(re: Boat picture (what kind of dog do you have?)) Hamsters rock. Mine are dwarf hamsters. They only live 1-2 years but they are good little pets and have tons of personality. This is my second pair – both from my first pair died young (6 months of diabetes, and 11 months of an unknown health problem, probably congenital). The second pair is about 7 months old now. They’re named Thing 1 and Thing 2 because initially I couldn’t tell them apart. (Now I can because Thing 1 is significantly fatter!)
It’s true that puppies (any dog, really) takes planning and patience. I fostered a rescue dog a few years ago. I was living in a studio apartment and since I worked all day I couldn’t give him the attention he needed, but I kept him until I could find a really good home for him. Now I have the space and live with my boyfriend who is home during the day 3-4 days a week, we have a whole house and a big yard – the problem is my boyfriend! I think we’ll get there eventually though, and we will probably go to the pound and pick out an older dog that we both like. Training a puppy would be too much for his first dog experience, IMO.