These Men Who Want to Live As Dogs May Be the Only Sane People Left

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Human pups
Human pupsPhoto: Richard Ansett/Channel 4

Secret Life of Human Pups, a new documentary premiering on Channel 4 in the U.K. on Wednesday night, explores the world of grown men who want to be dogs. Less, well, furry, than Furries, they dress in latex and leather dog costumes and have relationships with human handlers. Though pup play was BDSM-adjacent when it began, its enthusiasts say that it’s not always a matter of sex — sometimes they just want to be dogs.

On the promotional page for the documentary, Channel 4 asks, “why do they covet doggy treats, belly rubs, and squeaky toys?”

The real question is: Why don’t we all want that? In the Golden Age of Pet Obsession, domestic dogs live incredibly cushy lives. They don’t have to go to work or agonize over all sorts of human problems — they don’t even have a sense of the future. (That’s right — your dog has absolutely no idea that Donald Trump might become president or that bees are dying globally at an alarming rate.) They eat, shit, and, in the greatest power play of all, have someone immediately pick up said shit. My dog sleeps 16 hours a day — 16 hours! I’m lucky if I can get through a few hours without being jolted awake by some latent anxiety — and nobody rubs my belly on demand.

The Guardian spoke to some of the participants in Secret Life, including David, who goes by BootBrush. He says, “Puppy play is exactly that — play. There is an immense amount of pleasure from gambolling around in a club playing with squeaky toys because you’re making people laugh, you’re being a cute little puppy.”

Yeah, sure. Sounds great.