Hi Citrus... dependant on how long you're gone during the day, you can use an x-pen, if you're not comfortable using a crate. She looks like a small dog (?) These pens are what we use at shows and in grooming shops. They are very sturdy panels, 6 of them to start (can order more) It is a 4ftx 6ft pen, portable so you can put it away when you get home, large enough for her to walk around in, and have her bed or crate fit in. Dogs don't generally "play" when left unattended, some instead develope bad habits when alone in the house, (chewing) or in the yard, (digging, barking, fence running). When not doing this, their natural instinct is to sleep. They are an animal that prefers to be in a "den". When you have them sleep outdoors notice that they do not go to the center of the yard to sleep, they pefer to be up against the house, under the deck, a chair or in a dog house. This is why crates are a natural form of housing for them, verses being cruel. Often crates are overused though, so...since you live at home and it's your moms rules, an x pen is a nice compremise. Better than having her put outdoors for the winter, less expensive than a kennel. Also, if your crates small enough to put in pen, with a nice soft bed in it and the door taken off, you'll most likely find she starts going in it on her own to sleep while you're away. Can find pens on-line Pet Edge pet supplies. good luck!