'T' Time for a Pug
Written by: slave pug, Summer 2002

" What does that mean - ' tame ' ? "
" It is an act too often neglected, " said the fox. " It means to establish ties. "
" ' To establish ties ' ? "
" Just that, " said the fox. "...if you tame me, then we shall need each other.
To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world..."
" One only understands the things that one tames, " said the fox.

~ Antoine De Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

this pug has finally put paw to keyboard once again to share more of her pup tail ...er ...tale.

When Two slave Paths Collide

For those who are not familiar with me, i am a female slave in a primarily gay male leather family. i also happen to be a pug pup. *wagging curly tail and snortling While most pups bark or woof, a pug is apt to make *snortle noises. Why? Because that's what a pug does! *snortle

In March 2002, i was introduced to a new slave brother that joined O/our leather family: slave robert. It surprised me when he mentioned that he had actually read one of my pug pup writings on the internet. we didn't interact much that first weekend: mainly some polite, friendly discussion. Yet there was one incident during that first weekend that stood out about slave robert: it occurred while we were attending a workshop about whips and i found myself going into a light pup space...

The words started to jumble as my attention was drawn to a pair of tennis shoes left under the table i was sitting next to. Hmm... unattended tennis shoes plus an unattended pug pup equals... chew toy for the pug pup! *curly tail wagging happily As i rested on all fours under the table, gnoshing on an edge of my newly-acquired chew toy, a human figure came over and kneeled down near me. Uh oh... a pug pup was a bit cautious since she knows humans are fond of stealing the chew toys that a pug works so hard at discovering. Humans can be so silly: they steal all the neat chew toys that a pup finds yet they never even chew on them! Not even one bite! *shaking puggish head in confusion

This pug continued to gnosh firmly on the tasty shoe as she peered up at the human male who didn't seem very familiar yet didn't seem to be a stranger. He made some noises in a soft voice at me: some jumbled sounds of "wahh wahhh... whaddyagotthere? ...wahh..." He seemed friendly, so a pug wagged her curly tail. Then he tugged at my chew toy! Being the ever-alert puggie, i kept my teeth firmly planted into the edge of that shoe, but i could sense the human was being playful so i wagged my curly tail more. He let the shoe go, gave me a few pets on the head and made some other jumbled sounds "...wahhh wahh likewahhhter?" i tilted my head not sure what to make of the human's sounds but my attention soon turned to a bowl of water the nice human set down for me. i lapped up a bit and then happily returned my focus to gnoshing on my prized toy.

Thinking about it later, i appreciated that slave robert had treated the pug pup like a four-legged pup instead of trying to get her to respond in human words and pull her out of that pup space.

At the end of the weekend i headed back to my home kennel in Southern California. Sometime later i received an e-mail from slave robert that he would be in Southern California on a business trip in mid-May. When slave brother came to town, a pug played leather guide pup as she showed him some of the local places that a pug sniffs about. i introduced him to some of the local leatherfolk including my wonderful Guardian Handler, Daddy Nick, who was managing a local leather bar at that time. Nowadays i rarely get to see Daddy Nick. *lets out a pathetic puggie howl *oooWoOooOOooo-snortle

It was fun to have slave robert visit that weekend and get to know him a little better yet it was still just the polite friendly interactions of slave siblings just starting to get to know one another. His visit wasn't anything particularly special for either one of us yet after he left, subsequent events led us to write a lot of e-mails to one another and i began to feel a strong brother/sister type of bond develop between us.

The Dog Days of Summer

July rolled around and it happened that almost O/our entire leather family attended Thunder in the Mountains: a wonderful leather event held in Denver, Colorado. During the second night of the event, our Master put slave robert in charge of Handling this pug while she was in full puppy mode in the dungeon. *snortle While the pug pup had a leash on, she still broke away a few times to go sniffing at boots and sticking a curious pug nose into the occasional open toy bag. *curly tail wag Poor slave brother! Master Skip and Pup Tim were also in the dungeon, with Pup Tim in full pup mode: or 'pupping out' as Pup Tim prefers to call it. One area of the dungeon had plastic sheeting laid down and was filled with a pile of foam bricks that called to a pup's spirit: at one time both Pup Tim and the pug were romping among the foam bricks. a pug tumbled and burrowed under bricks, then sniffed at Pup Tim and was given the courtesy of a territorial growl so she let her curiosity draw her to some other distraction. Even pugs sometimes realize when not to cross an Alpha Pup's turf! After all, i'm a clueless pug: not a pup who wants to be put to sleep! *snortle-humph! After a bit more foam brick romping a pug was let off the leash for a bit and scampered off nosing about and *snortling here and there.

A few days after the event when slave robert and i had a chance to talk about the pup play experience, he told me that at one point the pug pup had almost scampered right into the midst of a single tail scene in progress. i had been oblivious to most of the play and human interaction going on in the dungeon while i was in full pup mode. That situation eventually led to some discussion of the T word: Training. ACK! *paws covering eyes and tail uncurling down between legs. Apparently a certain International Pup 2002 who will remain nameless, had suggested the 'T' concept to slave robert. It was a pug-spiracy, i tell you! *shaking a forepaw in the air

i need to clarify: as a slave in human mode, i honestly strive to be obedient and hope to follow whatever path of training my Master wishes. While a pug pup has a Guardian Handler, a pug has never had any training nor has anyone ever attempted to train her. a pug pup has been quite content with shredding newspapers, chewing on leather boots (or pretty much any footwear available) and causing general pug pandemonium. *snortling happily and wagging her curly tail But really, i'm not that bad of a pup!!! *wide, innocent pug eyes while laying on top of a pile of shredded newspapers

For people who have not seen a human go into full puppy mode, it can be a challenge to understand that, for many pups, pup play is not about *acting* like a pup: it is about *being* a pup. Pup play allows the pup from within to fully emerge and respond to its surroundings as a biological puppy would. Truthfully, when i am in full pup mode, there is a type of transcendence that occurs and there are times i do not remember much of what happened while i was in that headspace. i could pretend to act like a very obedient pup but that would mean i was allowing my human awareness to take over rather than allowing myself to genuinely *be* the pup and get to the point of having the pup trained to respond without human cognition of what is actually occurring. It may not make sense to others but i know the difference and that's what matters.

After much serious discussion, including slave brother raising some points that Pup Tim had brought up (gee, thanks Pup Tim! : p ) and that i had to begrudgingly agree with, and because slave robert and i had already developed such a solid bond of trust with one another, a pug agreed to explore the realm of... *deep breath pup training with her slave brother (with our Master's permission, of course). i admit: i was leery about the idea of pup training because, as most pups know, there just aren't that many humans who have enough time and interest to bond with a pup and be a Trainer.

pug and the 'T' Word

Yeah, yeah, i know: for any pup that might know this pug muzzle-to-muzzle: you are probably going into shock just seeing the word training in the same sentence as the word pug! In fact, knowing the wonderful men who run LeatherDOG.com and having had the honor and joy of co-presenting some pup play workshops with them, they know first-paw how a pug had turned her puggish nose and curly tail up at the mere mention of training a pug. So it was no surprise when this pug saw Sir Michael at the International Pup 2002 contest, that He tilted His head as He exclaimed in disbelief, "pug? Training? In the SAME sentence? Nawww." i believe i heard Sir Michael then mutter something about about voodoo and bodysnatchers... i dunno, kind of hard to understand humans when they go into a state of shock. *snortle-shrug i mean, after all, Sir Michael had even given in to letting this pug tug on His boot laces when He doesn't even allow His OWN pups, jef pup and boy chuck, to do that! *curly tail wag

Hypothetically speaking, IF... and i am not yet admitting that it is fully possible, but IF a pug ended up actually being trained, would she still be able to show muzzle at the venerated puppy moshing at IML? An even bigger question loomed: did this newfangled notion of a potentially trained pug mean she risked losing all those wonderful special perks she had worked so diligently at earning with her most adoring puggie head tilts, tenderest bootlace tuggings, most joyous of curly tail wags and her best innocent muzzle expressions??? It's a question that still haunts the recesses of this pug pup's mind... almost as haunting as wondering what she did with that last leather boot she acquired... hmmm *tilting pug head to one side with quizzical look of concentration and then an abrupt sneeze

Still, a pug agreed to be open and trusting of the process, so during my stay at my Master's home in August 2002, slave robert and i headed into Master's dungeon and, after some earnest discussion about expectations and the mindset, embarked on an exploratory session of pup play. This simple first session turned out to be a positive experience for the both of us: it gave us a chance to build a deeper bond of trust between us and to become more familiar with interacting as pup and Trainer.

It so happened that both slave robert and i were soon back at Master's home to participate in an advanced Butchmanns Academy weekend. There was no time for us to explore our pup training that weekend, yet our bond of trust and connection as slave brother/slave sister was furthered throughout that time. Before i left for home at the end of that weekend when i said goodbye to slave robert, i placed my pup collar in his hands and told him it was now his to hold onto and to determine when to use it with me if we should ever have time to further explore pup training. Just as with my slave collar, i have no heart to ever put a pup collar on myself. For myself, there was far more meaning in having my pup collar remain with him since it signified giving him, as my Trainer, final say on when the pup collar would be used and the pug pup allowed to fully emerge again. Giving him the collar was a means of formally acknowledging my trust and acceptance of him as my pup Trainer. i wasn't sure at the time if he understood the level of trust and meaning this offered gesture symbolized for me. Yet, i felt that he somehow would understand. i explained that, when he felt i had legitimately earned it and no sooner, he should place a tag of his choice on the collar. i think many pups can relate to feeling a sense of joy and pride in having a tag placed on their pup collar. While there was nothing stopping me from getting my own pup tag, it would not hold any meaning for me. i'm in no rush to get a tag nor is it my ultimate goal in this process: my goal is to do my best to remain open and accepting of this process and allow myself to learn and grow from an experience that the Universe has so obviously placed within my path.

What does our Master think of all this? It would seem our Master is highly amused at His masochistic slaves: at His slave girl, this pug, for agreeing to explore training with her slave brother, and at His slave boy, slave robert, for agreeing to be a pug's Trainer! It will be an interesting journey for both this pug pup and her Trainer. *snortle

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