Instead of presenting a new (concise) focus statement, I thought it might be best (selfishly, for my own writing/research purposes) to instead present a new, expanded version of my research paper’s argument in order to receive some much-needed feedback:
Although scholars, journalists, and other interested parties continue to study dogs in World War I, it has been to a limited, superficial, and at times simplistic extent. Often aimed at a more popular audience, most studies of dogs simply herald their achievements without much analysis of their actual contributions. This is not to suggest that these sources do not provide useful, factual information. Rather, this article argues for more rigorous study of military working dogs by using dogs in World War I as a case study. These dogs were part of a larger propaganda campaign to boost civilian morale in both Great Britain and the United States. Furthermore, it is worth questioning agency and adding the concept to this present discussion, not to complicate matters but rather to aid in the analysis of the use of military working dogs. What will result is the intertwining of studies in military working dog history, agency, and civilian morale while also analyzing and calling into question current published works on animals in warfare.
I have slowly been developing my argument as I have continued my research and writing process and as a result, my argument has taken a few different forms. Above is the most recent and any comments, questions, or concerns will be much appreciated!