5: The Year in Pictures (1/2/14)

Hey pups!  It’s been quite a dynamic year for puppies, handlers, and certainly for me.  One change is the advent of this blog, intended as a resource for information about human pups gained from my travels around the country.  After 20 states and 2 provinces, I can report that our community is vast and rich in resources!  The New Year is a time for celebration, but also of contemplation of the past.  The story of my year is largely told in pictures: events, posters, friends, and demos.  This entry reprints my 12 most “liked” photos according to Facebook clickers with an accompanying backstory and, where applicable, a few juicy details.  Together, they create a pretty good “State-of-the-Doghouse” and demonstrate the varied ways I tried to connect with and help our community.  In the end, you helped me just as much with your friendship, support, and stories.  Puppy is a journey of the soul.  These pictures depict a puppy who learned to love giving back.  To my packbrothers and sisters: I hope you will find this blog increasingly helpful in the coming year as I expand and diversify its content.  I will feature guest columnists, question and answer spots, and lots more fun, kinky shit in 2014.  For now, I hope you enjoy this look back on my “coming out” year. 

#12: Demo at Aparaphilia

This shop in Portland, Oregon (means “a fetish for everything”) is a special place in a challenging locale.  Away from the hipster neighborhoods of downtown, this curated gear store is one of the finest I’ve seen and full of unique, well-crafted goodies.  The photo is with owner Bruce Campbell, one of the original Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and then-employee Pixie Fyre, a well-known Dominatrix and puppy lover in the City of Roses.  Pixie was one of my trainers that night and my first female Domme!  I didn’t even know how to address her (it’s “Mistress”, I learned).  She put me into full suspension bondage, tormented me, wore awesome boots, and made me fall in love with her.  We are now co-producing the Oregon Puppy Contest, coming in February.  Our favorite moment together: me in the bathroom, changing, demanding that I was an international celebrity as my tail fell into the toilet.  Facepaw.

#11 Car Sign

One of the challenges of being a puppy is the gear.  I’m not referring to right-fitting kneepads or the best-quality mitts, both of which are important.  No, here I refer to becoming a gear addict!  While puppy play comes from the leather world, pups today express a variety of different looks - and I want ALL of them!  The worst thing is that once you’re fully dressed and accessorized, you still can buy more gear!  I had this sign made for my then Master Kevin to put in his SUV when I came to visit.  It was custom made; however, fear not, gearpigs! I will be selling them on my new website, to be launched in the near future. 

#10 Coverpup!

Metro Weekly is Washington, D.C.’s gay magazine.  The publication is not exactly pup friendly.  They do not publish shots on all fours or with a tail inserted in the name of being a “family” magazine.”  Arooo?   So, I set out to build a bridge and provide IPC some visibility by applying to be the magazine’s first “Coverpup.”  I joined the slew of mostly twinks and singles looking for attention on the cover of the “Nightlife” section (remember: “family magazine”).  To their credit, Metro Weekly is increasingly reaching out to gay sub-communities.  Mr. DC Eagle, Nigel, was featured in January.  Photographer Julian Vankim did a great job with this novice puppy, but, alas, had to keep me on two paws.  We did some puppy shots afterwards for our personal use that are incredible.  You’ll see them on the new website, tail and all!

#9 Gadget

Seattle’s Pup Gadget is one of the most highly regarded in our community, one of my 2013 IPC pack brothers, and the first puppy to reach out to me personally after winning the title.  This pic is from an impromptu puppy invasion Gadget instigated when he found out I was in town.  It was my first event as IPC 2013 and the pups from SEA PAH (which Gadget founded with his partner, Baus Yukon) made it a great event to learn at.  Remarkably, Gadget cracked my top twelve twice.  One day, he will probably crack my ass.

#8 A “Family Portrait”

It’s appropriate that this photo, taken at CLAW, came into popularity at about the same time the famous leather festival noted an increased interest in pups.  This year’s CLAW will feature more puppy classes and a first-of-its-kind puppy pool party.  And…look at this year’s T-Shirt, designed by Piglet, an adopted, filthy friend of our community.  It's important to capture group photos for posterity and visibility.  Organizers take note: your pup event is part of our history and a resource to anyone who can see what went on; get a photographer!

#7 "Naughty Santa"

Here is the second pic with Gadget at my first puppy invasion.  He bought me this photo, taken with “Naughty Santa" (Sir Hugh B Russell).  I’ve been pursuing that Santa for some time now.  Maybe this year’s MAL.  SLURP

#6 "Big Bro"

It’s ironic that Pup Tripp, one of my mentors and a judge at IPC 2013, would succeed me as IPC 2014, with me as a judge!  Nonetheless, it couldn’t have happened to a finer puppy.  This leather and kink veteran is handling his title year in his own way, as a platform to build bridges between puppy, leather, and kink communities.  The photo was taken in July at Capital Pride in Washington, D.C..  We accompanied the DC Eagle float amidst a huge, enthusiastic crowd.  I pupped-out on the float while Tripp walked on two paws as “Underdog” (a nod to the year’s super hero theme).  Best of all, “Big Bro” (as I call him), is now supervised by IPC’s new Titleholder Liason…me! 

#5 Amp-Play

Another Seattlite, Pup Amp, is 23 fucking years old.  When I was 23 I was clueless and virtually celebate (no comment, Amp).  This handsome pup, runner-up at both NW Puppy and IPC 2014, has a lot going for him.  He’s smart, funny, crafty, and savvy.  You may have seen his new line, “Pupout Gear,” and specifically, his custom made armbands, increasingly present on pups everywhere.  I’m still waiting for mine, ahem.  Amp is a testament to how far we’ve come in a short time - our increased visibility, and our organization.  SEA PAH is one of the most successful pup groups in the country and Amp is one of our most talented, emerging leaders. Organization matters!

#4 Headpaw.

IPC 2014 was overwhelming for me.  2013 was a year of dynamic changes in my life, both good and bad.  The one place I found almost non-stop joy was with pups.  I saw the beginnings of a legacy as NW Puppy Figaro was chosen as IPC’s first regional titleholder, the beginnings of new groups such as PDX PAH and the North Star Kennel Club.  I myself was the beginning of a new pack brotherhood of international titleholders.  My new friend, and “Dom-in-training” Mikey (as I call him), put this pawprint on my head in his salon the night before I flew to Tampa.  The light green flags humiliation, which is both my roots and my perennial “cocker-upper.”  I became emotional not because I was stepping down, but because I saw the possibility of something greater going on amidst the revelry.  I saw a place where individuals could embrace each other in diversity, honor each other as family, and connect with each other deeply through kink and fetish.  The paw represents my devotion to pups, but also the healing and purpose that BDSM has brought into my life.

#3 Buried Treasure

In the beginning I didn’t have many publicity pics, but I soon learned that a well-hewn image is golden in our media-driven world.  This is the pic that taught me that lesson.  It was taken the previous summer in my backyard as a cover leaf to a mix CD (imagine…a CD!) I made for my then Master Kevin of our favorite “mood music.”  I took it alone using the camera timer, running back and forth, trying to crouch so  that the neighbors wouldn’t see.  In my mouth is a stuffed moose toy with a giant boner, a nod to Kevin’s home in Vancouver, Canada.  I am also very fond of this picture because it is sexual without depicting sex acts, an important dimension of kink and fetish.  Discuss.

#2 Ho, Ho, Whore!

This recent shot was taken at the Arizona Power Exchange, a pansexual playspace in Phoenix.  It got popular fast, perhaps because it is both clearly puppy and Christmassy, not always an easy combination to capture.  It’s a detail from an impromptu session with the “Dirty Santa” on duty that night, who turned out to be an interesting and witty guy with a penchant for fire-flogging (who knew).  I was there with Steve Loki to announce the new SW Puppy contest, a first-of-its-kind converging of IPC and ITPC titles, given over one weekend.  I hope Steve’s vision is a model of things to come.  If you can’t unify at the top, unify from the ground up!  And thanks for the bootlick, Santa!


#1 Ce mois

The year's most popular picture accompanied my Facebook "step-down" posting after IPC 2014 and seems that it was taken at the Hilton Hotel in Tampa where I went to decompress on Sunday night after the competition.  In reality it was taken a week earlier by Mikey (yes the pawprint Mikey) at a Motel 6 in Williamsburg!  Seedy?  Tacky?  Smelly?  Yes.  But did we have mind-boggling sex?  Let's just say, we made it to the feather duster (just trust me, that's a feat in and of itself).  It's also the only nude pic I posted this year.  The expression is unique, vulnerable, and still absolutely my puppy in all his sexuality and playfulness.  I could not have taken this photo a year ago.  As my friend Pup Nuzz said to me, "You really are just a goofball."  After a Ph.D and years of hard work achieving professional success, Axel reminded me of what it is to achieve personal success: to live in the moment, to love your community, and most importantly, to find joy in simply being yourself.

Happy New Year (or 7 dog years)! 

WOOF
~Axel