There is simply no end to human perversity.
In Christian cultures, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday” in French) is a festival that marks the last night of eating rich foods before the ritual fasting of Lent — the 40 days before Holy Week, in which Christians fast, pray and make special sacrifices in memory of Christ’s suffering and crucifixion.
Once upon a time, people would dress up in feather, beads and festive clothing for Mardi Gras.
Not so today.
Below are scenes of people who debase their humanity by dressing themselves as dogs, from the March 3, 2018 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia, in which Cher made a “surprise appearance” and an estimated 300,000 spectators thronged the streets. (Source of images: “human pup” handler Tycho Aurora’s Twitter)
According to the “Secret Life of the Human Pups,” a program broadcast on the UK Channel 4 TV in May 2016, as many as 10,000 people in the UK are “human pups” — a movement that grew out of the BDSM community and has exploded in the last 15 years as the internet made it easier to reach out to like-minded people.
Human pups tend to be male, homosexual, like to dress in leather, wear dog-like hoods, play with toys, eat out of bowls, often have human “handlers” or “owners” who take them out on a leash.
One of them is Tom, 32, a theater technician who prefers to be called Spot. Tom split up with his fiancee Rachel because of his yearning to dress up as a Dalmatian, which she neither understands nor wants to. Tom says: “You’re not worrying about money, or food, or work. It’s just the chance to enjoy each other’s company on a very simple level. You disappear and start chasing puppy toys. You go so deep into the head space, you crave it and want it. It’s just magic.”
Tom has spent more than £4,000 ($5,555) over the past 10 years on his canine habit. Although his Dalmatian rubber costume, complete with breathing tube, is “quite awkward to put on, you need a lot of talc,” so intense is his craving that he has taken to sleeping in a dog training crate, lined with puppy training pads for urinating. On his Twitter account, “Spot” says he is owned by Colin, who describes himself as being into “Lycra, Gunge, Pup Play, BDSM.” Tom and Colin have a “gay relationship”. In November 2015, Tom was crowned Mr. Puppy UK, and represented the UK in the finals of Mr. Puppy Euro in Belgium.
Another “human pup” is David, a writer who works in academia. He says “puppy play” is an escape from the academic analytical world:
“It’s so totally non-verbal. It’s pre-rational, pre-conscious. It’s an instinctive, emotional space. But within every puppy is a person. I can go months without going into pup space. The gay scene can be very serious, scary and offputting. But if you’re going in with a little puppy hood, ears and a tongue, you look cute. You’re allowed to bound around and be enthusiastic, mischievous and friendly. Some pups are solo, of course, but for me the puppy identity is focused on the bond between me and Sidney, my handler. I’ve been collared to him for 10 years. If anyone comes near him I growl like a little bull terrier.”
Kaz, another “human pup,” says that being one isn’t just a fun mask to try on, it’s how they identify and who they are. Kaz socializes “as a pack,” enjoys physical closeness with other pups, and always eats out of a dog bowl at home:
“Even when I worked in PC World I would sometimes walk up to people and nip at their shirt. It’s just nice, it makes me feel comfortable. But I always eat with a knife and fork and at a table. Otherwise it’s time-consuming and you can’t watch TV. People automatically jump to the conclusion that this is gear we wear to have sex. I used to get asked awful questions like, if I liked having sex with dogs. But it’s certainly not that, and it’s not always sexual. Members of my pack, we spend a lot of time together at home just being dogs. There’s nine of us and my partner is our handler. A big part of it is a feeling of family and belonging; we’re there to look after each other.”