Pet Corner: a_mara and Tinker

How long have you identified as a handler, pet, or both?

AM: I have been an owner for four years.

T:   Tinker has identified as a puppy for five years: a Big Doggo! Blue Heeler mix.

What makes you the happiest in your identity?

AM: I enjoy the sense of connection between Owner and pup. Sharing an extremely personal experience without expectation of reward. 

T: Tinker enjoys the sense of freedom she gets when she is in pup mode… and cuddles, lots and lots of cuddles.

What is your favorite activity?

AM &T:  Playtime, when we can get it. Life tends to get in the way. 

What rituals/protocols/items/gear helps you get into the right head-space?

AM &T:  Sharing the quiet, focused moments when putting on Tinker’s collar or hood before teaching, playtime, bedtime, etc. 

What is the hardest thing about being a handler/pet/both?

AM &T:  Communication, whether in human mode or pup mode.

What is something the biological pet/animal that you identify with does, that you wish you could do too? 

T: Shake off water after a shower… Tink gets dizzy.

Handler, if you could build a mini zoo of 3 favorite species of pets, what would they be and why? 

AM: Bears, great apes, and sheep. Bears because they are noble, sociable, and very protective of their families. Great Apes, for their emotional socialization and their ability to think around a problem. Sheep, because they are species that my puppy can herd around and can be fed to the former.

What advice would you like to pass on to new handlers or pets?

AM &T:  Communication is very important. It’s difficult but only because it is that important. Communication is the building block of any relationship. 

What learning resources have you found most beneficial?

AM &T:  Search engines are wonderful things when you can’t speak or don’t feel comfortable enough with another person to talk to but the information you gather doesn’t mean anything until you can sort out what you like by actually, physically going to experience it. Going to as many educational seminars/classes as possible on the subject. Not being afraid to ask questions, the only wrong question is the one you didn’t ask. 

a_mara (she/her) and Tinker (puppy)

Are you at least


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