For my 20% project, I surveyed the people of Charleston about their dogs and the relationships between them and their pets. Having always had a dog growing up, I know the grand importance animals can play in people’s lives. My plan was to ask strangers a series of questions (like where they got their dog and how long they have had them, some activities they like to do together, any really good stories, and what impact the dog has had on the individual’s life, among others) and form a brief narrative, a pet narrative, including a photo of the two (or more), if they had one to share. And this is what I did. I decided to present this information in blog form, which can be viewed in the hyperlink above. With this project, I hope that other people will realize the significance of animals and what an important role they can play, from just being a friend to saving a life. There are so many incredible stories out there of people and their dogs, and I unearthed a few right here within our city. Go check them out!
This project would probably fall under the autobiographical genre of a memoir, as those depict a certain time span in a person’s life, in which they reflect on that time. As dogs live on average of 10-12 years, they have this many years to make an impact on a person or persons life(ves). I believe another genre has been created recently that is not in the Smith and Watson text, the pet narrative. This project and these narratives could fall under either category. . .Moving on to the toolkit. Three main tools are found within these narratives: embodiment, memory, and relationality. Question #3 in my project asks dog owners to describe some things the two like to do together. Many people said “walk, run, cuddle,” etc. and these are perfect examples of people being aware of their bodies, what they are doing, and that they do them frequently with their dog. Memory is an obvious tool, found especially in questions #2, #4, #5, and #6. All the stories and events that people tell about their dogs are (in this case) more-than-likely memories, from the past. They had to be conjured up with the help of my questioning. Last but not least, relationality is an important tool because Smith and Watson describe this category in the book as being the influence of an “other.” They name this other a person of some sort, but a dog definitely holds the importance of being called an other. Smith and Watson also mention under this category how much the autobiographer has invested in this other and how, in turn, it has affected them. People invest tons into their dogs (money, time, energy, years of their lives, etc) and in turn reap the benefits of being influenced by these furry creatures in return.