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Helping Nobody's Pets

I've spent a lot of time in the Third World and it never ceases to wrench my heart when I see the street dogs and cats loping, limping and lying around in various states of neglect and poor health. It's not surprising: This is an understandable byproduct of economies that leave many humans living on the outer margins.

But still, I'd like to do something for all the animals for whom every day is scrap to survive. So I was intrigued to see this blog post by Nola Lee Kelsey on how people can volunteer during travel to help animals. This isn't the same as taking a full-on volunteer trip, for example, signing up to build houses for two weeks. Kelsey's post is about how any of us can drop into animal shelters around the world and help out - for a few hours, a day, whatever we choose to spare.

Tasks run the gamut of what you'd do with pets at home - cleaning, walking, bathing, feeding and plain old hanging out (that whole man's-best-friend theme) - and also could include work around the shelters or helping spread the word about spay-and-neuter programs. Kelsey's post has details on opportunities in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. For pet owners, this could be a nice antidote to that pang we feel leaving our buddies behind when we travel.

What do you think should - or could - be done to help improve animal welfare around the world? What have you seen in other countries that gave you hope - or caused despair? Please share!

If you're seeking volunteer opportunities closer to home, check out Create The Good.

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