My dog was kept company by Rocki, a robot friend for pets.
Returning to work doesn't mean you can't spend time with your pet. Rocki is a smartphone-controlled robot that lets you communicate with your pets from anywhere there's an internet connection. Connect to Rocki via the iOS or Android app, then start chasing after your pet, tease it with a laser pointer, and reward it with yummy snacks.
I was interested to see how my 5-year-old pug/Boston terrier mix, Luna, would react to Rocki. Luna was initially hesitant and nervous when Rocki moved, but as she found it contained treats, she got infatuated and would not let it out of her sight.
Controlling Rocki on a 5G network when away from home is a breeze. When I was in the same room with the device, I saw the same latency between the commands and movement. On a slower network, however, the latency was so high that it was practically unplayable. If 5G isn't yet available in your area, you might want to hold off on purchasing anything like Rocki.
On standby, Rocki's battery can last several days, allowing you to connect and play whenever the mood strikes. If your pet, like Luna, is continually scratching and barking at it, you might not be able to leave it out all of the time. When I get home, I have to put Rocki away and sneak it out of Luna's sight when I want to use it. This is a pleasant surprise for Luna, but it severely limits Rocki's utility.
While Luna appears to like Rocki, it may not be suitable for all dog owners. Sending treats out one at a time if you have more than one dog may cause a conflict. Rocki may also be seen as another indicator that their humans are leaving by dogs who panic when their owners leave the house.
Rocki is designed to be liked by both cats and dogs, but cat owners are more likely to utilize it. Luna was initially intrigued by the laser pointer, but I took it away because she chews on it and I was afraid it would inadvertently blind her. This leaves me with a $250 treat dispenser that travels around, and I have a feeling Luna isn't so much playing with it as she is following it around seeking rewards.