Pup-Ashtray-02When did you first discover pup play or realize you were interested?
When I was 14 years old, I had a 23 year old boyfriend who taught me about bdsm and kink. It was 1994.We used to do a lot of Master/slave role play, and I loved it. One day, I was thinking of ways to make our sex hotter and more kinky. I came up with the idea of writing a contract that I would sign and I would follow all the rules we created on it. As I was writing it, I got turned on thinking about how hot it would be if I was owned and collared, and treated like a dog. A random thought. I starting jerking off and reached orgasm to the thought of being collared and leashed, eating out of a bowl. After that I finished writing the contract, and when my Sir came home. He was blown away by the list of rules written down and the fact that I had thought of it. Later, around 3:00 in the morning, He took me on my very first walk as a pup. Outside, in nothing, he took me down the street, naked, collared, and I was so scared of getting caught. I pulled at the leash, but he got me halfway down the quiet suburban street.He walked me back home and fed me ice cream out of a bowl on the floor. That was 21 years ago, and while I knew at that point I was definitely meant to be a pup, I didn’t know anyone else shared that desire with me. So, in the following years, my lovers often knew, but I didn’t actually meet another pup for several years. Being the only pup you know in the world can be lonely and cause you to question your sanity. That’s why–after finding my pack many years later, I intend to keep all the pups I know protected and never leave one of them to feel rejected or alone.

How would you describe pup play headspace based on your experiences?
My pup play headspace is an exciting place. At first it was very sexual, and still can be at times. But beyond the sexual side, it is a beautiful and honest place for me to bask, and I feel more connected to my core when I am there. It’s pure freedom. Freedom from everything that ails my human mind. I can just live moment to moment and know that I am safe with my handler, and it becomes almost like a meditation. When the world is difficult, My pup side comes out and I will crawl into my cage and feel peace and serenity flow through me as a pup in a safe space. When another pup gets in the mix or I’m at a mosh, I see all the movement around me and it’s like I’m at an amusement park. More recently, as an alpha pup, I have a bit more social responsibility and safety in mind. I make sure everyone is safe, everyone is happy, and everyone is included. After spending time in pup space, It takes a lot to get me back into my human headspace, but when I do get back, my love for the pup lifestyle grows bigger and I’m always calmer, happier, and more connected to everyone I share the experience with.

What does being a pup mean to you?
Being a pup relates to my primal instincts and intuitive nature. To me, Being a pup promotes a better side of emotional connection between beings. It simplifies all that is complicated in the mind and brings you closer to your primal roots. The intensity of the emotions and the natural response come without much happening in the logical mind, which causes a close emotional connection to the other pups and handlers around you. We relate by movement and stance, playing with toys and nuzzling, which are all body language and physical actions versus logic and cohesive analytical thought. Not to say that a pup has no brain, we definitely do. It’s just that when you get into headspace regularly, you aren’t really using your brain in the same way you do as a human. When I go about my day, my human brain is constantly busy with a million ideas all the time. I think that most pups enjoy being able to silence human thoughts, and insecurities, and truly live in the moment and love unconditionally. That is something very very special and hard to achieve in any other headspace. Being a pup is leaving logical control and accepting that special connection of open love you receive when you are loving in an open and unconditional way. When you feel that feeling, that IS being a pup. To me-it’s pup.

Pup-Ashtray-03What are some ways you know of that someone can connect with their inner pup energy on their own?
I find that sitting in a pup stance on all fours in front of a mirror, helps. I was trained using this tactic. Also being put on a leash usually brings something out. Some pups I know say that there is a connection between meditation and being a pup. I think the act IS MEDITATION. But the truth is, it takes moment for most before it feels safe to do around other people or in public, because we are so conditioned to think of any fetish or different lifestyle as really strange. If people can get passed that part, they are opening themselves to a world full of great experiences with a ton of great people. After some time, If you are around other pups, you’ll get to that headspace easier.

Does gear help your immersion into headspace?
When I first started as a puppy, I had no gear, and I personally feel that a pups place is naked. However, my mitts, tail, hood, and collar mean alot to me. Each of them adds a physicality to the look, it’s more intense to look at for sure. None of it is necessary really, but the gear has a way of pushing many pups more quickly into the proper headspace. But I don’t think anyone needs them. Alot of new pups always seem to feel jaded about not having the gear. I tell them, The pup is inside me and inside you. I hope that people don’t run off and buy a bunch of stuff thinking that’s what makes a pup, because to me, the gear helps in ways, especially with the preservation of your knees and for identifying pack members, as well as masking those that are nervous in public. It can be a safety blanket. I wear what I feel like. Usually the hood is the first thing I want to take off.

Describe an instance where your pup personality came out at an unexpected moment?
Earlier this year, when I heard about my favorite beta pup Zero was treated unkindly by someone. I barked kinda loudly when he told me. A very natural reaction. Kinda startled myself. I am protective of my pack, but he is one not to be mean too. As an alpha, my pack means everything to me. Zero is by far the most puppy of a human I’ve ever met.

Do you identify with a particular breed of bio dog?
I relate to the bull terrier. I guess it’s because I’ve always wanted one and people say they look like their dog, and that’s the dog I look like. Bull terriers are a little sturdy, graceful nose, happy eyes, big alligator smile. Just adorable to me.

Pup-Ashtray-01What are your pup community goals?
My goals in Los Angeles are for all the pups to be happy and comfortable about who they are and what they are. As long as what I do is bringing people/pups together and making them feel better about themselves, My goals are being met.Also I plan to continue throwing Dog Pound so that there’s a place for pups to meet as long as I can. If I can help every pup understand that their mental health is important, and that they shouldn’t feel shame from being a pup, that’d be great. I talk a bit about that in my pup classes.

What do you see as some of the strengths of the pup community? Weaknesses or obstacles?
The pup community has many different types of people involved, so a common challenge is to thread the many different kinds of people together. In Los Angeles, it’s such a patchwork of people and the region is spread apart so much that it can sometimes feel that the pack isn’t all connected as one. This difficulty has created many smaller packs within the whole. Also some support the events that happen in bars and some don’t feel comfortable pupping out in public. Luckily the easiest way for us to solve such problems, is to offer both bar events and private home Moshes. We have enough in our community that care, so it’s made it an easier problem to fix.
A really sad issue came up recently. A pup in LA was trying to connect with a handler he had met on Facebook, and after giving his number to the handler he started getting too many messages from him, basically being a little too forward sexually. The pup said he didn’t want to meet this handler any more and so the handler retaliated by sending him several messages saying the pup should kill himself, and then the anonymous handler sent pictures of the pup at Long Beach Pride in full pup gear to his parents. His father was especially hit hard by the photos and the pup wasn’t even out about his homosexuality to the parents. It caused an enormous strain on their relationship, and the pup pulled out of volunteering for the next pup event at LA Pride. Our community has gone to great lengths to show the pup that he is part of our pack and that we care for him deeply, and we are working on getting more information about the handler. Ultimately the pup has been okay, and he is very emotional but feels strength in knowing that our community rallies around him as a family should.

Within the pup world, how do you view the significance or meaning of a collar?
My collar means a ton to me, but I am also one who has a slave background. It means different things to different people and all are ok. I feel such honor in being collared to my Master/Handler. I wear at least a chain around my neck at all times. It’s a huge deal to me.

What are your thoughts on pup names?
I think that a pup name should either be decided by the handler or given by the pack, or you can always choose it yourself. Name yourself, get named by someone, keep your own name. It’s up to you. I think having a separate name from your real name is a good idea, for many reasons. My Master/handler named me. He recently changed it slightly. It was Ashtray Boner Kain, now it’s Ash-Tray Boner Kain. The ‘Boner’ part is a name from a previous handler. I still care about that handler so I asked to leave it in.

Pup-Ashtray-04We hear many pups in the community calling for increased education. What are some of the topics you would like to see more education on? Education is always a good thing, and I feel like in our community, there needs to be increased attention on mental health and well being, cyber bullying, and mosh etiquette.

How does your pup persona balance with your “everyday” life?
My Persona is me. I am a pup, it is my life and my lifestyle. Just as you are gay and haven’t choice, I am a pup and I believe it operates the same way. It’s just inside you. We are all searching for the common thread and that primal connection. You know that I’m a pup, just from my Facebook profile… Everyone knows that this is me!

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?
Anybody can be a pup. Anyone can be a handler. All these descriptions, these labels, are just the easiest way for human beings to categorize things and it helps them feel comfortable. I personally believe that a lot of the labels are not really necessary but because people are generally anally retentive, here they are. Labeling everything is what keeps humanity sane, but it also can cause communities to separate.. We should all just know that we’re all equal. we’re all very much made of the the same materials.

Where do you see the pup and handler community in relation to the broader leather/kink/fetish community?
In Los Angeles we have a very tight knit red and Fetish community. The pup community has grown larger and there’s always been a connection to leather and bdsm but honestly I feel like there’s a lot going on here, so much, the sub genre pup play has transcended into its own genre with Respect of course given to all bdsm fetish related genres. In fact, pup culture always will have ties to certain fetishes. We have diaper pups, rubber pups, leather pups, and punk pups etc. In our Long Beach and Los Angeles Pride Parades we have been always comfortable joining the leather contingent when in the parade. The past, present and future of pup culture will always have connections to the leather and bdsm fetish communities.

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