July 2020 Creature Feature - Daddy Row!
Updated: Aug 2, 2021
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 are honored to feature a beacon in the pet play and leather community. The worthy recipient of the Mx Cruise LA Leather 2020 title (the first LA-based Mx title), this skilled Handler brings warmth to every room he enters. He has done so much to encourage diversity in the pet play community, centering QTIPOC pets. We know you will be just as inspired by him as we are...
Please introduce yourself and how you identify in pet play.
Rogelio Ruckus here! aka: Daddy Row. My pronouns are he/him and I’m a pup handler, trainer, and keeper of the treats.
How did you first get into pet play?
When I was around 16, I saw pups at an outdoor fetish festival of some sort. Prior to that, all my earlier memories surrounded bio-dogs. A close family friend was a dog breeder (gross), so I was often around new puppies. I loved the care, attention, and training they required.
Observing the pup-players that day felt eerily familiar. That brief moment fueled my desire to seek mentorship around 18 with an elder in the pet play community. By the time I was 21 or so, I began taking on my own pups, developing my own training style and techniques and looking beyond the white-cis-gay-male dominated landscape that was in front of me.
Now, I mentor emerging handlers, provide show prep and high protocol training, foster pups, and host QTBIPOC moshes... and the rest, I guess, is history.
How would you describe your Handler/training style? I truly believe that my style is reflective of my childhood. I approach pet-players in the community from a bio-lens. The techniques, commands, and signs I use to train my bio-dogs are similar to those I require of my pups. In that sense, I truly adore the loyalty, mutual respect, and love that can manifest through disciplined, thorough (and often silly) training and connection. I find that both relationships aid each other.
Of course, affirming, safe, and validating experiences will always vary from pet-player to pet-player. Personally, I enjoy taking species, breed, and temperament into consideration of every interaction/session I have with a pet. What does the breed in front of me require? What kind of training does this animal respond to and how has their experiences shaped their temperament? I'm of the opinion that a handler comes with the tools, techniques, and commands, but how they're put to action will vary based on the needs of the animal in front of you. We truly are adapting and learning with O/our pet. While I am most definitely a bit of a firm trainer, that never takes precedence to the pets needs. If you show me you can do the work, I too adapt with you. Trust will always get more slack on the leash to romp.
What do you value in a pet?
What I value in a personal pet varies based on my own desires, capacity, and needs, but at a baseline what I value in a pet tends to already be visible just in their existence (especially so for QTBIPOC pets). Beyond that, I love a pet who enjoys to train, show off a bit, play, snuggle, and is highly responsive. Having a pet for me is like having my dachshund. Zero provides companionship, laughs, and goofiness to my life -- something I often need as someone with PTSD and trauma.
What inspired you to create your QTBIPOC pet moshes?
Simply, the landscape (but this is a much longer answer).
At 16, I encountered 1 AFAB pet-player. It was another 10 years before I met another trans-pet-player of color. At Folsom 2019, it took 3 days for my pup to meet another Black pup (the last hour of the mosh).
I won't do the "things are changing" song and dance based on the crumbs we get. Rather I will say, the continued feeling of hoping you'll look around a mosh and see someone who looks like you is prevalent. The continued wonder if you or your pet is safe in these spaces is the reality for QTBIPOC pet-players. STILL.
QTBIPOC folks deserve a space that is theirs, a space where they are reflected by not one, but in beautiful abundance. Even when/if moshes are equitably representative, I hope QTBIPOC, Black only, etc moshes will exist. These spaces are important. QTBIPOC joy is important and spaces that center our joy are sacred. It's a privilege to hold these moshes and provide the space for so many first time pet-players who wouldn't have gone otherwise. I started these moshes to take my focus back to where it should always be: My community, who is most often thrown to the margins of kink/leather culture.
What advice do you have for pet players looking for their place in the community? I cannot reiterate this enough, "You are my community".
There are so many ideas of what a pet player looks like and some kind of mythical-social-quantum you need to have to be considered an "actual" member of the community. These ideas are classist, abilist, racist, and transphobic; designed to keep us from entering the community all together. We are here. We have always been here.
My advice is this, start small and find folks you can trust. I waited years to enter the LA scene for a complexity of reasons. I mean, when anyone thinks of Los Angeles, they don't think tiny venues and open arms (maybe it's just me). Find 1 amazing person! Every person I know today started with one. Fuck, reach out to me! Now you have one.
However you choose to find your vision of community, I hope you know that you're valid with or without the garb, in and out of leather spaces, and yes, even at home. I love a good home pet! Community is here and we have...treats.
What do you love most about pet play? Is it corny to say "everything"? Generally, folks will catch me in some random corner of moshes, just looking out into the ruckus and romping (likely ignoring my pup whining over cookies). What I love is as simple as that: the authenticity to follow that urge, that passion, the desire that brings so many folks into their pet-self. I don't just adore the kind of vulnerability it takes to allow our adult selves to access these parts of minds and bodies, but I'm constantly in awe of it. There is something truly special about pet-play. Our entire life, imagination and wonder is conditioned out of us. I'm of the opinion that through pet-play, we reclaim the most beautiful and sacred parts of ourselves that may have been lost for a long, long time. Even if we only get this freedom for moments in our week. That's some beautiful shit.
To keep up with Daddy Row and find out about his upcoming moshes, classes, or other events, follow him on Instagram @daddypapimxster.