Rubberfiend: What is the difference between puppies and furries?

This post is part 2 of 4 in the series Differences Between Puppies & Furries.

We are going to continue with the discussion of the differences between pup play and furries by hearing from another pup friend of mine, rubberfiend. He was one of the very first pups I ever played with as a Trainer, and since that time, he has remained one of the most special pups I have met. He has a heart of gold and a great way of articulating his thoughts on his kink, so I wanted to share with you all his thoughts.

 

rubberfiend

rubberfiendI vividly remember the first time I let out my inner puppy.

I was on all fours, wearing a skintight pewter-colored latex catsuit, and had just been commanded to bark. Not a half-assed, onomatopoeic bark that people utter as an imitation of the real vocalizations of a dog, but a REAL bark; one that could only come from some primitive, instinctual part of the brain. Now, I can’t say that my first attempt was entirely successful–the truth is, it was actually pretty lousy. I let out a meek, still-too-human “bark,” while trying to stifle my nervous, self-conscious laughter.

The realization that my snickering signified that I hadn’t really let go of my inhibitions and insecurities helped me to overcome them. Soon enough, I was barking like I meant it, because I really DID mean it.

*WWRRRRUFF!!* And that was the moment I truly became a pup.

Now, I don’t mean to say that being a pup is about achieving an accurate rendition of a dog’s bark, or that a pup is defined by what he wears or even how he behaves. Pup play is an intensely personal and ultimately individually variable experience, one that means different things to different pups. So I can only speak for myself.

More recently, this puppy has become interested in the “furry fandom”– a rather eclectic group of individuals, many of whom seem to share similar traits to my personal understanding of pup play. And several other pups have also noticed the parallels, so it seems only natural to ask what distinguishes the two. But owing to the very diverse notions of what is “furry” and what is “puppy,” it’s not something we can expect to reasonably pin down–nor should we try.

I identified myself as gay before I understood I was also kinky. I identified myself as kinky before I understood I was also a pup. And I identified as a pup before I understood I am also, to some extent, a fur. Like the proverbial story of the blind men and the elephant, all of these terms are simply different aspects to the entirety of who I am, different ways for me to relate to the world, and for the world to relate to me. Yet they remain distinct concepts–I don’t conflate “pup” and “furry” any more than one should confuse “gay” and “kinky”– after all, there are vanilla gays, and kinky straights. And there are those like me–gay and kinky. I trust that a Venn diagram is not a required visual aid for this discussion.

To me, what ultimately distinguishes the notions of “puppy play” and “furry fandom”–other than the fact that furs don’t necessarily identify with canids–is that puppy play is, at its core, about wanting to relate to and express oneself in a particular way to another individual. That individual might be described as a “handler,” “owner,” “master,” or “alpha,” but the relationship fundamentally remains along the lines of “I am devoted to and endeavor to obey you, and in return, you treat me with kindness and respect for the trust I have placed in you.” It is a manifestation of the dominance/submission dynamic, yet in a way that is not centered about punishment and reward but rather affection, encouragement, and loyalty.

By contrast, a fur need not view anthropomorphism, or their spiritual identification as an animal, as being defined by how they desire the guidance and love of another. A furry fox or cat may even view themselves as being fiercely independent, for instance. A fur’s path to self-understanding generally tends toward a much greater focus on the real animal species; a furry wolf might have started collecting various iconographic representations of wolves (photographs, drawings, stuffed animals, figurines, etc.) from an early age, and the desire to be like a wolf is the goal in itself, rather than in the case of pup play, where the puppy behavior is a vehicle for relating to a human “owner.”

However, there’s a lot of overlap, and I think that there is far more that unites pups and furs than what sets us apart. Many (but not all) of us carry a sexual component with respect to our self-identified natures. We are nearly universally interested in the pleasure of feeling free of societal expectations as well as the self- consciousness and introspection of being human. We yearn to bring out a spirit of playfulness that would otherwise be suppressed for fear of being ridiculed or despised. And of course, we each identify with a type of animal instinct, whether as a metaphor for expressing ourselves, or out of a belief that we are an animal trapped in human form.

Sadly, perhaps the one thing that pups and furs share most in common is the perception among the ignorant that we are deviant and therefore only worthy of scorn. Even worse, there are those in each group that holds prejudices against the other, which, if it were possible, makes even less sense. For we should be more united and accepting and mutually understanding of each other, because we are in fact very much alike as I have pointed out here.

Life has far more potential to be meaningful than to waste it on despising what you don’t understand, worrying constantly about what others might think of you, and letting yourself be discouraged from exploring who you truly are inside. That’s the secret to making your bark genuine.

 

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One Response to Rubberfiend: What is the difference between puppies and furries?

  1. boundinrubber March 18, 2010 at 4:50 AM #

    Great post pup :)

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