Who’s a good boy?
A Los Angeles man says he is a “human pup,” and enjoys animal role play like playing fetch and running on all fours.
Tony McGinn, who prefers to be called ‘Tony Bark,’ says his animal role play has brought him closer to his husband, or ‘handler.’
The 30-year-old transgender man says he is fully supported by his husband, who even accompanies him to dog play dates with fellow role players around LA.
“To me, a dog is everything pure in the world. Dogs experience the world through a lens of pure joy that I don’t think other animals have,” McGinn says. ‘A lot of little kids like to play like they’re a dog and most of them grow out of it. I just never grew out of that.”
“And now in my adult life, in my relationships, it’s a way for me to feel vulnerable and exposed and close to my partner. It’s a very intimate thing. Imagine if the easiest way to delight your partner is you just throw a ball across the room. Relationships wouldn’t fail anymore if that’s all you had to do,” Tony explains.
Tony’s husband, Andrew, encourages his partner to be happy.
“I hang out and I provide him with lots of attention and tell him he is a good boy. That’s basically 90 percent of it,” Andrew says.
“I think everyone should feel comfortable exploring the limits of their creativity and imagination and most of us have grown up in a culture that strongly discourages you from taking it too far.”
“I appreciate that I am married to someone who encourages me to explore my imagination and my interests wherever they lead and I try to do the same,” he adds.
The couple are owners of three real dogs too, who they refer to as “bio-dogs.” This is because Tony knows that he isn’t a real canine, but it’s about getting into the headspace of a dog.
“I do consider myself as a pup at all times every day, but I don’t engage in pet play every day.”
Tony did, however, make a homemade dog mask and hood for any pet play dates. He also uses a sex toy harness that holds his silicone tail.
“We don’t make it sexual but I have nothing against those who do,” Andrew says.
Tony’s favorite games are fetching and tug of war. He has won dog show competitions for his role play, including two best in show awards.⠀
Andrew and Tony became part of the LA Pony and Critter Club, a role-play group founded by Ann Noble. They’ve been members for over six years.
“We have just the best time,” Ann says. “Every time I do it, it’s like the best time of my life, it’s the best moment of my life.”