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Talk to the Dogs--Creating Community From the Ground Up

If you could ask city dogs what it's like to live in the concrete jungle, what would they say? Inspired by the diversity of people and dogs in my Brooklyn park, I began asking strangers to adopt their dog's perspective and tell me about their lives.

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Written by DeletedUser

The video here is part of a project I started back in NYC called Doggycorps.

Since beginning the interviews, I've stopped being amazed at how quickly and easily complete strangers will open up when asked about their pet. One moment, you're introducing yourself in the middle of a noisy dog park, the next you're holding back tears as a blind man describes what it's like to be the guide dog for a man who lost his vision in 9/11...He's in the middle of his story, I'm holding a microphone that he cannot see, and gently reminding him to use the first person--not the third--until something switches and we're both lost in a whole new world.

Just like that, the streets, sounds and smells around you change texture. You start to see the environment for what it is and appreciate the connections between man and dog, and two new friends.

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Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Inspiration!

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DeletedUser

So great! I'd love to see people building off of this and doing interviews in their own neighborhoods!

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Photo of Fernanda Lefevre

Simple and brilliant! Like all good ideas!

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DeletedUser

Thanks Fernanda! Please feel free to add your own interviews!

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Hi Jenine,
Nice communicating with you. I´m a newbie here, so I´m still learning how to participate. What kind of interviews would be useful to the project?

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Photo of Arjan Tupan

Hi Fernanda, as a little side-note: it seems you are doing great for a newbie :). If you have any questions, feel free to check out the special section for new users on the USers Forum: http://bit.ly/NmFnGX

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DeletedUser

Agreed, great new newbie! No pressure to record anything new, Fernanda. But if you're out and about with recording equipment (like your phone!), I'd personally be interested to hear about your city through any special people/dogs you come across. http://soundcloud.com/ is a great, free platform for sharing audio and interviews.

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This is such a great project. As a dog owner, I might be slightly biased, but using people and their pets to connect is a great idea. I've lived in several places and countries now, and what is always the case (in Amsterdam, Paris, and Riga at least), is that it is super easy to connect with people when I'm walking my dog. Especially, of course, with other dog owners. There's this immediate bond. And using the dogs as 'first person' is also a great (and maybe obvious) idea. Almost always I know the names and ages of others dogs long before I know anything about their owners, even if we meet daily.
Oh, and you have a new fan of the doggycorps project.

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DeletedUser

Biased? No way!! :) Thanks Arjan--I'm totally right there with you. I've long wanted to take the project outside of the US and explore countries with different relationships with dogs. I would LOVE to hear any stories--or interviews--you may be inspired to do out walking!

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Oh, that is so great. I'm not very good at interviews, but I'll see what I can come up with. There won't be these cool animations like you have, though.

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DeletedUser

I like how you found a touchpoint for creativity through asking people to speak about their dogs' perspectives. People feel deeply for their dogs and I believe emotional attachments like that bring out the good stuff.

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DeletedUser

Thanks Lindsey! Right there with you on the emotional side of things--it's always neat when we can connect with new people on that level.