"Bring your pup gear with you this evening."
I re-read the text a few times to be sure I read it right. I was at work and would be going with my leather family, Red_Dragons, Connoisseurs and slaveboy4FDomme to the Lair that evening after work.
I had a momentary flutter in my stomach: a mixture of excitement and fear that perhaps my gear was not in the trunk of my car where it should be. A month or so ago, Red_Dragons had instructed me to bring my pup gear along anytime I was coming over or we were headed to an event, just in case an opportunity presented itself for us to do some pup play. Upon receiving that instruction, I had placed all my gear, including the clothes I normally pup out in, into the trunk of my car so I would not forget it. After making sure I read the text correctly, I went out to my car just to be sure the pup gear really was all there. Relieved, I texted back that I had my gear with me.
The momentary fear of forgetting my pup stuff was not because I would potentially lose the opportunity to pup out, but rather, it was because I somehow knew I would have disappointed Red_Dragons if I had not followed through on the instruction my Trainer had previously given to me. I would have felt terrible if I had disappointed my Trainer, particularly so early - just a couple of months - into establishing our pup/Trainer dynamic.
I had been surprised that I was being asked to bring along my pup gear because we were also bringing along fetish clothes that night to take some leather family photos. Much of the evening was taken up with photo stuff and changing outfits, yet I was very happy to spend the time with all of them. Connoisseurs looked stunning!
As the evening got late, I was not sure if Red_Dragons would still want to do any pup play. I was doing my best not to get my hopes up. Finally, after the photos were done, I was sent off to change clothes and get my pup gear. Fortunately, there were not that many people in attendance that evening, so we were able to take over one room for pup play. I suspect being able to barricade any exits helped ensure Red_Dragons would not have to worry about trying to catch an AWOL pug.
What was unnerving was that a few folk also came into the room to sit down and watch. I found myself feeling really nervous about this. There are crowds of people that watch the puppy moshing at IML yet there are many pups scampering around, not just me. I have certainly had people watch me in full pup mode when I have done pup presentations in the past yet this was different since this was also the very first time for Red_Dragons and myself to interact with me in full pup mode. I found myself feeling very self-conscious. Pup play, for me is a time of allowing a very vulnerable aspect of me to come to light. It is a place of innocence and going into full pup mode feels as if I take my heart out and put it on a platter for all to see. It can be scary to expose that very innocent side. It is the reason I need to have a strong foundation of trust and comfort with a Handler/Trainer who is willing to ensure a safe space will be maintained. The Handler/Trainer is my connection between the human and pup world and it allows me the opportunity to go far deeper into the pup headspace since I know I am safe with this trusted individual willing to watch out for me and ensure I am kept physically and emotionally safe.
I let Red_Dragons know I was feeling nervous about this and he offered me reassurance that it would be fine. I needed that reassurance. Since this was Red_Dragons first time to handle me in full pup mode, I was also a bit worried that he might discover that he was bored by pup play and might not want to be my Trainer/Handler after all. He has done nothing to cause that feeling, it is simply my own stuff. I feel like the moment I fully accept this might really be a long-term thing that it will be pulled out from under me. I know these are simply my own fears and insecurities, yet it is a challenge to let go of the fear. Still, while I acknowledge there is fear, it does not stop me from willingly opening up to this opportunity.
I sat down and began to put on my pup gear and do some focused breathing to try and clear away all the distracting thoughts. I had previously discussed with my Trainer what steps are usually taken to shift me in and out of pup mode. I call these steps 'signposts': they help me to physically and emotionally understand that it is safe and welcoming for the pug pup to come out of the internal kennel or to go back in.
Red_Dragons secured my paws in place and then I felt him place the pup collar around my neck and heard it >click<. I breathed deeply and exhaled. My human self was struggling to let go, nervous about the people that were there watching. I allowed myself to take several more deep breaths: inhaling and exhaling. Breathe deeply to let go of the human-ness. Breathe again to encourage the pup to come out. Inhale and exhale to shoo away the distraction of human frailty and mixed emotions. Breathe deeply and exhale again to nudge the pup further out.
My nosed twitched. The pup was there and tentatively emerging from the internal kennel. This was a foreign space to the pup and even the Trainer was new to the pup though, feeling very familiar. I know some people won't get this. Of course as a human I know my Trainer, yet there is an absolute energy shift for me when I delve into full pup mode and I perceive and respond to my surroundings in a very different way than I would as a human. Red_Dragons and I had been building a level of comfort and trust with one another over the past few months through our human interactions and so, while the pug pup in full pup mode had never interacted with this human as her Handler or Trainer, that sense of familiarity enabled the pug pup to sense this was someone familiar and safe and that this was the alpha of her pack.
The pug began sniffing around I think. I say I think, because it is often difficult for me to recall what goes on when I am in full pup mode. I will remember parts of it and there will be chunks of time I don't recall at all. So the pug pup began to sniff and gain some familiarity with her surroundings.
There was a blur of scampering here and there after toys. I remember Connoisseurs getting on the floor to play with the pug and toss toys for her. Somehow a pug made off with one of Connoisseurs shoes and apparently left a few chew marks on them. ::innocent pug look:: Now, in all fairness, from what I am told, she was taunting the puggie by holding out one shoe to the pug and teasing her with it. Somehow the pug got a hold of the other shoe which Connoisseurs did not notice until too late.
slaveboy4FDomme had recently gotten some new boots and, apparently as a precaution, had taken them off and hid them in a different room to avoid a pug's boot interest!
I was told I dragged out someone's purse from under a chair and at some point I also ended up with a feather in my mouth that had been on the floor. Being in full pup mode truly is a shift of perception and response for me because, believe me, in human headspace I do not place strange objects that are randomly laying about the floor into my mouth!
I recall the Trainer's voice calling me a few times and I think he may have tried to get the pug to drop an item. I do remember chomping on his bootlace and having a mouthful of lace and not being scolded for it! ::curly tail wagging:: I know there was some tug o'war with toys and racing in circles. I think there were tummy rubs and I am fairly certain there was some head petting as well. As I said, it becomes a blur... like a dream sequence at times. One of the best feelings was to put my chin up on my Trainer's knee and hear a happy tone in his voice. I can't recall anything actually being said, but it felt like he was pleased with the pup. For me, so much of being a pup is what is sensed, rather than thought out in human words. To sense that the alpha, the Trainer/Handler, is pleased brings tremendous happiness to the pup.
There came a point when I felt my paws being taken off and the feel of remembering my fingers. The Trainer rubbed my hands and separated the fingers, reminding me I had hands. The collar came off as well. I know I breathed deeply as I tried to focus on my fingers. As the pup went back into the internal kennel and the human-ness came back into full consciousness, I found myself feeling emotionally exposed and extremely vulnerable. Everyone else had apparently left the room except for Red_Dragons who waited patiently for me to fully shift back into human mode. He was encouraging and did not try to rush me through this experience, which I was grateful for.
When I finally gained enough composure, I looked up at him and he smiled as he told me he had enjoyed it. I felt so much relief. I suppose part of me was waiting for him to say that he realized it wasn't his cup of tea after all and that he did not want to do it again. I was comforted to hear him say he had actually had fun.
As for this Pug, it was definitely a good experience. Red_Dragons did a great job handling the pup and it furthered my sense of trust in his abilities as a Trainer and Handler.
I am definitely looking forward to more opportunities to allow the pup to fully come out again.