Apartment's too small? Boyfriend's allergic? Perhaps just not down with de-pooping the backyard? Whatever the reason, if you or someone you know is simply not ready to become a full-time dog parent, peruse the following list of alternatives for people looking to cram some dog-time into an otherwise (sniff) dogless existence.
1. Dog-sit. Got a friend-with-dog? Make his/her day with a homemade coupon book that offers ten free dog-sits. Later, if you wish to expand your client roster and turn this into a paying gig, consider registering with Pet Sitters International, a great resource for would-be petsitters and those seeking sitting alike. petsit.com
2. Get a gard(en) dog. Perfect for green thumbs, grandparents, and backyard and/or Chia Pet enthusiasts, Green Piece Wire Art makes life-sized, moss-filled wire frames in the shape of your favourite dog breed, from Corgis to Collies. greenpiecewireart.com
3. Volunteer at your local shelter.
4. Pick up a cuddle buddy from Perfect Petzzz. In lieu of the real thing, Perfect Petzzz will send you a soft, sleeping, plush pup that "breathes" like a real dog and comes equipped with a bed, brush, carrier, tag, and adoption certificate. Basically a four-legged Cabbage Patch Doll, come to think of it. perfectpetzzz.com
5. Become a foster parent. There are countless dogs out there looking for a warm place to temporarily call home. fosterdogs.com
6. Get woken up by slobbery kisses every time you fall asleep on your keyboard with the help of My Monitor Pets' "licking" screen savers. For as little as $4.99, you can choose from Cooper, Punky, or Dudley, amongst other kissing canines. You can even order them up as animated screensavers for your cell. mymonitorpets.com
7. Buy a Nintendog. From the genius crew who brought you Mario and Luigi, comes the ultimate real-pet substitute: a digital dog that you can teach tricks, feed, bathe, neglect (if you're not careful), socialize, and LOVE. Great for parents looking to give their kids a petcare preview. nintendogs.com
8. Start asking random strangers if they'd like a belly scratch and watch your popularity skyrocket. Or not.