Is anything original?
“Has it been done before?”
This is what Steve and I asked each other before we started writing my memoir, “Two Poofs and a Poodle.” To answer this question we needed to do research. We viewed videos together and Steve searched out books.
We watched, ‘Must Love Dogs’, ‘Beverly Hills Chihauhua’, ‘Marley and Me’, ‘Best in Show’, ‘Snow Dogs’ and ‘Hachi’. Actually, I slept through most of them. Films are like a sleeping pill to me. Anyway, Steve said that none of them had a similar story to mine, so there was hope for my book.
Steve also went searching for dog books. He found many written by owners and authors detailing the lives, adventures and loyalty of dogs, both real and imagined. Some of these books are: Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck, Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen, The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, What the Dog Did: Tales from a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner by Emily Yoffe, The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, Dog Years by Mark Doty, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, Through Gilly’s Eyes: Memoirs of a Guide Dog by Matthew VanFossan, Buckley’s Story by Ingrid King, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie by Dean Koontz, Secrets of a Working Dog by Bella the Boxer, Amazing Gracie: A Dog’s Tale by Dan Dye, Maggie’s Book of Wisdom by Leland Dirks, and Finally Home-Lessons on Life from a Free-Spirited Dog by Elizabeth Parker.
All of these books were written by the owner or author, but not the dog. The dog’s usually the hero, but they don’t own the story. My book’s different. It’s my story, told through my eyes, but scribed by Steve.
Next Steve researched memoirs written from the perspective of the dog. He came up with a very short list.
Flush by Virginia Woolf
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
These are the style of book I’m writing. Each dog recounts their life and that of their owners. Woolf, Auster, Stein and Cameron are listed as the authors of these books, but really the dogs tell the stories. It seems odd that their names aren’t on the cover. I hope my book will have my name on the cover. I don’t mind if Steve’s name is there too, but I think mine should come first.
Flush was Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel and in the book, Flush, he recounts his life and that of his famous owner.
In Timbuktu, Mr. Bones, the dog, tells his story of living with a dying homeless man.
Enzo, the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain, recounts the ups and downs of family life and his role in it.
A Dog’s Purpose tells the story of human relations as observed by the dog in this story.
By the time Steve and I had finished our research we were back to our original question, “Has it been done before?” The answer is both yes and no.
Yes, there are a few books out there, told from the dog’s perspective.
No, there aren’t books exploring the themes recurring in our life. My owners are gay, the three of us are adopted, we’re all scared of long term relationships, we live in Bali, we love holidays and two of us are aging rapidly.
My story has not been told before, so that’s why I am writing, Two Poofs and a Poodle. I’m about half way there and Steve tells me that I’ll be finished by the end of October. I hope he means 2015.