Thank You, Osso, for such a sensible, well-thought-out approach. I really do NOT think everyone should have a dog or cat (or 3).
I'd say "You can volunteer at shelters," but y'know, I just can't do it, myself. So I can hardly recommend it.
I tried pretty hard, volunteering at our local Humane Society a month+ ago, and had nightmares about the dogs who had to have their legs amputated because of abuse and neglect.
Seeing their little waggy tails and happy faces, with a stitched-up thigh, hopping around with a missing leg all happy to see me... knowing how very unlikely it was they'd ever be adopted... Well, I couldn't bear it.
And yes, I'm a wimp.
Thus I adopt all I can, and try to promote shelter pets and, more important, spaying/neutering of pets, and call it done.