The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 3, 2014

Ryan Richardson: Annual address leads to animal-related action

JOPLIN, Mo. — I am guilty of micromanaging things in my life on so many levels. I worry, I evaluate, I worry some more and then I overanalyze things before taking action. It really is the worst kind of trait to have when you don't apply it to all parts of your life.

My dog receives the brunt of this worrying. As a single guy, Cami is the only thing I have living in my house. So if I mess something up -- which I'm bound to do -- then it is going to eat me up because I worry about what I should have done differently.

I'm trying my hardest to let her be just a dog. I'm trying to let my streak of responsibility relax to a point with her that I do not constantly have to adjust my life around her and hers around me. I know if she approaches some semblance of a regular schedule, the less high-strung she is apt to be and the more relaxed I will be.

So this week, I had a miniature State of the Puppy-Union address with myself where I outlined what I had accomplished in the past year, what I want to get done in the next 12 months and what major milestones need to be taken care of between now and the end of my term at this apartment.

I thought about raising the minimum treat allowance. I thought about subsidizing her a new pet bed for her kennel. Maybe I would get her one of the dog DNA tests to see if she really is a natural citizen.

I looked into finding a proper immigration form so that she can be an official resident of Joplin and then we can use the dog park together. Though it may take take both houses of Congress coming together, I have even thought about adopting another dog.

I am mostly joking about these things. Mostly.

Like I said, I overthink things way beyond what a normal person does. It is tiring being the Commander-in-Chief of the paw forces of northern Joplin. My sovereignty runs through the 900-square-feet of my apartment that isn't jointly occupied by my pet. While it is an expansive territory, I like to think I am doing a good job.

In all seriousness, I took the time to review the things that are coming up for us. I pulled up my calendar app, and I marked down the due dates for this year's vaccines. I also noted that two-week period that I will be on the road in June so that I can find a place for her to stay during that time.

I also cleaned up a lot of things that had gathered too much hair. Her kennel blanket got a deep cleaning along with my comforter and afghan. The amount of dog hair I pulled from my dryer's lint trap was way too much.

When you have a pet, you have to be on top of things. I do not suggest going to the lengths of worrying that I do, but you have to organize your pet care before you fall behind.

You are responsible for a living being. Keep on top of things, and you will likely have a pet approval rating that will guarantee your election for another term.

Contact Ryan Richardson about this column or other topic suggestions at or 417-627-7363.

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