Saturday, December 22, 2012

#tattoo date in Birmingham

  Geoff and I had a great day of tattooing this last Thursday. Jo suggested we come over to her new home instead of the shop, which gave us a delightfully chilled day of tattooing and chat. She's got a lovely place too - and a bathroom to *die* for ;)

We didn't take too many pictures (cos we were all too chilled to remember), but Jo did some beautiful work on us both: finishing the solid colour into Geoff's armpit and down onto his ribs, and starting to colour the leaves and flowers on my own. Unfortunately, my meds seem to be messing with my tolerance for pain and what used to be a pleasure is rapidly turning into a dreaded test of endurance. Even with some judicious use of numbing cream this time I was only able to manage two hours out of the four we had planned. 

Still, it is beautiful work...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"There's comfort in melancholy"

There's not been much blogging here for a while I know.

Those on Twitter will know that my life-long partner, Geoff, had a bit of a meltdown a few months ago - finally caving under the weight of a years worth of work stress, topped off with several months of personal stress organising the house move of his Mum so that she can live closer to us as she ages.

He has been my rock and my anchor - the one who has daily seen me through some of the roughest parts of my own depression over the last few years - and it was heart-wrenching to feel that rock suddenly crumble beneath me. I literally awoke one morning to find him crumpled on the kitchen floor in tears. I don't know where the strength came from, but I simply held him for an hour whilst he shook and sobbed that he just could not go on any longer - telling him that it was OK, that we would sort everything out together...

I guess that giving of strength must have drained my own - because the next day I found myself stopped in a lay-by on my way to work - overwhelmed by a relapse in my depression and unable to see the road ahead for my tears.

We are lucky to have an excellent GP who understands depression and anxiety (and who has been treating me for mine for the last two years); he insisted that we both take a gentle couple of weeks off work to recover, and then be granted a slow phased return to work.

Then my poor Handler finally yielded to months of unhappiness and uncertainty in His own job, and has had to go off-grid for a while whilst He tries to recover His equilibrium...

I guess, as Joni says "we all live so close to that line, and so far from satisfaction"


It has been a rough month or so for us all - and one were we have all turned inwards a little to give ourselves and each other a little of the space and support that we each need - however, I am now happy to say that we are all doing a great deal better.

Geoff had a long meeting with his boss, and they have regraded his post and reallocated some of his responsibilities; his Mum has also backed off on her daily demands (interestingly, she said she understood because his Father had silently suffered with anxiety and depression, which was one reason why they downsized to take early retirement - something that none of the family had been aware of before).

I had my own meetings at work too - and sorted most of the problems I was facing here, save one.

Some of you might already know that I keep a separate daily photo-blog, called the '11th hour', were I share a photo of whatever I am doing/working on each day. Just before Sir and I went to Amsterdam I received a very angry phone call and several acidic emails from my institution's marketing department, saying that my blog had come to their attention after one of my posts had been retweeted in a way that could be seen as unfavourable to the institution, and demanding that I therefore 'cease and desist' the blog immediately. They angrily told me that my photographs broke data-protection laws and constituted an invasion of privacy - and then they contacted my manager to complain of  my 'unprofessional and inappropriate use of work time'. All of this despite the fact that the blog is incredibly popular with my students, has previously received positive comments from other Librarians, and has even received a mention on the twitter feed of my professional governing body.

Luckily my manager was understanding and apologetic, but I finally had to concede and officially closed the blog earlier this month - but it left me with quite a bitter taste that has kept me from away from social media for a while.


So. A bit of a confessional post, but I felt some explanation of silence was necessary. I also felt it important to write about our different reactions to stress because I was so saddened by the story of Geoff's Father's depression, hidden from the rest of the family for years in shame.

I find it almost unbelievable that mental illness and emotional distress still carries such negative stigma.

No one would think less of a person for being a diabetic and requiring insulin, or having to take warfarin for high blood pressure - so why do we feel uncomfortable when we hear a colleague is taking citalopram or diazepam to help them live with their depression? It is simply an illness the same as any other, after-all.

In truth, the only reason we are afraid of mental illness is because we are ignorant of it - and therefore fear it. And that is despite the fact that 1 in 4 of us will suffer at some point in our lives. That's a higher percentage than will suffer cancer.

Cancer crossed over from being a disease never spoken off; depression and mental illness can do so too - but only if those of us who live with it can be open and honest, where and when it is appropriate to do so.

There is no shame in suffering under depression or anxiety.

Emotional strength is no less infinite than the physical; no matter how tall or strong, we all have a limit to our internal strength, and it is no weakness if we break when that limit is reached and exceeded - any more than it would be weakness for our backs to break were we asked to carry a mountain.

And sometimes it is OK just to feel down or melancholic too...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A few more photos from #GetRuff, Amsterdam

Was it really only a month ago that we were in Amsterdam?

I have since received lots of photos taken by others over the weekend; it's always wonderful to be reminded of what a fantastic time we had, and so I share a few of them here, and as promised.

Puppy-play workshop, Amsterdam Kink Academy;
Photos: Master Dave.

A walk in Amsterdam with Sir;
Photos: BLUF2783

BLUF, ready for the party;
photos: BLUF2783.

Many thanks to both Master Dave and Andrew for letting me share their wonderful photos.

Please: don't share them elsewhere without our permission.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

House of XY photo shoot

Mister B. has got to be my favourite fetish shop. My Handler and I were in there almost every day when we were staying in Amsterdam for Leather Pride - and I confess to spending an inordinate amount of money on gear over the five days. But, it was just so easy to do when you are in a shop with such an amazing stock and incredibly friendly staff...

On the Sunday of our stay Mister B were offering select customers a free photo shoot with the photographers from House of XY - the guys behind some of the incredibly sexy publicity shots for their advertisements. It was Sir's first tome in front of a professional lens, and it was only a quick 10 minute shot, but we had immense fun - and the photos are just brilliant.

I think we might just have to organise something a little longer and more adventurous when we're next out there.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

#GetRuff, Amsterdam. Monday: last day and flight.

Monday morning and we woke late, still buzzing from the incredible play we had at the Argos the night before. We lay in bed, snuggled together in the warmth - the pup lying spooned in his Man's arms and both of us talking quietly about the weekend and its adventures, not wishing to break the magical mood of peace and silence.

Sir nuzzled my neck, and whispered into my ear 'Have I told my dog how much I love him?' - which had me hugging His enfolding arm and growling in pleasure. Then, since it seemed the perfect time for 'confessions', I quietly told Him how much I love him - on every level from Master to mentor and friend; of how I feel that I have changed so much for the better from knowing Him, and that I am a better person when I am with Him. That He has helped me to be who I wanted to be - as pup, as boy, and as a man. I couldn't help but break a few confidences, and tell Him that I am not the only one to think He is a genuinely special person: a rare breed of Gentleman who's grace and humour makes those around Him feel special - and those He chooses to play with feel respected and loved.

But most of all, I told Him how proud I am to be collared and loved by Him - and that I cannot express how good it feels to know that He feels the same.

All of which threatened to have us both in tears again, so Sir wisely distracted us by turning me to face Him so that He could kiss my nose - then pushed me down the bed to 'show some of that gratitude to My cock!'

Nuzzling and kissing, I poured all my emotion and love into giving Him as much pleasure as I could:  letting myself become absorbed in the sensations I was giving Him with my tongue and lips and beard - feeling for the subtle twitches and pulses and kicks of His body's response, and letting them guide me as to what to lick, where to rub, when to kiss... Like the flogging before, I allowed my service of Him to bond us into one - feeling the energy that flowed between us in thick ribbons of sensation and response - letting them flow and redouble, reflect and refract until we were lost in a rainbow cascade of passion and arousal.

Sir had be pull down on His balls as I worked His cock with my tongue - stroking them down over HIs G spot until I could hold them down and then stroke my fingers around His hole; but that brought my nose down into the warm fug of His man-scent - and soon had me growling and humping His chest as I tried to burry my tongue into that sweet hot ring of pleasure...

The intensity of His scent, the pure animal perversity of eating my Man's hole, the incredible feeling of His furry chest rubbing against my sensitive cock head - and my Man's voice whispering 'It's alright pup, go on - do it - good boy!' - I was lost in puppy heaven. When my Man then started to stroke and rub my own hole, I couldn't hold my excitement back any longer - and buried my face deep into His arse as my throbbing cock spat hot gobs of puppy-cum over His chest and neck; it pooled into the hollow of His collar bone, were Sir gathered it up in His fingers, and then used it as lube to push His fingers deep into my still twitching hole...

All of which made for quite a mess, so Sir had the pup trot into the bathroom and into the shower on all fours - then gave him a proper suds-full puppy-bath that had us both giggling and laughing (and the puppy hard all over again...).

Then it was time to gear up and head out for breakfast at last.

We headed back to Mr.B's first - to exchange the pup's newly bought xs jockstrap for a larger size, but also to give them a proper final farewell! Then it was back to the hotel for a frantic bit of packing (careful weighing and repacking - trying to distribute all the pup's new leather purchases so as not to exceed our 40kg in-hold allowance on Easyjet...!) before checking out and leaving our cases in the luggage room.

We had a good four hours to kill before our flight, so decided to take nice long final stroll through the city - first down to La Place at V&D for our now customary last-day salad and juices, then slowly wending our way back to the station through the University and then the Jordan - pen shopping and sightseeing, with the pup taking photos all the way as the city slowly sank into dusk and then night.

We finally ended up on the Haarlemme Dyke, and stopped for one last sup of tea and tarts at a sweet little Brood shop there (noticing how the lights picked out the tops of the buildings for the first time - and joining a couple of tourists in snapping a photo of a cat in the curiously sexual window display of an opticians...!)


Then it was time to make our way back to collect our cases from the hotel and catch our train back to Schiphol.

Our passage through the airport was amazingly smooth - although we did have the passport control guy make a complimentary remark on our leathers, and asking if we'd enjoyed our bike tour, to which Sir replied with a grin 'No - we always dress like this; but you should have had more guys dressed like us this weekend already: it's been Leather Pride in your lovely city. But then, you're obviously straight, so maybe you wouldn't know...'. ;)

Sir also craftily left my collar on as we went through security - which had the dog setting off all the alarms; the woman sternly told me to take off my collar and go back through, but I had to answer 'I don't have the key - my Master does, and He's already gone through' - which made me both blush and feel incredibly proud. They were surprisingly understanding, and let me go through the body scanner instead, although they did also give me a thorough pat down, which was nice...

The flight back over nighttime Amsterdam was truly beautiful - even with the clouds and a little turbulence - and I tried to take photos of the city lights through the clouds. We also got to see fireworks as we passed over London - bursting like tiny time-lapse flowers far below.

Sir made us wait to let the crush off first, so we were almost the last off the plane - and then I realised that I had forgotten my iPad and had to sprint back, past the startled ground-crew. t was OK though: the Air Stewardess was very sweet, and kindly went back to hunt along the isles - whilst the pilot laughed that I shouldn't be embarrased since he's lost track of how many people do the same, and hoped we had enjoyed the flight and the fireworks - then wished us a safe journey home.

It was so cold in Bristol, especially after Amsterdam - and there was ice on the car and grit on the roads. It was late too - but that meant that we had a beautiful drive home with the moon rising beside us as we took a short detore through Clifton, with the suspension bridge glowing and reflected in the waters below the equal of anything we had seen in Amsterdam.

A quick hello to Sir's Geoff - then a weary (snuffly!) drive home to my own Geoff - waiting up past midnight to welcome me home: tired but so incredibly happy.

#GetRuff, Amsterdam. Sunday: photos with XY and a flogging at the Argos


We both woke late, feeling bleary from the #GetRuff party at the COC. I was still buzzing, and desperately wanted my Man inside me - but neither my sore hole nor my Man's bad headache made that possible; and so I lay quietly, catching up on my notes for the blog whilst my Man tried to catch up on some much needed sleep...

It was very late in the afternoon by the time we finally managed to drag our bleary selves out of bed - driven by hunger and a need for some fresh air - which sadly meant that we also missed our chance to say goodbye to Andrew before he left for the ferry.

Outside it was driving with rain, so we scuttled into the station to hunt for a brolly - then it was back to our favourite Gebroeders Niemeijer bakery on the Nieuwendijk for soup and cheeses and one of the lovely crusty epi breads we had watched being made the morning before.

Feeling a lot better for being fed and warmed, we then headed out for another shopping trip down to Underground to see if their Inseam order had made it through the delays caused by SuperStorm Sandy - where we also met up with the very nice Will, who had also been at the AKA puppy-play Workshop

The dog also dragged its Man back to Mr.B, so that I could make my 3rd purchase there in as many days (a nice leather jock strap to wear with my chaps). I was already wearing my lovely new FXXX breaches, so maybe that's why they asked if we would like to go upstairs were the incredible guys from House of XY were taking photos. My photo students often ask me to model a bit, so I'm kinda used to being in front of the lens, but it was a new experience for Sir; not that you could tell: He really got into the swing, and it looked like the guys got some wonderful shots. I'll hope to share them here on the blog when I can.

It was already dark by the time we finished, so it was back to the Hotel for yet another change (into chaps, harness and boiler-suit), then time to head back to the Argos for a last night of play...

It might have been late for us, but it was early for the Argos, and so there were not many leathermen about (Sir was amazed that their front curtains were even still open...!) - and so we grabbed a few drinks, then headed down into the basement.

Sir had me kneel to suck His meat, whilst I carefully stripped us both of our boiler-suits. He let me work myself into quite a state: rubbing my hands over the smooth grain of His chaps and down across the toe caps of His Slayers, my tongue and mouth still working His meat and my cock twitching and drooling between my knees. Then, still gasping - I begged Him to flog me again.

Sir had me stand up, then moved me so that I was up against the metal framing of one of the side rooms - stood on two upturned beer-crates to give me some height - and then He slowly began the flogging. Carefully along my arms (using His hands to protect the soft undersides, and making me shudder at the delicate feel of His touch in contrast to the stinging beat of the flogger) - then over my shoulders and onto my back - letting me get the feel of the flogger and building my need to take His pain. Faster and harder, He built up the strokes - until I was grabbing at the top of the frame so that I could lean myself back hungrily - my growls of arousal interspersed by gasps and cries of pain.

It was a wonderful flogging session - although sadly, much unappreciated by the trainered, vanilla businessman crowd...

By now I was shaking with hunger, so Sir took me into the sling room so that He could work my hole. They had a beautiful Master U sling in there (although it had been badly hung, so the pup spent a wee while (Sir: 20 minutes!) rearranging the chains so that it's true beauty could be appreciated...). Master U really do make the best slings in the world - incredibly rugged and beautifully comfortable - and I felt as though I could have lain in there for the rest of my life...

Sir then gave me the most beautiful, intense, deep and relentless fucking - until He had me gasping and howling and sobbing that I could just take no more... (One day, I swear Sir; one day I will be trained enough to be able to take You for as long and as deep as YOU want - and to finally be able to feel You cum inside of me...)

I was shattered, so Sir led us back upstair for a chill and some drinks. We also realised that we'd been down in the basement for over two hours. Whilst we had been busy, the bar had filled up with a much more suitable leather crowd - so once we had caught our breath (and replaced some much needed fluids), Sir led me back down into the basement to give them all a nice long demonstration of how beautifully my Man can bring His dog to growling, sobbing submission with His flogger.

It was wonderful to be able to submit for Him - and precious to do so whilst a crowd of appreciative Men watching on: knowing they understood what it meant for me to take His pain and give myself to Him so fully made it feel all the more powerful - and the energy flow between us all the more.

It made me shudder with Pride when one of the guys came up afterwards, to thank us and comment on how beautiful it had been to watch our interaction and 'a professional at work'

Exhausted, we finally had to say our goodbyes to Will and DaveyBear - then headed back to the hotel to restock on both fluids and carbs - with the pup cuddled between Sir's boots whilst He fed me Hot Chocolate and macaroons.

What lucky dog could ever be happier?

#GetRuff Amsterdam (2012) - posts:

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

#GetRuff, Amsterdam. Saturday: BLUF party and Get Ruff and the COC

It was a very happy pup and Sir who trotted back to the hotel for a nap.

Both of us were on quite a high after the puppy play workshop, and buzzing with energy. I made us both a cup of tea - and then we chatted about the afternoon, with the pup sat on my Man's knee whilst He played with my nipples.

I guess it was the final tipping point: one minute we were talking about the workshop, and how Proud my Man had felt to hear His pup reading about my experiences with Him - and the next I was clinging to Him and sobbing into His shoulder. I was so full of emotions: of Pride and love, submission and obedience, devotion and wanting - that I could no longer hold any of it back, and it all flooded out of me in shaking sobs. I wanted to tell Him that it was happiness and pride making me cry so, but couldn't draw breath to do so; when I finally raised my head from His damp shoulder, I found Him welling up too - overwhelmed by His pup's show of emotion - and that just had us both sobbing even more.

It was painful and beautiful, and I thank my Man for sharing such an intense and personal moment.

But, finally, the wave broke, and the pup kissed away my Man's tears - which had us both breaking into laughter instead. Then, exhausted but happy, He pulled us both to the bed for a much needed snuggle.


We woke after a short nap with the dog rewarding his Man for His care with an intense throat-fuck - which was unfortunately interrupted by the alarm: a 10 minute reminder to meet Andrew in the hotel reception for some 'holiday snaps' in gear.

We made a miraculous quick-change throw on of our leathers - and still managed to get down before everyone else.

We had immense fun, with Andrew getting some fantastic photos of Gert and Jonathan, my Man and I standing in full leathers beside a Lambreta scooter, and then balanced on some pallets - and despite the many whistles and catcalls from the taxi drivers, or the passers-by who ket asking if he would take their own phone snaps of them with the sexy leather men. Sir said he also managed to take some very nice photos of me in my uniform, suitable for submission to the BLUF website.

The guys were such good company that I persuaded Sir to abandon our plans of heading to the COC early, and instead we walked down the Warmeosstraat as a group - parting the startled straights in a slack-jawed bow-wave before us as we headed for the BLUF 15th birthday party at Dirty Dicks.

The place was heaving with guys, and there was an interesting little shuffle at the door as everyone was checked head-to-toe to ensure that they met the strict dress-code - although Sir had to smile when they wanted to check me over, and then Master Dave waved me in with a 'Oh, that's bootbrush - let Him in'. Inside, there was barely enough room to breath, and you would have needed an entire can of Crisco to lube your way to the bar... Sir had the advantage of height, and so worked His way through the crowd with me following in His slipstream; we finally found a sweet little spot by the stairs, with the pup sat kermit-like half way up and hugging his Man's shoulders from above. The added height gave us a good view of the massed black leather below, and made us nicely visible in turn - which led to me bracing myself up on the stairs for some naughty head-turning doggy-arse spanking from my Man.

It was fun, but we didn't stay long - although we did meet pup Sparky as we struggled back against the stream to the way out - and shared a wonderful howl session that got us all disapproving glowers for our foolish puppy ways :)))


Back at the Hotel, we took half an hour for yet another wardrobe change, then we headed out for the Get RUFF weekend headliner party at the COC building - dressed in only chaps, harness and boiler suit, despite the rain and thunder.

We were lucky, and just managed to catch the last Tram down to the venue. The street outside was fairly full of disconsolate guys, gathering ticketless outside - so we both felt rather special as we breezed though with tickets, feeling like A-listers with their names were on the door... 

The COC building was an amazing location - grand and sleazy all at the same time. I most loved all the wide stone staircases, heaving with guys in only boots, jocks and harnesses...

Sir clicked on my lead, and then led us up (2-legged) to the dance floor (I had considered going fully pupped, but the place was heaving and a 4-legged pup would have easily been crushed in the press - we saw a pup being led around the corridors later in the evening, he was constantly tripped over and he looked very sorry for himself, so I'm glad that we made the decision that 2-legs was an infinitely wiser choice...)

There was some seriously good tunes thumping on the main floor - Sir led us around until we found a good spot with the pup stood up on a speaker - gogo-ing with his cock chained and padlocked, and his arms around his Mans shoulders (with the bass vibrating through both of our boots). We got quite a few cruising looks too - which made me grin.

We watched for a while, then Sir led us off for a proper tour of the space - stopping for a while up on the balcony for the dog to kneel and give his Man some proper attention (until an overly persistent guy made a real nuisance of himself trying to get his tongue into my Man's hole - his, and every other cock and hole in the room, which had my Man shuddering at the thought of cross-infection...).

We headed back down to the main room, where Sir found a better spot against the wall to the side of the main stage where He could enjoy feeding His pup His piss then nuzzling His meat without interruptions. We were on the edge of a spotlight too, and Sir said it was nice to see several guys pointing and commentating on my ink whilst I worked (it's surprising: a few of the guys displayed small, mostly tribal, pieces on their amazing gym-bunny bodies, but I seemed to be the only one there who was heavily inked - at least that I saw).

Sir let me nuzzle for a while, enjoying the attention we both got - then He led us off for one final tour.

We eventually found the perfect spot on a mobile scaffolding platform at the back of the stage - just the right height, and stable enough for the pup to brace himself against, his back open and willing - exposed to his Man's flogger... 

Stood there - nicely on display - Sir then gifted me with the most amazing and intense flogging.

He started with slow, back covering strokes - letting me feel the spread of each tail as the flogger splayed out across my skin. Gradually, He then built up both the weight and intensity of each stroke - moving the focus of His attention so that he warmed across my back, shoulders and arms.

As He slowly built up the weight of each stroke, so He varied the rhythm, until we were both pulled down into a room-silencing single focus - joined as one by the hypnotic swing and thud of the rubber against my willing flesh. He made each stroke feel both incredibly sensual and tinglingly intense - and I was soon shaking and pushing back into the percussive strokes - opening up my back and shoulders to beg for more, eager to take His pain.

It was the most beautiful and intense experience; my head was spinning and my skin tingling with energy when He finally stopped - and then He kissed me and pressed His body against my hot flesh. The wash of surrender had me trembling so hard that He finally had to turn me around to let me sink to the floor so I could hug His leg. He later said that He'd noticed a few of the guys from Mr B watching - and I really do hope that they enjoyed what they saw.

I was feeling intensely subby after so much attention, so Sir led me around to the front of the scaffold and had me lie back onto the platform with my head hanging over the edge; it was not quite as easy a position for either of us as the fuck bench at home, but Sir still managed to find the right angle to get deep into my throat. I was still buzzing with energy from the flogging, and so I fed all of that back into Him as I worked on His meat - watching the strange upside down world of Men and boots striding by, or standing to enviously watch us at play.

Sir let me work Him almost to the point of cumming, but then He took pity on my choking, and let me sit up on the edge of the platform whilst He braced himself above me - my puppy cock rubbing against His boots as He drove Himself into my muzzle.

Both of us were already high, so it wasn't long before He drove us both over the edge - with me shooting over His boots as my tight throat brought Him to yet another 5 star 'Fuck!' - and making me glow with pride!


Heading out, we bumped into friends of Sir as they struggled into sweat pants for the walk home; I'm too much of a service dog to watch a Man struggle unaided, so knelt to help them - which had them both blushing and laughing: 'We're not from the Dutch colonies you know - we're not used to someone 'doing' for us like this!' ;)

They accompanied us back to the hotel - which is where we also learnt that this was to be the last event at the COC, which is a shame; still, I am glad to have been there for its swan song, and to have experienced its unique charm.

It really was an amazing night.


#GetRuff, Amsterdam. Saturday: Puppy-play workshop

Saturday morning, and we headed over to our favourite Warmoesstraat for a lovely traditional 'Farmer's breakfast' of eggs and cheese at the Cheese factory, before going on to the glorious Mr B for their second hand leather sale.

They had quite a pile of those lovely cargo-pocketed breeches that I had lusted after, but sadly they were all 28" waists and would barely cover a single leg never mind my growing love-handles (growl). But, I did manage to find a perfect pup-sized pair of Dutch motorcycle police jeans, just like the ones that my Man has (and which I have lusted after for years) - so what could I do but buy them too...

(Sir: that's two new pairs of jeans,  jockstrap and a shirt that my pup has 'invested in' on this visit. Not that I'm counting...!)

Shopping done, we headed back to the hotel for a short nap and a wardrobe change, then it was back to  the Warmoesstraat and the Eagle for the Amsterdam Kink Academy's puppy-play workshop - led by Master Olivier and pup Sparky, and ably assisted by Master Dave and pup squeak.

Puppy play!

There were about 20 of us in the group, with a nice mix of experienced players and novices. Most were there as potential Handlers, but there were a half dozen pups too (including one brave 'straight' pup who was there as a stray, and whom Sir kindly adopted for the session); it was good to have such a range of attendees, since it meant that we had multiple points of view for discussion.

I knew it was going to be a good afternoon when Master Olivier started the session by getting everyone - Masters and Handlers too! - down on all fours so that they could see the world from a puppy's perspective: and realise that it is a world that consists only of boots and legs and hands! (wuff!); He was also careful to point out that to really interact with a pup, the Master should squat so that He comes down to His pup's level.

Over the four hours we were given lots of good advice and demonstrations: from simple ways to tape a boy's hands into paws with duct tape, to a pass-around of the highest quality puppy mitts and hoods that money could buy (including Sparky's own made-to-measure terrier hood, with working jaw). Master Oliver was very good at encouraging everyone to try each item, too - especially the mitts and knee-pads, so that the potential Master's could see the difference in padding and protection that each afforded.

Master Olivier also made a point of the many safety aspects to be considered - including the cleanliness of the floor (and the need to be careful of sharp objects that could stick in a pup's paws or knees!) and the need to ensure there is plenty of fluids available, since being on all fours is extremely strenuous, and a pup needs to remain hydrated to stay well (Sir was very helpful on safety too - drawing on His nursing and A&E training to point out the dangers of pressure on circulation points, and the potential over-heating when playing in gear or hoods; He also showed how He uses a bottle and straw to let the pup drink easily when out at a club - and had the pup demonstrate how he moves on padded knuckles and booted toes, which makes him more agile and helps to protect his knees).

Master Olivier also brought lots of nice puppy toys, which he tossed into the mosh pit - resulting in a hilarious cacophony of growls and squeaks that silenced any further talk for quite a while (Note to Santa: please Sir, this pup would love one of the squeaky newspapers - if it's been a good enough boy..!!).

With so many pups, it did get quite rowdy and physical at times - it was my first time with so many brother-pups, and I can be quite a shy pup, very aware of my smaller size and strength; I admit that I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the rough-housing, and so I tended to stay by my Man's side - but I had a lot of fun watching my pup brothers wrestle and play so excitedly.

Since the rubber-suit had caused so many problems at the rubber-party, Sir had me go to the workshop in just boots, paws and a harness. It was a unique experience for me to be a naked pup at a public event, and I did feel very 'exposed' at first - but strangely, I felt much more comfortable once I had my hood on. Sir also said that it was a pleasure to see my naked butt with my tail clearly filling my hole - and that I looked a very smart hound with all my ink on display.

We took a short break after a couple of hours, before ending the session with a nicely relaxed Q&A session. Then Master Dave asked me to close the day by giving a short reading from 'Assimilation'.

I decided to read the beginning section from 'A Northern Kennel'. It seemed to be a good choice: everyone said that they were intrigued to know what happened next, and wanted to read the rest of the story :). Master Dave was very sweet and encouraged everyone to buy a copy - so I was very pleased that I had thought to pack a few copies. I was even a little embarrassed when everyone asked me to sign their purchases like some kind of superstar...!

Best of all, Master Dave bought a couple as a 'Thank you' for Master Olivier and Sparky - for which they both also thanked me.

It made me feel very proud - and my Man a little tearful!

Addendum: photos of the workshop are now available on the AKA website; faces have been blurred, but the pups are very exposed and their identities easy to establish, so please do not share or post them anywhere else

#GetRuff Amsterdam (2012) - posts:

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