In order to actually purchase items from the hippie dog who doesn’t believe in currency, you’ll need a different currency (because of course). That’s MEOW coupons. You obtain these primarily from performing what amount to “daily quests,” or Initiatives, from your Town Card menu. You’ll have several up at a time, some due by the end of the day and some that will last for several days. Each award a few coupons.
These initiatives can be as simple as putting a piece of furniture in your room, or as involved as traveling to the island and participating in a tour. They encourage you to play regularly by rewarding things you’d be doing anyway, or nudging you to participate in activities you might otherwise forego. And since you don’t really miss out on anything by not doing them, there’s no weird added pressure from these Initiatives. That’s important in such a relaxing game.
I love checking out my daily initiatives and reaping the rewards from the MEOW machine every day. Sometimes I complete these without even realizing it!