A beautiful truth is that we never get too old to experience new things. If you're open minded and try to get out there, there are all kinds of opportunities to discover parts of the world and communities you never even knew existed. Just like this guy's mom did when she took her dog Link to the Motor City Furry Convention last week.
Senior producer at New York Media, Kenny Wassus, shared these delightful images of Link having an out-of-body experience on Twitter, as he's surrounded by humans in dog costumes, sent to him by his mother, Cheryl Wassus. Cheryl works for Pets For Vets, an animal therapy group for war veterans.
The Furry Con had chosen Pets For Vets as their charity, because dressing up and hanging out in a banquet hall isn't enough of an event in itself, apparently. NY Mag reports that the Con raised about $10,000 for the organization, as well as raising Cheryl's awareness about certain subcultures. She gave a very funny interview about her experience, seeming respectful yet amused.
Cheryl says that before the event, she had never heard of furries aside from the "gigantic Easter-bunny costumes at a local egg hunt" in her neighborhood. Based on the name, she expected to be representing her organization at an animal convention. Link is a trained therapy dog, but he's young and she likes to take him into new situations so he can get comfortable with the unexpected. They were both tested that day.
"This is just a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed," said Cheryl, "When we set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach, I had no idea the outreach was going to be other human … furry people. I guess you’re never too old to learn."
But what about Link? How did he deal under fire? Cheryl says, "It was a little embarrassing at first because Link was just a little curious why people were wearing tails, so he was doing some serious tail-sniffing and checking out people. They weren’t offended, though, they just embraced him. It was all good. Just a real interested community." They sure are.
Cheryl mentions that Link did seem a bit nervous at times, probably because it seemed like he was surrounded by giant dogs. She was particularly worried about the guy above in a "black wolf costume" but despite appearances, she says they got on fine. She says it was her favorite costume and the guy "seemed to really enjoy Link" as well. The convention sure did:
Despite the sexual aspect of furry culture that many people outside of it are familiar with, there are also a number of people who use their costumes as a way to have friendly interactions they might not be able to face on their own. Cheryl says she spoke with the mother of one furry who told her that her son had difficulty in social situations before discovering furry cons.
"Her son got into it," explains Cheryl, "And she said sometimes they [furries] don’t have the confidence to move around comfortably — socially, in groups — but they put on these costumes, and they’re transformed."
Cheryl says that the furry convention didn't stir any new interests in her, but she did enjoy her experience there. Link has also recovered. Maybe one day he'll be able to enjoy furries as much as this doggo: