Handler David |||

As a Handler, I like to explore new and unique ways for individuals to engage in pet play, especially those who do not necessarily view themselves as pets. One concept that I believe is worth further investigation is the idea of a communal Handler.

What Is a Communal Handler?

A communal Handler (as I’d define it) is a Handler shared by a community. Another way to describe this subrole is that a communal Handler is adopted” by a community rather than the Handler adopting” specific pets. That is, the Handler assumes a role as a caretaker to their community rather than specific pets like a traditional Handler might.

Despite the difference in how the Handlership” is directed, communal Handlers and traditional Handlers have more in common than what sets them apart. Communal Handlers (like traditional Handlers) should have respect for their community and its members, be mindful of consent and power dynamics, and be committed to the care of their community. These tenets, while perhaps directed in a different way, still ring true regardless of who (or what) is being handled.

Communal Handlers and Trainers

One may question how trainers and communal Handlers differ. In my opinion, the difference is subtle yet significant: commitment. A communal Handler has a commitment to care for their community as a traditional Handler would with a pup whereas a trainer typically doesn’t have that commitment. To put it another way, a communal Handler commits to the care and protection of their community on an ongoing basis whereas a trainer is free to float” between pets and communities without commitment to any particular entity.

How Can I Become a Communal Handler?

As I see it, becoming a communal Handler may be trickier than becoming a more traditional Handler. That is, a communal Handler would need interest and acceptance from their community to assume their role. This could be easier in places where there isn’t much organization (especially if someone aspiring to be a communal Handler actively works to organize and develop their local community), but in places that already have some organization, it may take time and work. One great means of working towards becoming a communal Handler in either case would be to get involved in your local PAH group, or if no such group, exists, creating and leading your local PAH group. If you create or facilitate community for your local pets and Handlers, there’s a good chance the community will treat you with kindness and respect in return.

Closing Thoughts

While there are still some questions in my mind about how exactly a communal Handler could work in the broader pet play world and how to become a communal Handler, I think it’s worth sharing to start more dialogs on the subject. If you have thoughts, please feel free to reach out!

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