The first Fetch!London, a retrospective

Published 10 years ago

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Pet-play was previously an open niche, without a specific event for it in the UK. General fetish events, obviously, are open to pet-players, but the amount of play possible is strangled due to several reasons. Firstly, one has to expect non-pet-players to not quite 'get' it, meaning that a pet player must hold back somewhat on headspace, allowing more human thoughts of social interaction so as to work around such people. There's also the issue of having to know where your bum is, due to it not being automatic knowledge to not touch a butt-plug tail (an issue I've never faced due having my tail attached to my underwear instead).

Secondly, pet-play tends to take space. Puppies play fetch, wrestle other pet-players, wrestle each other, throw things to each other, then having spent all their energy take a nap not always in the most convenient of places. Again, the inner pup is held back in a general fetish event due to the need to not be too much of a pain in the arse to non-pet-players. When I pup, I want my attention to be on one thing: getting attention.

Clearly there's a need for an event where the puppies have the floor. As a sizeable number were corralled to London Pride this year, there seems to be plenty who will to gather when called (as a side-note, it was shortly after this that I had my pup-conversion). For the first time last Saturday, there was an event catering specifically for these people.

Fetch! has a good chance of being approachable to new or shy pet-players, given the playfulness that emerges at a gathering. Pups can easily join in once ball games have been started – or, of course, steal the toys for a guaranteed puppy pile (as happened last event). The simple joy at rolling objects is something more possible in a group setting rather than the rigidity of single pup-handler interactions.

These impromptu ball games took place at the large padded area, which earlier had had fights as its primary focus. Usually I wear a mask donned with large spikes, which is reasonable at a general fetish night when you're already having to be careful of other people and a cement floor. It's testament to the success of the padding and space that I spent most of the night unmasked to allow for full movement, enjoying scuffles unfettered from the usual restraints in clubs. A much appreciated section was a corner of cushions, which became the place for mass cuddling – again, something which requires a group setting, and that would get in the way in a general fetish event. Having several dozen people together familiar with puppy play gave flow to the evening. Puppyish language can be better utilised as, for example, it's well understood that a nudge to the hand is a request for petting. It's far distanced from the awkward situations where a club-goer just doesn't know what is expected of them around pups. This is from personal experience, by the way, where I resembled a deer in headlights at my first exposure to puppy play. Take this as a belated apology. Now with Fetch!, pups are able to play without the blunders delivered by the oblivious, such as my younger self.

It is worthwhile being mindful of the differences between single pup-handler interactions and a full group. This is not to say that one is better overall than the other, but they are unequal in what they provide. I'm not going to get the deep headspace from Fetch! that I would from pupping fully for as many hours, given the social nature of the night. If you're wanting to switch quickly between human and pup modes, then headspace is going to be shallow. On the other hand, as I've already said, the pure fun that emanates from a group setting is difficult to avoid being sucked into. Similarly, close connections with a handler was traded for spontaneous puppy scraps and snuggles.

This may be more chosen rather than being intrinsic to the event, though, given how the chocolate buttons available as treats for puppy tricks were provided but little used. Presumably, us pups were magnetised to the things that were previously restricted or completely impractical, showing the gaping hole that has thus far existed in possible experiences. I would expect that after a couple of events, there may be more balance involving handlers rather than mainly mass pup bundles, once the novelty of these previously little-explored activities calms down.

The overall point is that Fetch! provided the materials for play, with padded floor mats, large cushions, balls and other toys, treats, bone-shaped biscuits, and enough space to allow movement, but it's up to you how the night progresses. The night is provided for by the organisers, but constructed by the attendees, now with the tools that they couldn't utilise at other events. Anyone who has witnessed a gathering of pups knows that it won't take long for space to be converted to a canine domain, so the well-provided event of Fetch! is guaranteed to bring out the inner nature of even the shyest of pups.



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