Up to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters each year. But bringing one home isn't the only way to make a major impact on a needy animal's life.
Who could resist these faces? Even if you only have a minute, you can still lend a hand.
It's a fact: Shelter pets are more likely to be adopted if their online profile includes a photo. Since organizations don't always have time to photograph every animal that's up for adoption, volunteer to take a few shots.
Shelters and rescue groups don't always have enough space or resources to house every animal that comes to them, which means they have to turn some away. Help out by fostering a dog or cat until it finds a permanent home. And it doesn't have to be a major commitment: Some organizations will let you foster a pet for just a weekend.
Help put an end to inhumane puppy and kitten mills by writing to your member of congress. Ask him or her to support bills that would enforce stricter standards for commercial breeding. You can also petition your local pet store to support pet adoptions instead of selling puppies from mills.
Order a sweet treat for yourself from Baking for Good and choose to send 15 percent of the proceeds to animal charities.
Fetch Eyewear (super-chic specs!) donates 100 percent of profits to animal-rescue initiatives.
Also, for each marketing survey you take at the SurveyMonkey Contribute website, you can send 50 cents to one of its animal-charity partners.
Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet make it easy to share online rescue pet listings on your Facebook page and Twitter feed (we post twice a week on our Facebook page!). It might be love at first post for someone in your network!