In the digital age, no aspect of our lives needs to be hidden for fear that it’s too unique—too strange—to be understood. With Earth connected through technology, we’re allowed to communicate on a scale never before possible in human history. We’re empowered to tell potentially every person on the planet what we’re up to, sending our thoughts and feelings, our ideas and dreams, into what used to appear to be an uncaring void, knowing now that their match might be found somewhere out there among the billions of our species
We can, in short, create social media accounts and show everyone how much money we spent to fulfill the dream of being a Rough Collie in hopes that they will see in us a kindred spirit.
A man who goes by “Toko” has done just that. Having spent, according to a Yahoo! News article, ¥2,000,000 (about $15,400 USD) on a lifelike dog costume, he’s now taken to the internet to show off his work and, presumably, seek out the global pack of fur-covered maniacs to which he belongs.
Last month, Toko demonstrated what the final result looks like. To a soft jazz soundtrack, we see him walk and lie down on the floor of a minimally decorated room, the collie suit’s eyes blank and unseeing and giving the video the overall effect of witnessing a beloved pet defy mortality to live on without its soul intact. In other clips, we’re shown Toko The Rough Collie as he rolls around with stuffed animals or demonstrates the tricks he knows for a disembodied human hand. (“Sometimes,” as Stephen King wrote, “dead is better.”)
While furries are nothing new, the abstraction that their suits’ cartoon features create, we now know, a very important bit of distance between reality and its staunch opposition. Toko, though, was determined not to grant onlookers that kind of psychic reprieve. The Yahoo! News article translates and quotes from a Japanese interview Toko gave to Mynavi in which the dogman explains the lengths he went to achieve his stated goal of “[fulfilling] my dream of becoming an animal!”
Toko, who says he loves “quadrupedal animals, especially cute ones,” decided that a Rough Collie suit would work best because its “long hair can ‘mislead the human figure.’” He commissioned a prop and costume-making company called Zeppet for the project and, following 40 days of work and “multiple rounds of revisions,” ended up with a uniquely compelling dog suit.
As you watch videos of The Rough Collie, take solace in the fact that, if nothing else, Toko decided to avoid an even darker path and refused to join the ranks of those eye-blistering “humanimals” in pursuit of his dream. For that, at least, we can be grateful.
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