By Velia Tarnoff Special to Published Jul 18, 2007 at 9:54 AM

Live in a condo and can’t have dogs -- or even cats?  Or do you have to pop a few allergy pills on the way to your friend’s house because Mr. Whiskers climbs all over you?

Lots of animal-loving people can’t have traditional animals because of allergies, landlord restrictions or hectic lifestyles.  Here’s a great alternative: a bird!  More specifically, a dove like Angel, pictured above.  Doves make great companions, plus they’re pretty quiet and low maintenance.  Yes, they do require daily interaction and a little TLC, but they don’t need to be walked, and they won’t sit on your head in the morning (yes, I’m talking about you, Mr. Whiskers).  Doves live at least seven to 10 years and have been known to reach 25.

Most people don’t know that doves are extremely tame, and Ringneck doves, like Angel, don’t bite either. They are the most docile of all domestic birds and even a total stranger can reach into a cage and pick up a dove without creating panic or screeching.  They’re excellent for gentle children and surprisingly social.  Get two and watch them mimic each other and coo back and forth. 

The Wisconsin Humane Society has many other petite pals to visit.  Rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, domestic mice, hamsters and even cockatiels. They’re all in need of loving homes, so take a look at

Velia Tarnoff Special to

Velia Tarnoff counts among the loves of her life her daughter, her husband, her friends, writing, developing theories, dancing, live music, Southern California, black coffee and red wine. She's happiest when she can put as many of those together as possible. WWith more than 20 years of experience as a radio reporter and public relations professional, Velia is a natural communicator who loves to hear stories, to share stories and to tell it like it is.

Velia earned her B.A. from the UW School of Journalism and is thankful for every moment she spent on that wonderfully wacky campus.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, Velia is the wife of Publisher Andy Tarnoff.