Pet ownership is just like parenthood, right?

Thoughts on my niece, my dog and being ready for childrearing

By Daniel Callahan – SUN NEWSPAPERS

Dan Callahan I am sorry to tell you that my niece is far cuter than any child you may have in your life. Perhaps doubly so.

Yes, Ruby Sue, the most adorable procreation of my brother and sister-in-law pretty much tops the list of cute babies. She’s an infant with the most cherubic cheeks, the tastiest of li’l sausage fingers and when she spits up, it’s made of glitter and sunshine.

I can say with 100 percent honesty Ruby Sue has changed me and my life 100 times more than anyone else’s, her parents included.

She’s made me think having children might just be an all right idea.

For some time now, I’ve managed to keep having children at arm’s length. There’s just something about having someone that relies upon me — a person I consider notoriously unreliable and prone to fits of irresponsibility — for life that strikes me as being a terrible idea.

Mrs. C and I have had numerous conversations on the subject that typically end with, “Maybe one day,” which is comfortable. Since I’ve always thought I would make an awful father, much less father figure, it’s been just fine to push that all down the road a bit. I mean, who would put a child in my arms? I spent most of the morning with my shirt misbuttoned and an at-least-a-day-old cup of coffee on my desk.

I thought all this until last week.

Last week, I was woken up at 3 a.m. to the sounds of my dog in pain and my wife worrying.

Given my rudimentary veterinary knowledge (READ: None), I figured Huckleberry was hurting and needed help. The wife looked up the nearest emergency veterinary clinic, which was thankfully only a few miles away, and we brought him in.

It took a while to get him checked out. We carefully weighed the treatment options and decided upon a course of action. The veterinarian and the vet tech took great care of Huck and made sure we were comfortable with our decision as to how to proceed. After a morphine injection and a hearty vomit, it turned out Huck had swallowed a fairly large piece of a rawhide bone along with some, ahem, “treats” from the cats’ litter box, and all of it had been lodged in his esophagus, causing him pain. The vet gave us the all clear and thankfully we left.

As we were driving home with Huck in the backseat, peacefully enjoying his opiate daze, Mrs. C’s hand in mine, she, very casually said, “You’re a good dad.”

Hmm, maybe one day.