Thanks to the endless work of prolific modders, is there anything you can't do in Skyrim? Not anymore, no. You can have Half-Life's gravity gloves. You can create new voice lines. Now, at last, you can also pet the dog. Even the Dragonborn's best friend deserves a few good pats on the head between biting skeevers and fighting vampires.
This dog petting downtime activity is the work of modder JaySerpa. Approaching a friendly dog and interacting with it while unarmed will result in some pets dependant on whether the pup in question is sitting, standing, or lounging about. Here, look. It's exactly what it says on the tin. The Dragonborn pets dogs now—simple and perfect.
"I'm not an animator, these animations are not perfect," says JaySerpa. "You must be facing the dog straight forward for them to make sense most of the time, but hey, it's what we have and I'll gladly take it so I can pet my boy Meeko!" Same, honestly. Perfect or not, these dog petting animations light up my little brain wires, internally screaming out "who's a good dog? yes, you are!"
I know that petting the dog is a whole meme and half now but here's the thing: I've probably never played and never will play most of the games with dog petting in 'em. However, I'm only ever about six months away from bolting a bunch of new mods to Skyrim and setting off on a new adventure, so I feel pretty confident I'll actually end up petting these dogs at some point.
JaySerpa is also apparently working on a larger mod that will let you pet more animals and have other interactions with objects and NPCs. For now though, the important bit deserved a standalone.