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The pet play lifestyle is full of so many voices that make it unique and vibrant. To showcase this, every month we will be shining the spotlight on a particular human animal or Handler in our community. Let's hear what makes every pet player special! This month, we chatted with a kitten all the way in Richmond, Virginia, who we had the pleasure of meeting at DomCon LA during the Animal International competition. She was the runner-up, and we knew her story needed to be shared! Introducing...

AVA ATILLES!


Please introduce yourself and how you identify in pet play

Hai! My name is Ava Antilles and I use She/Her pronouns. I identify as a street cat turned pampered princess. I still have my rebellious side and will fight and defend my pack if I need to.


How did you find your pet identity, and what does it mean to you?

I’m not really certain there was a specific “aha” moment for me. I went to college to pursue a degree in theatre and in one of my acting classes we did an animal role play exercise (I was a tiger I believe). It certainly didn’t titalate me in the same way that pet play and animal role play do now, but I really felt like the animal and was able to immerse myself into that body. After that though I didn’t touch animal role-play for several years, I brushed it off as an acting exercise.

Several years later, I realized that something that had always been inside me really wanted to come out and live in the real world. I realized that all that playing dress up as a kid meant something to me. I realized I was Trans. It wasn’t easy at first and the process of becoming my true self took about a year or so. This is when I started revisiting Pet Play. My current partner (then a brand new partner) acted out a spontaneous pet grooming scene with me, at my request, and I was in love with the concept. We didn’t act out any scenes for awhile after that, but she soon purchased me my first collar and I got goosebumps. I’ve been hooked and only dived deeper into it as time has gone on.



What are your favorite activities as a pet?

I absolutely LOVE to snuggle at my handler’s feet while she’s working on her computer or on her art. I purr when she scratches my head. I’m also now hooked on obedience training (complete with punishment and reward); up until this last spring 2022 DomCon, I didn’t realize how much I needed that in my life.


What, if any, special gear/outfit especially connects you to your pet self?

I have several outfits that I feel comfortable wearing in public as a kitty, but I have a particular curated outfit that makes me feel most at home. I wear my white ears, put on gold and pink eyeshadow, complete with cat eye eyeliner, a crushed velvet crop tank, a bright pink pleated skirt, a thong of some kind with a plug tail hanging down, white thigh highs (if I’m at home they’re my white thigh highs with toe beans attached to the bottom of them), my doc Martin heels, and of course my pale pink collar, wrist restraints, and leash, complete with rose gold hardware.



How, if at all, do your intersections of identity influence your pet play?

I feel like I wasn’t able to explore pet play fully (or really at all) until I actually started to accept myself for the woman I am. I believe that my kitty persona is an extension of myself that is intrinsic to the way I view myself as that woman. I’m able to feel fully confident in doing what makes ME feel good. Being so bold and existing in public as my kitty persona helps me feel bold and confident enough in just being who I am in the rest of my life. It truly reminds me to do what makes me happy.


What advice do you have for pet players struggling to express themselves in areas without a large pet play community?

I would absolutely say take your time to discover yourself, first and foremost, pet/animal play isn’t a race (and shouldn’t be). Once you find what makes you tick, dive deeper in your personal spaces, but also remember, that thing can change and morph, AND THAT’S OK. Also.. remember to trust your closest friends.


Lastly, keep yourself safe; something that really helped me feeling comfortable in being publicly trans and a kitty was learning to how defend myself, and that it’s ok to defend yourself. Not everyone has to be, or desires to be public though and the internet is fantastic for expressing yourself while still existing in your personal space.



What do you love most about pet play?

Honestly? I think I love how freaking cute it makes me look. We agree! :)



To keep up with this feline cutie, follow her on Instagram @ms_ava_antilles

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The pet play lifestyle is full of so many voices that make it unique and vibrant. To showcase this, every month we will be shining the spotlight on a particular human animal or Handler in our community. Let's hear what makes every pet player special! This month, we loved chatting with a bubbly Shiba Inu puppy and occasional kitten, who we are often lucky to have bootblack at our events! Introducing...

OWL!


Please introduce yourself and how you identify in play.

My name is Owl (yes, like the bird)! My pronouns are she/they, and I primarily play as a shiba inu.


I'm a very energetic pup with a bubbly personality, and I'm extremely loyal. I also make a ton of weird noises in classic shiba fashion. I also sometimes play as a clever black kitten, but the kitty only comes out when I'm feeling bratty... or someone puts a krinkle ball in front of me.


How did you first get into pet play and discover your animal identities?

I had always grown up pretending to be an animal whenever I would play pretend with my friends. Turtles on the beach trying to run into the ocean, horses in a rodeo, wolves in the woods - it was kind of always in me. I remember seeing a YouTube video in college, specifically about a pet play group in LA, that brought pet play as a thing adults could do to my attention. I ended up finding the group and went completely alone to my first pet event. It ended up being the most fun I had ever had, and I was hooked and attending as many events as I could ever since!

I had a lot of trouble figuring out my pet identity at first. A lot of the research I was doing made it seem that only men could be pups, and women had to be cats (this was before I knew I was genderqueer), so I initially entered pet play as a kitten. I had some fun with the identity, but it never fully felt like me. For a long time, I constantly switched between kitten, puppy, and fox, basing what pet I was on my current mood, but I longed for one identity I could really attach to. Pup felt the most right, so I ended up researching a ton of breeds, and ended up discovering that shibas lined up really well with my personality, and I've never looked back!



What are your favorite activities as a pet?

My all-time favorite activity is obedience training! I also absolutely love romping around with other pets, performing and competing (like in Puppypalooza), and hunting. I looooove hunting! Anything that's energetic and fun!

What helps you get into your headspace?

I'd like to think my puppy persona is a perpetual part of me. I frequently catch myself doing puppy-like things in my day to day life, or with my loved ones (ask any of my partners and they would agree haha). To get into a specific pet play mindset though, all it takes is putting on my gear and I'm instantly transported into pup-mode. I suddenly want all the head scritches and treats, and could run around on all fours all day!



How, if at all, does your interest in service intersect with pet play?

My service-y nature is very integral to who I am as a person, with it even leaking into my vanilla life, so it's no surprise that it makes its way into my pet space as well. Dogs being naturally obedient, aim-to-please animals is the main reason why I identify as a pup. My dog persona wants to make my handler happy, and do whatever they say. It's also a large reason I love obedience training so much. I recently had a scene where my handler used a foreign language to train me, and their excitement when I would finally understand their command makes me feel truly fulfilled and happy as a pup. I'm always aiming to please!



What do you love most about pet play?

Absolutely the sense of escapism it provides, which I'm sure is a reason for a lot of people haha. Life is so stressful and hard, especially now, and I think we all need a way to get out of our heads and be in the moment. That just happens to be pet play for me. I always so free and unbothered, especially when I'm romping around with friends, it's just the best place to be!


To keep up with this rambunctious pup, follow them on Instagram @owloccult!



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The pet play lifestyle is full of so many voices that make it unique and vibrant. To showcase this, every month we will be shining the spotlight on a particular human animal or Handler in our community. Let's hear what makes every pet player special! This month, we woofed with an amazing Italian Greyhound pup and dragon! We adore the infectious energy, playfulness, and ceaseless wiggles they bring into our community. We're sure you'll fall in love, too. Introducing...

ARSEEUS!


Please introduce yourself, your pronouns, and how you identify in pet play.

Hello! My name is Arseeus! My pronouns are he/they and I identify as a non-binary queer person who plays predominately as a puppy and recently new, a dragon. I am shy at first but once I get to know you, I will not leave your side for some pets and snacks!

How did you discover your pet play identity?

I discovered my pet play identity about 2 years ago when a puppy by the name of Pup Star Orion approached me at a leather bar on an autumn evening. He asked me if I wanted to try on his leather bull terrier hood; I had never tried any hood. While I was curious, I had declined his offer. Fast forward a few weeks to the weekend of the LA Pup competition, where Pup Star Orion was competing. I attended a mosh at a leather bar where one of the LA PUP events was being held. There, I had the first chance to mosh and pup out as a puppy and realize that I enjoyed it quite a lot!



What are your favorite pet play activities?

My favorite pet play activities are wrestling with other animals, playing tug o war, ball pit, napping, ripping stuffed animals, humping and being a cuddly lap dog.

How, if at all, do your intersections of identity influence your pet play?

As someone who identifies as a Mexican-American queer demisexual non-binary person with chronic illness, I find myself looking and wanting to be a part and serve similar communities. Because of my heritage, religion was a huge part of my upbringing and made it difficult at first to explore kink and bdsm.

Pet play allowed me to dive into kink and bdsm in a slow and safe pace for myself without the feeling of guilt or shame. Being around other people that understand and not having to explain myself definitely allows me to be more vulnerable in pup space.



What is it like being a Beta to an Alpha/mentor pup? How did that relationship come about?

For me, being a Beta in a Beta-Alpha relationship means being there for my Alpha and my Alpha being there for me. My Alpha makes me feel safe, reassures me and guides me in exploration of myself through BDSM, kink and in vanilla settings.


My Alpha, who also happened to be the first puppy who introduced me to pet play, Pup Star Orion, and I were spending a lot of time together in moshes and events prior to the pandemic. It only felt right that we wanted to take the next step and make it official. I had the privilege and honor to have been asked by Pup Star Orion to be his Beta puppy after a few months and accepting was the best decision I could have ever made for myself.

I Love you Orion!



What does being in a pack mean to you?

I love being in a pack, especially an all-inclusive Transgender pack. I love being surrounded by love, care and people who are similar and understand me. It’s being in a family without the hardships of being ridiculed for the way one is or the things we enjoy. A pack is a family that was created by like minded people to have a safe space to enjoy our passions, ourselves and each other.

Shout out to the Ruckus Pack!!


What do you love most about pet play?

What do I love most about pet play? Gawrsh there's so much I love about it! I think the thing I love the most about pet play is the affection I receive from just existing. I think a lot of us feel that we must serve or give up something in order to receive or deserve love. Pet play has taught me that regardless of our past, our errors and our flaws, we are worthy of love, freedom and vulnerability.


Want to keep up with Arseeus? Follow them on Instagram @pup_arseeus

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