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.