Oops! Where was I? Oh, yeah. While I do tend to get turned-on by the look, touch, and smell of leather, rubber, and lycra, that wasn’t actually what drew me to pup play to begin with. This is evidenced pretty well by the fact that I’ve been doing pup play since 2005 and identified as a "pup" for almost as long, but I only bought my first tail last year and my first puppy hood this year. Well… to be honest, I probably would have bought some gear sooner except for the fact that my Owner doesn’t like the hoods (she prefers to see my face) and she’s not a gear fetishist. She’s okay w/ leather, rubber, and spandex… but they don’t often push her buttons. My new puppy hood is somewhat of a concession – she’s indulging me, but she’s not crazy about it.
Now, if you count the leash and collar as pup gear… well, that, I admit, was probably where it first started. Ever since I was a teen, I had fantasies of being led about on a leash, or chained-up by a collar. And now, I have the coolest leash I know of – a long leash of heavy, brown leather. It’s probably my favorite piece of gear (not counting Ma’am’s collar), and I LOVE to be paraded about on it. Being led by the leash is one of my biggest turn-ons.
However, lots of people in our community have fetishes about leashes and collars w/o being into puppy play, so I don’t think my gear fetish is really what drew me to pup play. For me it started more as a spiritual interest. I used to attend a
and sit in
meditation about once a week. I did that
for… oh, I guess about two years. That
was like 2001-2002, I think. Now, the
goal of Zen meditation is to cultivate a state of “no mind” in which you
experience reality directly w/o picking it apart w/ added analysis. "When you chop wood, chop wood. When you carry water, carry water." Sounds like it should be simple, but try and
sit for 10 minutes w/o thinking any conscious, verbalize-able, thoughts… just
experience things unfiltered w/o any mental “commentary.” It’s pretty tough. However, after practicing that for a couple
of years, I found it fairly easy to drop into pup-space from the very first time
I tried it. I still use a lot of the
same techniques: counting breaths or silently repeating mantras. I use a Chinese Daoist mantra I learned many
years ago (wu-tie-foo-may-lay), but it can be anything – you can repeat “Mary
had a little lamb” in your head. The
purpose of the mantra is just to distract the frontal part of your brain – to
make the words in your head stop. Zen
After a couple of years at the
I drifted out of the East and became interested in Neo-paganism and, in
particular, Celtic shamanism. The work
of John & Caitlin Matthews was very important during this time (2002-2004),
and I actually got to meet them at Mythic Journeys in 2004. (If you know the origin of my name, Emrys,
then you’ve got a solid clue to where I’m coming from.) Zen Center
Also important was the work of Stephen Larsen, who approached shamanism/transformation from a Jungian perspective… focused on play, masks, and role-playing games as tools for inner transformation… and I also got to meet Stephen Larsen at Mythic Journeys ’04.
I guess one last piece of the puzzle for me was a long-standing interest in werewolves. Not just an interest in, but, as I’ve previously written, even a fetish for. I think werewolves are just fucking sexy! That irresistible explosion of raw, primal energy… Yum!
Somewhere at the intersection of a gear (leash) fetish + the meditative practice of “no mind” + Celtic shamanism (w/ its strong focus on totem animals) + an erotic interest in primal animal transformation and the canine/human hybrid… Pup Emrys was forged.
For me, becoming a canine isn’t just a game I play every now and then in the dungeon. The Irish Wolfhound is my spirit animal – my totem. This is who I am under the surface of my skin… and the hound is always there, 24/7… even if he’s sometimes deeper and other times closer to the surface. Yes, it’s erotic – of course! But it’s also spiritual for me. But it’s also play (an important lesson I got from Stephen Larsen: that play and games can be deeply spiritual exercises… especially those that involve identity-transformation or role-play – theater, after all, began as a religious event). So I’ll close w/ one more formula: sexual + spiritual + playful = pup play.
(And I can just hear Sir thinking to himself, "Ask a simple question...")