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Laura Tucker

Welcome to my eportfolio

I am a second year PhD student in the Sociology department at the University of Warwick. My research interests are human-animal relationships, masculinities, identity and the re-formation of the self following trauma.

I graduated from Swansea University in 2002 with a B.Sc (econ) 2:1 in Anthropology and American Studies. In the final month of this degree I was involved in a road accident that left me confined to a wheelchair. I found it very hard to move on from what had happened to me and suffered depression for many years. A number of years later, in 2010, I completed a graduate diploma in psychology at the University of Gloucestershire. My thesis explored the lives and experiences of wives of Special Forces soldiers when their husbands were deployed to fight in the Iraq war. I found the interviewing and analysis for the thesis so interesting I wanted to learn more about research methods so I started a Masters in Social Research at the University of Warwick which I completed in 2013.

My research interests have been influenced by my own experiences since the accident and subsequent research. Not long after I had been discharged from hospital to start my new life in my wheelchair, I found my first animal companion, Milo, a Cocker Spaniel puppy. He was 8 weeks old when I got him and was a lovely light in my difficult life. I didn’t realise it at the time but Milo got me through a lot of sadness over the years. He helped me move on in my life and gave me the courage (and the reason) to leave my house and start to reintegrate into the world. He was always with me, my little comfort blanket, but I didn’t realise the huge difference he made to my life until years later, when I had got over the depression and started to get on with my life.

I had slowly come to realise just how significant Milo’s role was in my own recovery and wanted to find out if other people had experienced anything similar to what I had. My thesis for my Masters degree explored the relationships people who had experienced a life-changing event had with their companion animals. I interviewed people with cancer, military personnel who suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), people who had experienced bereavement and others who had suffered a mental breakdown. Completing this thesis was fascinating and left me with more unanswered questions which has led me to the focus for my PhD.

My PhD is further exploring the relationships people have with their companion animals focussing on ex-military personnel who have suffered physical and/or mental injury or illness. My supervisors are Prof. Nickie Charles and Dr Carol Wolkowitz.

 

I am also a sessional teacher on the Sociology of Health and Illness undergraduate module at the University of Warwick which I find very enjoyable.

I love spending time with my dogs and also enjoy being outdoors, doing a bit of gardening, jewellery making and painting from time to time. One of my dogs is a “Pets as Therapy” dog and I take him into a local nursing home to hopefully bring a bit of brightness to the residents’ day.

Swansea University (2002) – B.Sc (Econ) in Anthropology and American Studies. University of Gloucestershire (2010) - Graduate Diploma in Psychology. University of Warwick (2013) - MA in Social Research.