Friday, September 7, 2001

Woof! A Dog’s Life

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #164, September 7, 2001, special pet section)

It’s a charming scene: A dog and his master return from their evening walk. While the master sits in his easy chair by the fireplace, the dog dutifully fetches the master’s slippers. Then the dog lies down by the fire and lays his head on his master’s lap. His master lovingly pats the dog’s head and they both drift off to sleep. Next morning, his master fills the dog dish, the dog eats breakfast and then heads for his job as a corporate-events planner.

Welcome to the “dog play” or “puppy play” section of the leather/BDSM community, where studded leather collars and leashes take on whole new dimensions.

If the idea of getting into the role and headspace of a dog doesn’t suit you, pick another animal. Dog play is popular with gay men, and so is (what else?) pig play, while pony play is more popular with the pansexual BDSM community. Or maybe you’ve always been fascinated by unicorns—what would it feel like to be one?

If this all seems strange, consider that much of BDSM is built around role-playing and fantasy, of which animal play is just another flavor. It can be enjoyable to experience “a dog’s life” for awhile—nothing to do but nap, frolic on the lawn and just spend time being faithful and adorable. And there’s a shamanistic element for some animal players: what qualities does this animal want to teach them?

It should be noted that we are concerned with role-playing by consenting adult humans here, not with exploitation of real four-legged animals. Bestiality is never condoned or tolerated by the BDSM community because it violates the safe-sane-consensual rule (animals are by definition unable to give consent).

For more information visit, or just type “BDSM dog play” into your web search engine.

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