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The Impact of Chanel 4’s Pet Play Documentary

A talk with ZentaiSpot and Brock about the Chanel 4 documentary.

The UK puppyworld seems to be in excitement at the moment. Yesterday Chanel 4 has broadcasted a documentary about pupplay. I felt the community has been a little nervous the last few days. Some have been unsettled others have been happily looking forward to it. The day after the documentary a lot of British newspaper and online magazines are talking about pets and handlers.

sadOsam has talked with ZentaiSpot and Brock about the impact of the documentary.

Pup ZentaiSpot

Pup Brock

MasterMarc: Hi puppies. Before we start to talk about the impact of this documentary could you tell our readers, what has been showed to the public on Chanel 4 and what do you think about the documentary?

Pup ZentaiSpot: On the Wednesday night, Channel 4 showed a documentary about the Secret Life of the Human Pups, which was a sensitive look into what we are as human puppys and our community. It touched on the aspects of why we do it and what enjoyment we get from it.

It also broached the subject of my relationship breakups along the way as I discovered who I am. The documentary was very sensitively done, and I am really pleased with how it turned out. What was also reassuring was how the public reacted so positively too.

Pup Brock: Hi again! What we’ve had here is a documentary dedicated to human pups, possibly the first time a mainstream television channel has done so.

It was essentially the story of one pup’s journey, supported by contributions from a number of other pups and handlers and friends.

Pups have been on TV before and previous documentaries have shown pups and pup play, but this time, pups have been the singular focus, with probably the most media scrutiny ever given to the world of pups and handlers.

What we saw was a glimpse into a few aspects of the world of human pups. We saw some personal sharing from a few pups on what it means to them and what’s involved, we saw some of the Handler/pup relationship demonstrated and explained, we saw a few social pup events, we saw major pup events including Mr Puppy UK and especially Mr Puppy Europe which are the two biggest title contests in the pup world here, and we saw some of the personality of Zentai Spot who’s the current titleholder of Mr Puppy UK and who shared a lot about how being a pup has been meaningful and impactful upon his life.

MasterMarc: Do you think this documentary has shown the puppyworld in a good way or have they been making jokes about it?

Pup ZentaiSpot: The documentary showed the UK puppy community in a very warm and lovable light. There were no underhand jokes from the narrator. As the documentary was done very sympathetically, the public have warmed to us.

Yes there have been a bit of negativity – but no matter what the subject of a documentary is (it could even be as simple as gardening!) there will always be someone who finds fault in what was shown.

Pup Brock: Overall, I think they’ve shown us in a good light. Obviously, there have been a few jokes here and there, most of them light-hearted. And in general, it seems clear they’re not poking fun at pups but laughing with pups, which is good.

After all, some jokes were inevitable, and possibly even helpful if it helps people see this as light and fun.

One thing I found they did, which I was quite encouraged by, was to portray pups as human – with all the emotions of humanity – rather than simply caricatures. They showed pups demonstrating love, fear, care, anxiety, joy, release, and simple happiness through their puppy play.

I think that may have made it all the more real for the audience, and perhaps helped the audience connect to the real, living, feeling human being beneath the pup mask. It would have been easy to portray pups as nothing more than men in costume, but what I think they’ve done is shown the emotional side of puppy play. And I think that’s really important.

MasterMarc: Publicity is a way to earn more acceptance for pup play but it is a double-edged sword. As more visible as you are as more people talk about and in the mass you’ll always find people who will attack and offend you – with good but also with stupid and intollerant arguments and statements. Do you think it is good, that mainstream media are talking about pup play now?

Pup ZentaiSpot: I don’t have any concerns now having brought puppy play into the mainstream public eye. I was very nervous before the programme was shown, as it could have gone horribly wrong and cause huge grief to the community and my personal life.

We were told as it was being filmed that it would be done carefully and sensitively and the final programme wouldn’t be seedy –

The film crew and the producers kept to their word…. this in turn has lead to loads of positives on social media and main stream media. I’m glad we are being talked about as it means I can be “pup and proud” in public.

Pup Brock: When it comes to publicity and visibility, truth will out. Truth will always out. There will be people who come out with negative comments or even direct some actual negativity towards specific pups. But I firmly believe that the good will vastly outweigh the bad. Personally, I’ve already seen an outpouring of support, sympathy, and compassion, not only from pups and kinksters but also from “muggles” and even journalists.

I’ve seen hateful and ignorant comments being shot down, not by insiders but by outsiders who see the human puppy world as kind and fun.

Some people, regardless of what is said, will see pup play as freaky. Most, I believe, will see it for what it is: a harmless, delightful, occasionally silly, often adorable, loving, intimate, and joyful activity. That’s why I think it’s good that the media is talking about it. The more people realise who we are and what value there is in what we do, the better it will be for us.

If some people out there, who didn’t know a thing about human animal role play, try it as a result of this documentary and find they like or love it, then it’s done a good service to society.

MasterMarc: I think the most important impact of this medial “comming-out” is the fact, that it shows people who have this feelings inside themselves and they are confused about it, that they are not alone. We as gays have experiences with comming-outs, so that we should know, that it is mostly not easy to do this step but it is important to do it. Even if there are negative reactions at the end it makes our situation better. How do you see that? And what are other impacts of this documentary you see?

Pup ZentaiSpot: In this world you are nowadays accepted as being Gay / Bi / Lesbian etc, but there as still areas that have a taboo nature to them.

I feel that someone has to talk up and show the world that although it looks strange to be a human puppy, we are still normal people underneath.

If we can be accepted then it makes our community stronger and also breaks down the public taboo aspect (which when you look back at history is exactly the same reason why pride marches started – to show that gay people are just the same as any other person etc)

Pup Brock: If this documentary helps anyone either discover their own inner puppy, or come out publicly as a pup, and helps them do so meaningfully and with support and acceptance, then I think we’re all the better for it. Having something that’s an important part of your identity, but has to be kept hidden away from society for some reason, can be an unfortunate and often unpleasant situation, that can eat away at a person’s confidence and sense of self and identity.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with keeping something hidden and for some people that’s a useful and appropriate approach, but for many of us, hiding part of who we are diminishes us. For many of us, it’s important to be able to be open and proud, and for some of us, that means being “out” as human pups.

But coming out isn’t necessarily the goal, of course. There will be plenty of people out there who, though coming out won’t be the course of action for them, will be encouraged by seeing this documentary and the reaction to it. It may help some people settle into an identity, or a role, or even accept a certain part of themselves. And it may simply just bring joy to others. These are all useful.

MasterMarc: Last but not least, what is your message to the puppies who aren’t happy with this documentary?

Pup ZentaiSpot: If the documentary wasn’t for you, which I know there are some puppies who disagreed with what was said, just remember – 37minutes of TV time to try and explain the whole puppy world is no easy task. …

There are areas I would like to have seen covered – such as a bit more on the dynamics of ‘lovers’ and handlers and that you get other surrogate handlers at times…. but that would almost need it’s own 30 minutes to explain!

It’s a short look into our life that has done the community no harm in doing it – and if they had tried to explain any more of the dynamics in the programme then there wouldn’t have been enough info for the public to understand and thus the public would have made their own mind up and that could have caused a lot of confusion and negativity.

Pup Brock: The human puppy world is a diverse and welcoming place, full of varied opinions and beliefs, as is any society. One documentary won’t and can’t represent every aspect of our community, and we know that some significant aspects of the puppy world weren’t covered.

Don’t let that stop you from enjoying pup play however you want to. Don’t let that stop you from engaging in the community. Everyone deserves acceptance, and if your way of being a pup or engaging in puppy play works for you, then it’s just as valid as any other. You be you, and you’re welcome just as you are.

What do you think about the documentary? Leave a comment on the bottom of the page or write us an email team(a)

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