Kathy G has a post up in praise of pound pups, and she's got a point. The downside of going to the pound, though, is all of the dogs you know you can't save, which may be why my parents didn't take me with them when they picked out the dog we had throughout my childhood. I've heard many reports of heartbreak and crying.
I was actually in college the first time I went to the pound, and I actually found it to be a profound lesson the limits of human goodness. I wanted to save every animal in there, but it simply wasn't possible.