Speaker 1:What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had as a pup?
KirkBrue Pierce:As a pup?
Speaker 1:Or in your pup [loft 00:00:10].
KirkBrue Pierce:Oh, I have several, but one of them that comes to mind is way back when we were in … Where were we? Was it Arizona? I think we were in Arizona. We were there for some kind of leather weekend. We were over at the Saturday afternoon barbecue before the event that night. I remember we were at the person’s house. I asked my friend, who was taking me there, I said, “I really want to dog out. Can I just dog out for the afternoon?” He’s like, “Sure.” I said, “Is it going to weird people out?” He’s like, “Whatever.” I said, “Okay.”
We got there and they happen to have their real dog there. I dogged out. Me and the dog interacted. I just remembered I got into the trash can. They were cooking in the kitchen. I was like, “Ooh, that smells good. What is that?” They were swatting me away. Down to the trash can, because something smells good. They were … I just remember I just kind of went in that space. I was jumping up at people. I was excited to see everything.
KirkBrue Pierce:I just remembered that night, Shann Carr, who was a comedian, she was doing her little skit. She mentioned that.
Speaker 1:Oh really?
KirkBrue Pierce:She was like, “And here I am at this barbecue. This human pup’s getting all …” She mentioned the different [instant 00:01:33] stuff, and I was like, “That’s me.” Everybody looked at me. I went, “Oh.” Anyway that was just a fond memory, because I was able to let go. Nobody weirded out. I was having a good time.
Speaker 1:You were in a space that was safe for you.
KirkBrue Pierce:A space that was safe.
Speaker 1:And you enjoyed.
KirkBrue Pierce:Enjoying myself. A touching moment though, so for me, a really touching moment, and this is kind of a ripple effect, was I think it was two years ago, at Wolf Camp. I had a guy in a wheelchair come up and said, “I would really like to get involved, but I don’t know how to do … What can I do?” I said, “Well would you mind being a handler? I really need some handlers in a mush.” He said, “Well what do I do?” I said, “Well all you have to do is just kind of interact and play a little bit. Just keep an eye. Make sure if they need water, if they need help, flag me down.”
He kind of did that. Then I went off and did my function. Then later on, I had the security guard. My voluntary security guard said, they tell me the story, and it made me cry. It was awesome. That there was a new pup, brand new to the scene. He was scared. He didn’t know what to do. He hooked him up with the guy in the wheelchair. He said it was the most magical … Watching those to interact, just here’s a guy who didn’t think he could do anything in the community, because he was in a wheelchair, and here’s a brand new person-pup, who didn’t think he could have fun. He was telling me that it was amazing to see the connection that occurred that might not never happened if that had happened, and to show that anybody and anything is possible in the pup scene. Don’t limitations stop you.
Speaker 1:Only recently I’ve had a disabled pup contact me, saying how do we get together. I think that we have to acknowledge that we’ve got … I know deaf pups. I know pups who are amputees.
Speaker 1:I think that’s vital that we are on the edge enough. We have to incorporate everybody.
KirkBrue Pierce:Yes. I mean one of the frustrating things for me is again with the marketing of the pup community. You see a lot, a little bit is narcissistic, is that young, beautiful pups. Young, beautiful pups. Young, beautiful pups. Look. I don’t look this way. I’m 250 pounds and out of shape, or I’m five foot five. I’m six-seven. I can’t be a pup. That’s one of the things that I get frustrated about.
In the earlier years, it’s very accepting, because there wasn’t a lot of us. Now with it being mass marketed and social media and image, image, image, my concern is like with any other mass media marketing is we’re possibly developing an image problem, image issues in the pup community.
Speaker 1:Absolutely. The pup has become a commodity.
KirkBrue Pierce:It is. It’s becoming this young, streamlined, slender in shape, buff pup. That concerns me, because the community, what I love to say about it is it’s not a cookie cutter community. It’s all shapes, all sizes, all ethnicities, all genders. It’s all accepting. That’s what I loved about it. Again, my observation these past few years, it just seems like it’s going that route. I’m just a little concerned about that.
Speaker 1:There’s a lot of whippets. There’s not enough Saint Bernards.
KirkBrue Pierce:Yes. Yes.
Speaker 1:Or a lot of maybe pit bulls or mastiffs.
KirkBrue Pierce:Also here’s a thing too is way back when, time rolls, we didn’t have gear.
Speaker 1:Yeah. Yeah.
KirkBrue Pierce:Back then, we just had a stick. That was our toy. It was true, back then, we just had the basic gear. Hopefully knee pads, hopefully mitts. We didn’t have hoods. We didn’t have collars. What we had, we had the drive and the passion and the acceptance of, oh my god, again, there wasn’t a lot of us. It was just great to run into somebody else.
KirkBrue Pierce:Male, female, disabled, it didn’t matter. It’s just oh my god. You know? Nowadays, again, my observations with the evolution of this community, it seems to get more and more gear focused, which I think part of it is business driven, which makes sense. You know? Levi’s, hello, pants. Everybody wears blue jeans. So it’s the evolution of that. I get it. At the same time, I get concerns about it, because then to somebody who’s new to the scene thinks that it’s mandatory that you have to have a hood and a collar and a tail and everything else to be a pup. You don’t. You just have to have the drive and the passion.
Speaker 1:And the willingness to give a bash, have a go.
KirkBrue Pierce:Yeah, that’s probably it. That’s why to a lot of pups out there, if you think you’re a pup or handler, try it. Go for it. You don’t need this. I just happen to be lucky to have this. You don’t need this. You don’t need the hoods. You don’t need the gear. You just need you. You just need that heart.
Speaker 1:Yeah. Where do you see the pup scene in the next 10 years?
KirkBrue Pierce:Exploding. Where do I see it? Continuing to grow. I think it will peak out at some point, just like any fad, trend, it will peak out. I really think cosplay superheroes the next trend that’s coming down the line that’s going to maybe take over puppy, that will be the next big thing. I really see that. Where from here? I actually don’t know.
Speaker 1:My pack attended Comic Con in Sydney as a pack. It was really amazing to be stopped and to be photographed. It’s like, okay, sure, and we met two wonderful pups, who were also at Comic Con. One of them, Anna, I hope you’re watching this, she was actually wearing a wild boar mask. She was so excited. She ran across. She was like, “Oh my god. I can’t believe it’s you guys!” To me, those things are very touching as well, when that happens. It’s like wow. I’ve actually made a difference. She’s become a great friend and a strong connected person within Australia. I think cosplay is certainly … Let’s face it. It is a form of cosplay. Superhero pups, how cool is that?
KirkBrue Pierce:That would be very cool, actually.
Speaker 1:[inaudible 00:08:30]. Yeah. I agree that I think that at the moment, there are a lot of people who come into it not necessarily for what people like yourself and myself would see as core values of human pup life.
KirkBrue Pierce:Again, my observation, but I’m kind of seeing what we call the biped pups and the four-legged pups. What I mean by that is we have the four-legged pups, who get down all fours, who romp, who go for walks, who bark, who growl, who sleep, who imbue the pup lifestyle. Then we have the biped pups who like words, the terminology, maybe the social interaction, maybe the gear, but not that part. They don’t get it or want it or desire the moshing on all fours. That’s not them. I think that’s what I’m noticing the evolution now is that there’s a split happening to where you have this bar or [event 00:09:33] pup, and then you have this other group that actually lives the lifestyle.
Speaker 1:I agree. I wonder whether sometimes it’s important that we don’t 100% dismiss the people who just buy the gear, because you never know.
Speaker 1:You never know. I can go back to 2009, where I bought my first pup cord here at Mr. S, and it lived in a plastic bag underneath the bed until I met my handler. I had a partner who wasn’t supportive or didn’t understand why I would have that, but I knew that … It’s like I have to have that hood. There’s something in that that’s for me. I wonder sometimes to people maybe it’s fear of the gear and they don’t quite know what to do with it.
KirkBrue Pierce:I think fear of situation, or-
Speaker 1:Or it might just be that they like this buckle, who knows? How can we best support the quad peds or the all four pups, because I would hate for them to think that they’re being pushed out by the pretty, or pushed out by the muscle pup, when if you’re a sexy, furry Saint Bernard, then I think it’s important that you know that you’re welcome, and that you’re included? How do we best do that?
KirkBrue Pierce:I don’t know. I mean, just keep being you. Keep being social. Keep trying. CLAW’s coming up here, Cleveland Leather Alliance Weekend, this weekend. Kind of what I commented on a post is just be yourself, but present people with your expectations, your wants, goals, needs. If you’re shy, trust me, there’s 30 other people just as shy as you. They’re probably just like you, waiting for somebody to come up to him. Take initiative. Yeah, you see the pretty pups. Try and say hello. If they don’t respond, try the next person. Try the next person. Don’t stop at one. Also, just because they say no, don’t take it personally, because you don’t know what’s going on in their life. You don’t know if they have an exclusive monogamous relationship. You don’t know if he has protocols where he’s not allowed to talk or interact with people, or his mother just died and he’s in his own head space trying to deal with things right now, or he just had this amazing sex encounter.
Speaker 1:He’s worn out.
KirkBrue Pierce:And he’s worn out. If you’re not living in those other people’s shoes, if you approach the pretty ones, or you approach the average ones, or whatever, approach people, but if they say no, don’t take offence to it. Just move on, because again, there’s 30 other, or 29 other people that are hoping you will say yes or come talk to them. I hear that a lot, “Oh I’m shy. I’m shy. Talk to me. I’m shy.” Don’t use that as an excuse. The pup community is so social, so great at being social. Try. Just try.
Speaker 1:Absolutely. RuPaul interviewed John Waters recently and the quote that stuck in my head was, “Nos are free. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.” If somebody says no, it’s like, fine, but what if they say yes? What if you actually meet the person that’s like, “Oh my god. So you’re a superhero pup as well. What superhero are you?” Then the two of you are going to be lifelong friends.
Speaker 1:It’s like [inaudible 00:13:15]. ‘
KirkBrue Pierce:So back to your question, how to support it. I guess by being supportive. It may not be your thing, but maybe you can offer space. Maybe you can, “Hey, I don’t handle, but you’re my friend and I see you and you want to pup out. I can handle you for an afternoon. I could engage with you a little bit.” There’s another term that came up at puppies in the mountains a few years ago. This one attendee came up with puppy sitter, which I really love and I want to get it into the culture. Puppy sitters, think like grandparents, where you get all the benefits of the kids. You get all the benefits of the puppy-
Speaker 1:And you can hand him back.
KirkBrue Pierce:And you can hand him back, because that’s the responsibility of the handler. A puppy sitter where I can spend an afternoon with you or an evening and let you pup out or have fun, but then you can go off and hopefully find somebody who’ll actually spend more investment into you. Find some puppy sitters. Find friends or find events. Here in San Francisco, they’ve created this new Second Saturday Love called Woof, where we’re moshing now at the bar. Anybody who wants to come out and try it, there’s mats down. You can come and try it. You can talk to people. Find events near you. Support them. Find people online. Recon, pup zones, whatever, puppy 101, Facebook groups. Just approach people or put things out there. “Hey, I’m new. I’m not sure what to do.” Trust me. There’s people that will come and offer advice or opinion.
Speaker 1:Absolutely. We have spoken for coming up to an hour.
Speaker 1:Which is incredible. It’s like we’re in the talk about pup zone. To wrap it up, if you could share one or two choice pears of wisdom from quite an incredible journey that you’ve had within the pup community, what would you offer?
KirkBrue Pierce:Words of wisdom.
Speaker 1:Or the touching moment with the chap in the wheelchair, how amazing is that?
KirkBrue Pierce:Well for me, I don’t know if this is pearls of wisdom, but so my wolf has to remind me a lot, because I get so focused. When I’m doing events and moshes, I just … I’m one of those people. I’m kind of like Julie, the cruise director, where I want to make sure everyone has a good time. I put my heart and soul. I want to make sure everyone has a good time, that I burn myself out a lot. Then I wonder if I did anything. My wolf has to remind me of the ripple effect is that believe it or not, your act of kindness, your one person you approached to educate, guide, or whatever, makes a difference.
That would be one of my pearls of wisdom is you make a difference. Believe it or not, you may not see it, but your simple act of engaging in human kindness to somebody and answering a question, lending a hand, showing up at an event, supporting your pup community makes a difference. You make a difference. That ripple effect happens. You may not know it, and trust me, a lot of times, I didn’t know it until I go to an event or somebody sends me an email. I’ve posted some emails in the wolf camp site, but that have made me cry, that I had no idea that my little gesture made such a world difference to them. [inaudible 00:16:53] is you make a difference. Do something.
Speaker 1:I have to be very thankful that this is being recorded in the middle of the Mr. S showroom, right? Mr. S has been very supportive of the pup community. I think thanks to Mr. S for allowing us to be able to use this space. Is there any exciting new things … Like I’m super excited about the neoprene. It looks great.
KirkBrue Pierce:The new neoprene hood came out. I’ve had a feeling that they were going to blow up the internet with it and they did. There are some things coming up, but I can’t talk about it, but there are some things coming down the line.
KirkBrue Pierce:Keep your ears up, your eyes open.
Speaker 1:Now I know that you’ve said that you’re taking a slightly more-
Speaker 1:Back burner position, but I don’t believe that for a minute.
Speaker 1:If a pup wanted to speak with you, or if a pup wanted to contact with you, what’s the best way that they could do that?
KirkBrue Pierce:They can try through Facebook. I’m not the most social savvy person. I just discovered messages from six months ago on Facebook. I didn’t know it had a second or a separate-
Speaker 1:Oh that silly hidden-
KirkBrue Pierce:Hidden! I had no idea about this hidden thing and all these messages. I’m trying to answer all of them. I would probably say you can still go to Wolf Camp, the email, I still look at that. Wolf Camp itself, the event, is not there, but the site, I’m leaving up for historical purposes, but I still look at emails there.
Speaker 1:What’s the new reincarnation-
KirkBrue Pierce:The reincarnation is called off leash.
Speaker 1:Oh good.
KirkBrue Pierce:So it’s called off leash. If you look on Facebook or Google it, off leash IML, it should come up. I’m excited to see … Actually I won’t be going this year. I’m actually, again, I’m taking a year off from IML, because I’ve been going for over 20 somewhat years. I’ll be excited to hear what happened. One of the positive event [inaudible 00:19:10] changes is that he’s moved it to day time.
Speaker 1:Oh cool.
KirkBrue Pierce:I’ll be very curious to see how that goes.
Speaker 1:Fantastic. Watch this space.
KirkBrue Pierce:Yes, watch this space [inaudible 00:19:19].
Speaker 1:Kirk Brue Pierce, thank you so much for taking the time and what you’ve contributed to the community.
KirkBrue Pierce:Thank you.