A man who claims he’s felt like a dog since childhood regularly wears a dog mask, eats his meals out of a dog bowl, and greets his friends by barking at them.
Kaz James, 37, says he always felt ‘weird’ and unable to relate to others until he heard about ‘human pups’ online and met other people like him.
It wasn’t until his late teens when he was able to access the internet for the first time that Kaz realised there were other people like him and he wasn’t alone.
The 37-year-old, from Salford, Greater Manchester, gradually allowed his pup persona to shine through with the help of an online ‘pup play community’ and open-minded friends.
Without their help, Kaz says he would have always felt like an outsider:
I didn’t ever feel like a human, I always felt like a dog that was really out of place. I never really had a name for it, being a pup wasn’t a thing I knew about. When I met other people like me I felt I could be myself.
I was known by my friends for [saying] hello to them by grabbing hold of the collar of their shirt in my teeth and biting or licking them, very canine-type behaviours. It was always how I was.
Now a store manager, Kaz describes himself as a ‘full-time orange, brown and camo K9’ and regularly unleashes his dog personality by barking at friends, carrying things around in his mouth, and snacking on dog biscuits.
From as young as six, Kaz says he realised his behaviours were ‘dog-like’ but this was never mentioned by his friends or family.
The store manager explained:
I realised that my behaviours were quite dog-like in childhood, probably from the age of six. No-one ever talked about it, it was never mentioned.
My parents took early retirement and we moved to a farm in Norfolk. It wasn’t until the internet arrived in our house that I started chatting to people online – mostly through groups and message boards.
I was incredibly nervous when I first started talking to people online. I was living with my parents and I would sneak downstairs at three in the morning to get on the internet to look for this stuff.
I would hold a pillow over the 56k modem so you couldn’t hear the modem noise. I was worried that If I ever spoke to anyone about it, they would be like ‘you’re a nut job’.
Once he was able to use the internet to learn about others like him, he gradually built up the confidence to discover the world of human pups and come into his own.
The 37-year-old store manager, who is also the co-founder of Kennel Klub, will only wear ‘mild’ clothes to work – for example a t-shirt with the word ‘pup’ on the front.
Outside of work though, Kaz can be found in customised rubber outfits (costing £400 each), masks, dog leads, harnesses and even a bespoke £2,000 fur suit. And after a long day at work, Kaz loves nothing more than relaxing at home and eating meals out of his dog bowl.
I feel a sense of peace being a human pup. Little things make me feel happy like eating my dinner out of a bowl using a knife and fork.
I don’t eat at people’s tables when I go to friends’ houses. I can be a normal person in a restaurant, I’m trained and can deal with humans, but I don’t like it, it makes me feel uncomfortable.
I don’t eat dog food, I eat regular food like a normal person but I do eat Bonios they’re quite nice. There are loads of dog treats you can get that are human friendly which are actually quite good for you.
Despite people outside the human pup community often mistaking the movement as purely a fetish, Kaz says it is ‘all-encompassing’ and can focus on romance and reconnecting with childhood fun.
And Kaz’s advice to anyone interested in becoming a human pup? ‘Just give it a try,’ he says.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).