In an era when “anything goes”, some people are pushing the envelope to unthinkable extremes. At one time not too long ago, most of the debate was about one or two of the “alternative lifestyles”, but now there are a multitude of rapidly growing “communities” that are into things that your parent’s generation would have never imagined.

puppy play pride parade

At London’s 2015 Puppy Pride Parade

In a search to find fulfillment an increasing number of millennials and people of all ages are rejecting traditional Judeo-Christian Values, choosing instead a secular “non-judgemental” value set unaffiliated with faith.

Puppy Play Growing In Popularity

Britain’s Channel 4, will tonight feature a bizarre documentary called, Secret Life of the Human Pups, a community of over 10,000 men who dress up as dogs in the UK. According to pre-released interviews, these grown men “covet doggy treats, belly rubs and squeaky toys” and dress up in dog costumes and take cosplaying, the wearing of costumes and fashion accessories to represent or identify as a specific character, to a whole new level. Puppy Play, once solely a private affair, is now widely accepted in many gay subcultures. Public puppy communities with their own social networking sites, public events and dog competitions, including puppy pride parades and international competitions can be found around the globe.

Puppy Play started as a leisure activity for men to escape mechanism to avoid the pressures of everyday life. “There is so much pressure at work and life is getting more hectic nowadays.” says Chip, a 42 year old, “When you’re in puppy mode, all rules go away… You don’t care about money; your job, or a bigger car.” These men are professionals, doctors, lawyers, artists, blue-collar workers and for each of them it’s about “finding their inner dog” to temporarily escape reality.

Dressing up and putting on a mask for most in the US is an activity reserved for kids at Halloween or the random masquerade party but the principles around puppy play is downright bizarre. Tom, a 32-year-old, has been dressing like a human-dog for nearly 10 years. He has spent a whopping $5,800+ on his custom-made alter-ego costumes and now readily proclaims that he feels most comfortable at home, as a dog. Tom, who is a professional theatre sound and lighting engineer, sleeps in a dog cage and lives with Colin his “handler”, a human taking full responsibility for “his pet” dog.

Trending Found In America

Last month in Reno, nearly 3,000 people attended the 4th annual Biggest Little Fur Con convention, including an estimated 700 people who wore full body fursuits. Some attendees could be found engaged in the practice of ‘yiffing’, a form of dry-humping, as they carried out their animalistic roleplay on the convention floor. Pictured below, a large playpen was set up under a canopy for 10 to 15 male puppies to “play” in the street at the annual “Up Your Alley” fetish street fair in San Francisco last year. For these American men “Puppy Life” is about inhabiting a headspace,” says the man Papa Woof who is the co-owner of the annual International Puppy Contest held in St. Louis. “It’s about living out an alternate reality while being surrounded by a supportive pack.” Over the last two years Play Pup gatherings have spread across the US and have taken place from Portland to San Diego to Chicago to Missouri to Toronto to Saint Louis. There are no public clubs in North Carolina.

puppy play san francisco ca

A puppy “play pen” is set up for men to frolic and play at the “Up Your Alley” outdoor street festival in  San Francisco

For David, a writer who works in academia in Britain, puppy play is all about the escape from his analytical world. He describes the play as, “totally a non-verbal, pre-rational, pre-conscious, instinctive, emotional space” which he describes as only part of his identity. Kaz, another pup, says he always eats out of a dog bowl but prefers to use a knife and fork so he can watch TV while he eats. “Members of my pack spend a lot of time together at home just being dogs,” says Kaz, “There’s nine of us and my partner is our handler.”

Participants turn to puppy play for a variety of reasons. Some men seek a sense of family and belonging that they are socially unable to achieve without their mask and tail. Others with a troubled past can be found here seeking emotional comfort and healing. While the documentary interviewed others who were still recovering from childhood traumas or were suffering from paraphilic infantilism or “adult baby syndrome,” where adults physiologically regress to an infant or young child, the overwhelming number of men simply engage in puppy play for sexual fulfillment.

Pet Play, which usually is associated with sexual acts like bondage, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism, is rapidly growing in the US. No matter how you classify Puppy Play (either as escapism or fetish) participants seek cultural acceptance for their identifies and lifestyle choices. Tom, among the few who assert his play as only a platonic long-term relationship, says, “It feels like you can be gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and be accepted… All we want is for the pup community to be accepted in the same way. We’re not trying to cause grief to the public…We’re just the same as any other person.” After all, “You can’t help who you fall in love with, or who you are attracted to.”

Puppy Play

To say that “things have changed” rapidly across America over the past couple of generations would be a massive understatement. While it is easy to make lots of jokes about this sort of behaviors, our intention is to get people to understand clearly just how quickly and radically our culture is shifting. Huge segments of our society are completely discarding traditional notions of morality and are engaging in behaviors and activities that our grandparents never even would have imagined.

Now, more than ever before, there is a strong and real need for the Church to be involved and be apart of the community around them. Christians must find a way to “love their neighbors as themselves” and be true salt and light to a world desperately seeking answers.