It’s a dog’s life

I have always struggled with indecision. It’s not that I don’t know what interests me; It’s that I am interested in too many things.

When we were first asked to think of six possible project topics, I was discouraged by the prospect of doing so. And now that I have successfully imagined six possible topics, I am discouraged once again; I cannot for the life of me decide which to choose. Some topics interest me more than others, but those are also the topics for which it is hard to develop a concrete vision of what I would like to do. So, while I internally wrangle with which idea will dominate the next four months of my life, I discuss here just one.

My family dog passed away this summer and the devastation it caused reverberated for months. It is incredible the impact a dog can have on a human. Then again, it is incredible the impact a human can have on a dog. My family has always rescued dogs – from shelters, foster homes, humane societies. We all know that it can be a total shot in the dark; you never really know what you’re getting with a rescue. What has happened to them in the past? What kind of scars did those events leave? How will the the animal react to new situations? There are so many unknowns – so much risk. But every time I watched Max roll around in the grass or bury, dig up and re-bury his bone in the dirt, hike in the woods or whimper when I came home from school, I thought about how happy he was and how we had changed his life. He had lived with a terrible family in North Carolina probably thinking there was no way out; that would be his life forever. He even ran away at which point he was hit by a car and, sadly, returned to them. But there was a way out. We were his way out.

In light of my dog Max’s life and death, I want to create a project about rescue dogs. I am still very vague on the form my project will take and do not have the exact content pinned down. But here is what I do know:

  1. Disciplines included: psychology, animal science, ethics
  2. Focal object/subject: dog (Max?), training
  3. Confounding variable: In our class discussion, a friend of mine suggested that I write from the dog’s perspective. I am now considering writing from the perspective of my dog in particular. I know some of the things that happened to Max before we adopted him and just about everything that happened to him after. I have a connection to Max that I think would help facilitate a really interesting piece.

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