You know what's way better than knowing someone with a small child you can play with for a little while and then send home? Having next door neighbors with a puppy, specifically the cute mini Australian Shepherd shown here.
Cooper came over to our yard today and spent about an hour trying to annoy Ginger into playing with him while I raked leaves out front. I finally decided to take pity on Ginger and go back to play with them both. It was completely selfless, I assure you.
First Cooper and I played fetch with an apple (because I have no dog toys because none of my dogs have ever played with toys). Then Cooper and Ginger chased each other around for a while because Ginger actually will play as long as I'm there watching. Then Cooper found out how much fun it was to leap around in the ivy. And then I put a leash on the puppy and we went inside just to check out how it would be if he ever needed to spend time with us.
Cooper thought the house was great, mostly because of all the cat toys that are strewn around the place. He had something in his mouth (a ball with a rattle, a little donkey, and a pink elephant) the entire tour. The cats were a little bent out of shape, but mostly they just sat on the counter and looked at him. Crow hissed and Cooper backed up a few feet and looked away, so I'm pretty sure he's had dealings with cats out at the barn. Ginger didn't really care about having another dog in the house because she just wanted her dinner, dammit.
And then I took the tired, muddy puppy next door and gave him back.
It's the perfect system.