The secret life of human pups… in review…
Well, the documentary aired on Channel 4 last night, and the sky hasn’t fallen in, and I got up this morning and went to work as normal. There were no pups running around in the streets, on public transport or being herded into insane-asylum wagons. The pre-talk and hype both within the pup community and on some of the media channels in the days running up to the show, all had lots of people/pups up in arms in terms of what was this documentary was going to show, but having sat and watched it (and been really fortunate to do it in the company of my puppy-bro Thunder) in reflection, I think it was a good documentary, reflecting the social side of the scene.
I first heard of the documentary in attendance at the “Pup Social” event in Birmingham. Andy who runs the social, talked about it with pups and the aims of the documentary team in creating a reflective look at the pup scene and what people got out of it. I (like many pups who were there) recoiled at the idea of the media intruding into this space that was so personal to me. My initial thoughts were very much around the fact that I couldn’t see any good coming out of such a documentary, but these are just my thoughts, and people are free to express themselves in whatever manner, but I knew from the outset that I wouldn’t participate. I think some pups have aired their own thoughts on the documentary however, in public forums, in such an abusive manner pre-airing that there should be a stream of apologies to both the programme makers and the people involved for some of the things that were said prior to airing. There are a lot of ego’s throughout the community (as there are with any community in general) but I’m really hoping that there is a coming together of groups, people and pups post this.
First off, my total respect and hats off to Spot. He was the common thread running through the documentary and I thought his contribution to the documentary regarding his journey to date was really open. At times, I really felt for him. He put his relationships on show for this, and out there, for people to see, even though you could tell there was a lot being unsaid . I found the parts of how his handler Colin wouldn’t answer the question of jealousy, and his ex telling him that she thought her and Tom could still be together if it wasn’t for Spot, totally heart-wrenching in that this is his life and these are very personal feelings that aren’t really to do with pup play itself but put those feelings out there for us all to know about. It definitely put a human feel on the entire documentary even if it was a little awkward at times, but showed that even though pup play CAN be a great release, we are all still dealing with the human relationships and day-to-day life that effects us all when we take off our hoods.
The contributions in various forms from other pups and handlers were also great to see. I felt sorry for Kai when no-one turned up for the walk, but I also knew that this was unlike other walks he organises and a bit crap that it was used in the documentary. It had been advertised on the Puppy Pride website before the documentary aired, and attending pups would have been informed of the filming, and maybe that actually probably explains the reluctance to attend, which is what the documentary makers didn’t mention! Kaz on the sofa with his Husky looked pawesome, and Bootbrush’s commentary on his journey and experiences made me grin. I don’t think I’ve ever met Chip before but his suit and mask are awesome, albeit slightly scary. I think that was the overall impression throughout was that I sat there and watched with a smile on my face as I saw people that I knew and have met previously openly talking about what pup play means to them, and being just “open” about it, on national TV. And that although shocking to some, and the twitter and comment steams have been full of idiotic and abusive comments, it was still nice to see these things talked about. The pups were all protected by their anonymity of their hoods, but Kai and Andy as handlers had no such anonymity, and for this they should be respected for putting themselves on the line.
I was a bit gutted that Mylo didnt get his interview shown, but he was still shown adorably playing on screen. Both Thunder and I were totally shocked when our images appeared up, in the form of photo’s from the Kennel Klub get-together in Manchester. Again, totally protected by our anonymity but it was a really nice surprise to see the both of us together when we were both sat watching it! And of course, getting to see the Sirius pup pack too, along with Bootbrush was also really nice.
I think the documentary touched on, but didn’t draw any conclusions or try to delve into the deeper kink side of pup play. I was glad it got a mention, and it sort of showed the current diversity in the community with Spots entry into the European pup competition. In the UK, it is unique in how prevalent the non-sexual pup community has come in terms of events and leaders. Socials are just that, social. They’re an opportunity for pups and like minded people to meet. No-one complains ever that there are rubber-socials, or leather socials. The non-sexual community has utilised the resources of the usual sex/kink venues to have their events, but at the same time have enforced their social aspect in terms of the meets. Its understandable that there has been confusion for some. For some they feel like the sexual side of pup play is being suppressed and not spoken about. But there are plenty of other kink and sex based nights and activities for them to express this too. Its been causing a huge fracas across the community way before this documentary was even aired, but there were parts in the doc that I think really highlighted some of those differences. This definitely was not the documentary to explore them further.
The fact that spot came 3rd and the European judges were looking for more of a kink edge for a winner (something that Spot himself realised, I think) really highlights that although the pup scene initially grew out of the exploration of other kink subculture, and a persons expressiveness of their inner submissive and obedient side to their personality, it is now also a tremendous “mindful” activity that doesn’t need to draw on the kink side of play any more.
However, I think its respectful for the show to acknowledge that some people get into pup play from the kink side of the community, other pups don’t. We should all be respectful of everyone’s different entry into pup play, whether its from a straight, gay, transgendered approach, or a kink, non-kink approach and kink has such a broad spectrum of activities (foot/sock/trainer play, bondage, sub/dom, ABDL, etc..) that respecting all entry points is key, even if you didn’t discover pup play via the kink community, for example Spot. My entry to pup play was through sock/trainer play combined with a three-way where i switched into a submissive role with another pup – that’s not usual! That’s the reason I don’t think the furore internally within the pup community has really been relevant at all, except for a few pups to vent about the fact that for some pup play is sexual, for others its not – like its some sort of right or wrong argument where actually there are no rights (I could make a 50 shades of grey comparison but I wont)
I entered the pup play scene coming via the kink play scene, and found a home there, just as other pups may never interact with the kink scene, but still find pup play something they can enjoy and love. I’ve drawn a Venn diagram to highlight this above, and if I drew one of all the shared interests people have, it would be a lot of bubbles! That’s human me, in the middle btw!
So, in summary, I think it was a good documentary. I thought at the end how it would have been great to have made it a 6 part series, looking each week at another pup (rather than just concentrate on Spot) and talk about their journey in the pup world. I’m not sure the twitter-verse could have coped with that at this stage though, so best to let the social media furore die down and then everyone can get back on with the task in hand of building our community for the good of all… Ignore the #humanpups hashtag on twitter, and the commentary from the people who don’t understand, and lets welcome in the people who want to understand this more, and reap the benefits we all know exist from this.
Some good links t review post show are added here :