A documentary about to air in Great Britain exposes more boundary-pushing by the gay world — men who like to dress up like dogs and be “handled” by their owners in so-called “pup play.”
The “Secret Life of Human Pups” is a “sympathetic look at the world of pup play”, according to an article in The Guardian. It is said to be a movement that grew out of the bondage and domination world and, with the internet, “has exploded in the last 15 years.”
Those who go in for “pup play” are mostly gay men who “have an interest in dressing in leather, wear dog-like hoods, enjoy tactile interactions like stomach rubbing or ear tickling, play with toys, eat out of bowls and are often in relationships with their ‘handlers.’”
Included in the document is someone named Tom who goes by the dog-name “Spot”and who travels to dog-friendly Antwerp to compete in Mr. Puppy Europe, “a mix of beauty pageant, talent show and Crufts [an international dog show in the UK].”
Tom, or ‘Spot,’ says puppy play “is about more than just outfits and surface-level power games: it’s about being given a license to behave in a way that feels natural, even primal.”
Tom discovered puppy play through his appreciation for sleeping in a dog collar and his love of skin-tight clothing such as rubber or lycra. His life changed, however, when he discovered a skin-tight Dalmatian suit that covers his whole body including his face and head.
The realization caused his girlfriend to break up with him and his discovery of gay sex with his “handler” Colin.
Another person, David, goes by the dog-name “Bootbrush” says, “There is an immense amount of pleasure from gambolling around in a club playing with squeaky toys because you’re making people laugh, you’re being a cute little puppy. The gay scene can be very serious, scary and offputting. But if you’re going in with a little puppy hood, ears and a tongue, you look cute. You’re allowed to bound around and be enthusiastic, mischievous and friendly.”
Puppy-player Kaz pooh-poohs the idea that it is only about sex. It’s really about family. “People automatically jump to the conclusion that this is gear we wear to have sex. I used to get asked awful questions like, if I liked having sex with dogs. But it’s certainly not that, and it’s not always sexual. Members of my pack, we spend a lot of time together at home just being dogs. There’s nine of us and my partner is our handler. A big part of it is a feeling of family and belonging; we’re there to look after each other.”
The second Mr. Puppy Europe takes place next February in Belgium. “Are you most sexy on your knees,” asks organizers. “Is your bark worse than your bite? You don’t feel complete without a waggy tail and thumbs are for the weak? Why save the world when you could chew your bone instead?” Among many other prizes, the winner gets to compete in the International Puppy Contest in St. Louis, Missouri.
It’s not all dog-biscuits and squeeze toys at Mr. Puppy Europe, however. Attendees can go to something called “Darkland” that has a fetish market, classes and demonstrations. There’s also a porn expo.
There’s also Camp K9 where the puppy fetishist can go “for the ultimate puppy experience” including “two days of play on our padded puppy mosh pit with hours dedicated to the wruff players and the more cuddly pups.”
You can also get a wash-and-trim at their Poodle Salon and visit the house veterinarian.
As admittedly nutty as all this sounds, the variety of sites about the trend means that we are almost certain this story is not a hoax.