The BDSM (Bondage/Dominance Sadomasochism) is the seed from where our consensual puppy roots grew after world war II. The collar was perfectly acceptable in the leather community, as was being on all fours and knowing to stay on command. There were no odd looks, it was a fit. Our Leather Community is a perfect environment for pups to begin to blossom, alongside slaves. In fact, pups were not a far stretch from the consensual slave, except for one key thing, the puppy heart. There is no humiliation when on all fours for pups; a dog bowl and padded mitts make us bubble with excitement. Yet, like the boy and the slave, pups love to be of service.
Our history goes back a long time, long before I can claim personal knowledge. My life as a pup started, consciously, in 1989, when a Sir called me “pup” and the wheels immediately began turning and things clicked, like the vault doors in a bank. Things opened up and my perspectives felt validated. The consensual dog is a far cry from the stories of the forced dog that we can read about in novels written back in the 1940’s and so. Even Don Quixote had mention of the dog and the slave, with only a comma separating them.
When I learned of my inner puppy, I was soon researching online to find like-minded guys, which is when I found thedoghouse.org. It was built around the world of dogslaves, BDSM, and training your “dog.” TheDogHouse.org was self described as: “A club for pan-sexual humans (dogs and bitches) with a canine soul, and for the people who like them that way (Owners, Trainers, Masters and Mistresses ), it may also be of interest to SM enthusiasts.” This was a great place for me!
In the 20th century, a “puppy” was little more than a young dogslave, which was a struggle for me, as I had a pup’s heart. It was not until 1997 that I learned of the “Dog Head Space” classes that were being taught in San Francisco. But, in the U.K. the “puppy” was already sprouting, as puppies were joining with the pony play scene. The first time I had heard the use of the word “puppy,” aside from in my personal life, was in a post for a Pony and Puppy play day at The Whiplash, which was in London. Puppies were sprouting all over the world in the late 90’s.
Dogslaves were not common back in “the day.” I did not identify as a slave; in fact, I identified as a switch, and still do to this day. But for many years I lived as “Pup Tim” only to those who knew me well; pup’s felt like part of the underground to me. I was a member of Avatar, the Los Angeles BDSM education group in 1992, and was the sole pup for years, until a pup named Kwest arrived. While he and I did a workshop for Avatar, the Pup Scene in Los Angeles was a small core group. It was not until the late 90’s that the pup community in LA began to surface into a larger group.
In 1995 at DynSky, in the U.K., there was a Dog Show that had three contestants. In 1996 they had eight contestants. The U.K. was ahead of the curve for puppies. There remained a scattering of Dog Shows throughout the 90’s.
In the early 2000’s puppy play began to grow into the public eye, especially in the early 2000’s. Bar contests began to pop-up here and there. Clubs began to have more puppy presentations, and more pups showed up at events, enjoying the view from all fours. In 2001 there began an event in Texas, put on by the Lone Star Boys of Leather. In my world, boys and pups have always played well together, so it was no surprise that boys would have began the pup contest movement. A 2001 International Puppy was soon giving talks, which is when my Master, (Master Skip) and I heard about IPC. IPC was a vision of Patrick Chees, aka boy Patrick, or “Nipper.” Boy Patrick had a vision of demonstrating what a puppy is, by bringing a contest that was largely modeled after any canine dog show. This was not a new model, but it was new to the U.S.
I had a small documentary crew following me around in 2002. They were filming about openly gay men that were bringing their radical sex and spirituality into an ever-evolving merge. This was also the year that I competed at IPC and left with the prize. The contest so inspired the Director that she named the film “Pup.” It was surreal sitting in the main screening auditorium at the Hollywood Directors Guild and watching the film. I loved seeing pups on the big screen in 2003! Pup Don, Pug, and others in my pack and were alongside in the film and we were certainly not a subculture anymore.
Now, in 2016, puppies are in another renaissance. The Leather Community sees pups as a part of the community, much as boys, ponies, and bears have a place. We are no longer a sub-culture of the community. The canine archetype is established and growing.
There are some that do not live in the pup world all the time, but certainly love the gear, much like bondage slaves used to appear on weekends and became the visual representative of the bondage subculture. However, a desire to engage in the canine sub-culture is all that is asked of pups to enter the community. Like any community, how we act determines our place.
I will write more on the canine archetype, training, the role of gear, the myth behind safe words, cultural cross overs, and most of all, about the fun times that puppies get to have – later. Woofs! For now, just knowing that the collar we have stems from a rich history and that we are far from a passing fad. Puppies are in a wonderful renaissance and are not anything new; at least not to the leather, BDSM, communities. We are here and happy – still.