Health

Meet the Men Who Want to Live as Puppies

Dogs are about as lovable as it gets. They're good for your mental health, sweet, adorable, and cuddly, among many other things.

Some people, however, are so intrigued by dogs that they actually want to live like canines for a broad range of reasons. For some, it's a sexual fetish, but it can also be a powerful form of escape.

One way to pursue this lifestyle is through puppy play, a form of the sexually charged pet play that entails role-playing as a dog.

Puppy play, and the growing subculture in the U.K., has recently gained media attention thanks to Channel 4's new documentary "Secret Life of the Human Pups."

People who live as puppies tend to be gay men who have handlers, trainers, or masters who like to wear collars, go on walks, and take orders from whoever is in charge of them. Many of them like to eat from bowls, bark, and dress like animals, The Guardian reports. Some people only discuss puppy play on social media or on various online forums because they do not want to be shamed by others outside the community who argue that the lifestyle is weird and unnatural:

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So why do people want to live as puppies?

Puppy play is a subculture that originated in the BDSM community that is sometimes associated with furry subculture but also serves as a form of escape for many people today, director Guy Simmonds told Newsweek:

"On the surface you’d think it was a few people dressing up as dogs behind closed doors. But the more we researched it, the more surprised I was to learn how large the community was in the U.K. They’ve got their own social networking sites, events and competitions.”

A theater engineer named Tom, who goes by Spot, won the Mr. Puppy UK competition in November and told The Guardian that puppy play allows him to flee the stresses of human life.

Secret Life of the Human Pups

“You’re not worrying about money, or food, or work," he said. "It’s just the chance to enjoy each other’s company on a very simple level.”

Another person named Kaz told The Guardian that puppy play enables people to have a pack that feels like family. Though men who engage in puppy play tend to be gay, Tom told the publication that the community has grown significantly and welcomes people of all identities.

The community itself faces a lot of criticism from others.

For Tom in particular, puppy play contributed to the demise of his relationship with his fiancée, Rachel, and ultimately led him into the arms of his handler, Colin.

“It feels like you can be gay, straight, bisexual, trans and be accepted,” Kaz said. “All I want is for the pup community to be accepted in the same way. We’re not trying to cause grief to the public, or cause grief to relationships. We’re just the same as any other person on the high street.”

Tumblr is often the place where people can discuss and post photos of puppy play:

"Everyone has times they find their life stressful, worrying about money, work, college, social life or whatever," a Tumblr user formerly under the username gayboykink wrote on Tumblr. "It’s moments like these that you should let things go and let your inner dog take over. Squeaky toys, food, scratches, playing fetch, naps, attention and squirrels are everything you’ll need to worry about when [you're] in pup mode. Have you any idea how [relaxing] it is to lay at your owner’s feet or to have a little beauty nap on a puppy bed? We all need a break sometimes."

Check out the "Secret Life of the Human Pups" trailer below:

[H/T The Guardian]

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