I would personally prefer a dog, but I suppose it really depends on your lifestyle. If you can't be home for a good chunk of the day, go with a bird or a cat because, as I'm sure you know, dogs require a lot more personal attention. Personally, cats freak me out. They're so sneaky and some experts have said that if cats were big enough and believed they could, they would eat their humans. I enjoy playing with my friends' cats, but would never want one of my own. Birds are very loud. A friend of mine has a bird, and she is constantly chirping and squawking really loudly for attention, even when my friend has her out of her cage and is letting her fly around the house. I personally wouldn't want to deal with that. Dogs can be trained not to bark, but I'm not sure if birds can be trained to be quieter. I guess it really comes down to your personal lifestyle and financial situation. Bird vets will likely be more expensive than dog/cat vets since they're probably considered "exotic" pets. My rabbits have to go to a special rabbit vet, and they ain't cheap.