Tomorrow, August 15th is recognized as a national awareness day for homeless animals. This is definitely a cause I care a lot about. While I know not everyone is a pet person or they don't have the time and money to adopt a new pet, there are things you can do:
--Spay or neuter any pet you have.
--Visit http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/ daily and click on the button to donate 0.6 bowls of food at no cost to you. You can also sign up for their daily reminders. (They don't spam) They also have a lot of great stuff in their store. The site also donates food for every purchase you make in their store. (I didn't have to spend much and donated about 150 bowls of food!)
--Visit http://www.freekibble.com/ and http://www.freekibblekat.com/ to answer a quick trivia question to donate kibble to dogs and cats in need. (They make the donation even if you get the question wrong.)
If you are considering getting a new pet, consider a shelter animal. It's difficult to describe, but it's like they know you rescued them. When we set Budaj's food dish down in front of him, he takes a look at his food and then looks up at us and is sure to give whoever's feeding him a kiss before he even takes a bite of food. It's one of the most adorable things I've ever seen.
As with any pet, whether they are from a breeder or a shelter, do your research on the breed traits and be sure you're getting a dog or cat that will be a good fit. When we got Budaj, we made sure to bring Gracie with us to be sure they would get along (since Gracie is such a sensitive soul). Because we knew about Huskies going in, that they do tend to be jumpers and diggers, it was no surprise to us when he started jumping our front gate (since replaced) and digging. Many people get a dog because s/he is cute, not realizing that some breeds like to howl and some are infamous chewers. When the dog acts out these behaviors, it then comes as a surprise and this is how many get turned back into shelters. This doesn't do anyone any good, including the animals. When you adopt an animal, it's a lifetime commitment. Even if they shred your couch.