Pup Bayard: 2016 Puppy & Handler of the Year NomineeMay 26, 2016
When did you first discover pup play or realize you were interested?
I watched a documentary style TV show on national geographic almost 3 years ago. It was on the House of Hunt with Miss Liliane and Pup Tyke. A feeling came over me while watching it and I was very intrigued and started exploring everything I could find on pup play. There weren’t a lot of resources eve just a few years ago. Then I discovered a community of pups right in my home town. A few of them, including Pup Arc and Pup Ghost were very helpful in guiding me to the right people to help me along the way.
How would you describe pup play headspace based on your experiences?
It is such a feeling of freedom from my human, or hooman self, as I like to refer to it. I can feel a warmth come over me and then I get into this free place in my head. I lose my feels from the outside world. My problems with people and work and whatever just kind of disappear. Then a playful side fills my head. It’s kind of amazing to go into it!
What does being a pup mean to you?
For me it’s a playful time, while it can still be a serious time as well. In pup headspace and some other times its all about being playful and fun. Other times its about being serious. I am very service oriented when in non-headspace pup mode. When I’m with a Sir or Alpha, I enjoy making sure they are taken care of, from housework to community service itself.
What are some ways you know of that someone can connect with their inner pup energy on their own?
One of the easiest ways is to start with visualization, I like to close my eyes and get down on all fours and close out the things around me. I then start to imagine myself out in a field in the middle of the woods, something from my childhood. I just start remembering the smells and sounds of that field and get myself to slowly escape back to that point in my life, a happy place so to speak. That’s one of the easiest ways for me to get into headspace.
Does gear help your immersion into headspace? If so or if not, please elaborate?
I didn’t need gear at first to get into headspace. I had been practicing the visualization for a while. But once I got my first piece (a rubber pup hood I won at my first pup mosh) it became.much easier to get into headspace. Then as I added additional pieces it became easier and easier to get into headspace.
Describe an instance where your pup personality came out at an unexpected moment?
It happened at work the one day. Some one told me I was a good boy and I arf’d. I kinda turned beet red and turned on my heels and walked away pretty rapidly. She asked me later what was up, I just said I hiccuped and wanted to excuse myself.
Do you identify with a particular breed of bio dog? If so, describe how you relate to that breed?
I consider myself a mixed breed:
Bloodhound and Dalmatian.
The Bloodhound in me is where I see my thirst for knowledge. I’m always on the hunt for new information. As far as personality goes: I can be docile yet stubborn, determined but not quarrelsome, affectionate but somewhat shy with people I don’t know. When it comes to training, I’m sensitive to kindness or correction, but I still want to do things my way. As a sniffer pup, I can sniff out the slightest hint of a trail, but as a watchdog or guard dog, I’m poor, given my love of people. Some Bloodhounds can be vocal, barking up a storm when they’re excited like me.
As far as Dalmatian goes that has a lot to do with my coloring more than anything. I have vitiligo which causes my skin to lose pigment, so I’m spotted all over just like a Dalmatian. But I would also do anything to help anyone in need, even at the risk of my own self.
What are your pup community goals?
I have a few goals I’d like to focus on the upcoming year.
A focus on consent in the community. Not just from pups to pups, we have a tendency to overlook that ourselves but also from Sirs and outsiders who think it’s acceptable to just touch and grope and do other things to pups just because they are pups. Pups get looked at like they are lower than boys or slaves at times. There are certain protocols when a boy or slave wears a collar but many times when a pup is wearing a collar those protocols are ignored. I’ve witnessed pups get groped, touched, handled, and even sexually assaulted. It’s like just because we are pups we don’t have to be treated like humans either.
I want to improve the views on body image in the pup community. I’m not a muscle bound pup or a “twink”. I’m not a bear or a cub since I’m not hairy. I’m just a chubby guy who enjoys my pup time. When I look at a pup, I look at their playfulness and the joy in their eyes. Take a look at any pup in a hood, the best feature is their eyes. Just look at anyone in a hood. You can see a twinkle, you can see a smile in their eyes even without the smile on their lips. Pup play is not about what you physically look like it’s about how you feel.
What do you see as some of the strengths of the pup community? Weaknesses or obstacles?
We are a community that is ever growing. We have a thirst for knowledge and change. We want to explore the community and we are in many aspects of kink: leather, sports gear, uniform, neoprene, rubber, abdl, and much much more. We can be inclusive to many and happy to teach others about our community.
We don’t have a full set of protocols or guidelines. So it can be tricky to know everyone’s protocols. As a community the U.S. pup scene is very new to outsiders and we can develop a bad name from a few bad apples pretty quickly. Look at CLAW 2015, the way it felt in the community was that all the puppies were out of control, that they cause choas; when in fact there were a select few individuals who created havoc and brought a sense of animosity to the pup scene. This year I saw a feeling of inclusion with the pups at the event and it felt wonderful.
Within the pup world, how do you view the significance or meaning of a collar?
The collar in the pup world has a few meanings:
Self collaring: wearing a collar to signify you are a pup. It may have a tag on it with your name. This helps to get your name out into the community easier, especially if you are new.
Collared by an Alpha or a Sir: This is your handler, so to speak, your tag will usually have their name on it as well somewhere. This person usually helps with your training and teaching. They protect you at moshes and are the person you look up to and report to.
Collared with a LOCK: just like a boy or slave, you have entered an agreement to follow whatever protocols you and your Sir or Alpha have agreed to.
The biggest aspect of all of these levels of collaring, is that you are wearing a collar and you should be shown the same respect that you would expect any boy or slave to receive. Before touching a collar, you should be asked if it’s ok, before you try to play with a pup, you should ask the pup or his handler if it’s ok. These are basic rules to collaring, they shouldn’t be ignored just because you’re a pup.
What are your thoughts on pup names?
I think a name helps define you. It can describe your personality, look at pup names like Spaz, Yeah Yeah, Bouncer, etc. You get a feeling of what these pups are like from their names. Pups with names like Nightmare, Scout, and others these names can have a more personal meaning. Pups can be named by their Sir or Alpha or they can name themselves. Like a biopup sometimes your name can be changed when you are collared or “adopted” so to speak.
For me, I named myself, I chose Bayard from Alice in Wonderland. I’ve loved the story since I was a child and to me it was always a coming out story. Alice went through the looking glass (closet doors…hehehe) and explored a whole new world. She ate and became larger and drank and became smaller, she found friends along the way. She also found herself. Similar to my coming out at a late stage in life, 37 years old and married for 17 years. In the movie, Bayard was featured more and he had to deliver Alice to the Queen of Hearts in order to win his freedom…like me I found my Alice, so I was FREE to become Bayard!
We hear many pups in the community calling for increased education. What are some of the topics you would like to see more education on?
I see a bigger need for trainer education more than anything. We have a tendency to look for the Alpha or Sir to guide us along the way, but many of them don’t actually have enough information under their belts to actually teach is the ways. I went to many sources to learn protocols and guidelines in the community. I was mentored by Sirs, Mistresses, Alphas, and other pups to learn different aspects of the community. I asked a ton of questions. I went to communities outside of my own to learn how the pup lifestyle was different depending on where you were. Not once have I really gotten to see a train to trainer class. This needs to be addressed in a bigger way for all of us.
How does your pup persona balance with your “everyday” life?
I’d say my pup person ways heavily in my life now. My immediate family know I’m a pup, including my ex wife and 13 year old son. In fact my son really loves my Captain America look. I am engaged to a pup, and we have a boyfriend that is exploring the pup scene. Outside of work, I generally identify as Bayard. Only to my family and coworkers do I identify as Matt or Matthew. This has actually helped me to grow and feel freer in life and my community as a whole.
In terms of gender identification, sexual orientation, age, or any other “descriptor,” the pup and handler community is often touted as being very inclusive. What are your views of ideas regarding this?
Why be discriminatory at all, there’s no reason for this. Biopups are male or female, not just male. Leather men can be gay or straight. Title holders can be masculine or feminine. Pups can be young or old. We have pups in their 50s and 60s, what’s wrong with that. I’m 40, does that make me too old to be a puppy? Not at all, it’s about how you feel. I’ve moshed with men and women. I’ve moshed with women that identify as men. Guess what they are just as fun to mosh with!!! My favorite person to mosh with over the last year was Bellum, he bit me in my first mosh, like hard!!! I snapped out of headspace and immediately yelled no, like I was telling a Biopup no. Then I went back into headspace and continued to mosh. Six months later I asked Bellum to bite me again, and I loved it. I have yet to see the posts like I have this week leading up to IML regarding a feminine title holder wearing painted long fingernails and how that doesn’t evoke the image of IML. That’s just not something we, as pups, tend to care about, I think we care more about how much fun we are having. Look at International Puppy Pup Gypsy, she’s an amazing pup who just gets down in a mosh and has fun, and guess what we all have fun right along side her.
Where do you see the pup and handler community in relation to the broader leather/kink/fetish community?
I think we are the turning point for change and bringing new light to the scene. We allow for more playfulness and change the aspects of the scene all together. We have pups that can be Sirs, alphas that can be betas, omega that can be alphas. We are opening the doors and eyes to many people out there. We are bringing people into the leather and kink community that may have other wise been to scared to come in. We are just being us and others are following suit. And that’s pretty freaking amazing!
All in all I just want to say that I have felt welcomed in many aspects of the kink community above all else the pup community. We have a tendency to gravitate towards each other and be open and free. I have made amazing friends and wouldn’t have the loved ones I have in my life with out this community. This is my family now and I wouldn’t change it for any reason!