Man who chooses to live like a dog eats from a bowl and barks at friends in the street
The saying 'it's a dog's life' describes a miserable and overworked existence - but one person who can dispute this is Kaz James, who chose to live his best life as a dog.
The 37-year-old store manager believes he is a "human pup," regularly wearing a £2,000 ($2,600) dog suit, eating his meals out of a dog bowl and greeting his friends by barking, licking and biting them.
While many people in the outside world may think this is all a little strange, Kaz insists that he grew up always feeling "weird" and unable to relate to others, before beginning to live as a part-time pooch in his late teens.
Nowadays, he is a confident canine, who feels "liberated" with his lifestyle choice and has even set up his own Kennel Klub.
"I didn’t ever feel like a human, I always felt like a dog that was really out of place," Kaz, from Salford, Greater Manchester, UK, said. "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."
He continued: "I was known by my friends for 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."
Things began to change for the self-professed "full-time orange, brown and camo K9" when the internet was installed in his home when he was 17.
Kaz, who is single, explained how he found his online pup-play community, saying: "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.
"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'.
"It’s an experience that a lot of pups I know have had - feeling really weird and strange about how they are and then finding other people and feeling a lot better about it."
After meeting like-minded pups online, Kaz, author of How to train a human pup, finally felt like he fit in. After this, he ended up meeting his first 'owner' and moving him in with him and other friends.
The owner of two dogs himself, Kaz confessed: "It was quite a steep learning curve for my friends who had gone to school with me and seen me be relatively normal and then learn all these interesting things about me."
In the present day, the canine regularly snacks on Bonios and wears his two bespoke £400 ($525) rubber suits and dog leads, as well as his £2,000 ($2,600) custom-made fur suit which was shipped over from Canada.
Kaz, who describes traveling in his rubber suits as "walking around wearing a carpet," now feels a "sense of peace about being a human pup," and says he gets great reactions when out and about in his gear.
"It’s very much a form of self-expression, what I choose to wear depends on what I’m doing," he says. "If I’m going to work I’m picking things that are fairly mild like a t-shirt that says ‘pup’ on the front. It’s an extension of myself and dressing how I feel."
He added: "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."
The pooch admits that people from outside the community can mistake human pups purely as a fetish, but insists movement focuses largely on reconnecting with childhood fun and even romance.
If you want to find out more about what a dog's life is really like, you can even hang out with the human dog at his Kennel Klub - you never know, Kaz says you might even end up embracing your inner pup!
"We do get people who just show up because they’re interested in it, have a few drinks with everyone and chat about stuff," he said. "By the end of the night they’ll be on the floor with tennis balls in their mouths!"