It was started by a doggy day care.

A doggy day care chain in New York has created a service for dog lovers who aren't in a position to own a dog, The New York Times reports.

Biscuits & Bath, with 13 Manhattan locations, operates a "Buddy" program that allows volunteers to come play with its canine guests. To qualify as a buddy, you have to provide references and submit to an interview; you also must pay $25.

Approximately 500 people are participating in the program so far.

One Buddy, Steven Doppelt, told the newspaper that the program has been a way for him to feel better after the death of his basset hound. He wants to be around dogs, but he's not ready to own another one just yet. 

“I get to be the fun uncle,” he said.

Read more at The New York Times