Volunteering to walk shelter dogs
I began walking dogs last fall at the Natural Pet Center in Fargo, which also keeps dogs from 4 Luv of Dog Rescue. The sad thing is, although I haven't been there since Thanksgiving, some of the same dogs still sit there, waiting to be walked every day. These dogs waited in their kennels all winter, getting out for a few short walks here and there.
Take Georgia, for example. She is a pitbull mix who was saved from being euthanized during her last hours at a pound in the state she was named after. But now Georgia has been living in Fargo, waiting for a home since May 2007 (1/26/11 edit: Georgia has been adopted).
There is something rewarding about any kind of volunteer work. I wish I volunteered more often. It is always a goal to mine, but seems to remain a goal. Even walking one dog a week for a half-hour makes a difference for that dog on that day. Every time I am at the pet center, the dog I choose to walk bursts out of his kennel and pulls and pulls during the entire walk, so the walk isn't even pleasant. But I know it's just because of the energy and frustration the dog has built up over the weeks and months. I should take a shelter dog for a run once a week. It would do us both good.
If you can spare some time or money, I recommend volunteering or donating to an animal shelter in your area. Walking shelter dogs is very rewarding. If you are like me and unable to foster a pet, donating is a good way to go. It will make a difference in at least one dog's life.