I come to BlogHer '07 for technical information, and I end up with a great parenting tip from Laura, a pet insurance actuarial, blogger, mom to two, and great conversationalist.
If your child wants a dog, BEGS for a dog, and you don't want to shoulder the entire responsibility for a pet, test the child's promises to "take care of the dog." Make an agreement. If your child will wake at a specified earlier time and then "walk" the imaginary dog (10 to 20 minutes) every day for 21 days that you will then begin seriously considering getting a pet. I'd make it a month of walking because that's how long it takes to establish a habit.
Most parents see the brilliance in this approach immediately, so I won't elaborate. If, on the off-chance, your child makes it 30 days then you can see their level of dedication is atypical.
Of course, if you do get a dog you will most likely be its primary caretaker, but this lays the groundwork for the child to take on age-appropriate responsibilities for the dog as soon as it enters the house.
Laura suggests caring for the dog water as a great early task for kids. That would entail daily water changes, monitoring of the water level, and a weekly bowl cleaning. Isn't she clever?
Back to the BlogHers.
If you need amusement, may I recommend lolcats? Or a lolcats generator?