Orleans, rescuing 1,327 dogs and cats.
ASPCA: The first U.S. humane organization launched in 1866 continues to fight for the prevention of cruelty to animals, with local branches nationwide.
Urgent Part 2: This all-volunteer organization works tirelessly to save animals set to be euthanized every morning by the New York City Animal Care and Control Center.
Pets on Death Row: Similar to Urgent Part 2, this all-volunteer organization rescues cats due to be euthanized in New York City.
All Sentient Beings: This rescue center removes seriously ill cats and kittens out of overcrowded shelters to give them the attention they need-often to great cost-so donations are always welcome.
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