A mother who believed she was attending a local dog event ended up at a furry convention — a gathering for people who like dressing up as animals.
Cheryl Wassus, a former probation officer in Monroe, Mich., wanted to attend Motor City Furry Con on April 8 because proceeds from the event were donated to Pets for Vets, a nonprofit she works with, which pairs veterans with companion animals.
Wassus had brought along Link, her 1-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, hoping he would get to play with other animals. but when she arrived, she was introduced to “a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed,” she told New York magazine.
Instead of pets, Wassus encountered a large group of furries, otherwise known as anthropomorphics — people who identify as animals and dress like them in full-body costumes. According to a story published by Vanity Fair, people who are furries often found comfort in animals as children, share a bond through social networks, and even speak in their own language.
“Yeah, I had no idea I was walking into Furry Con,” Wassus told New York after her son, a reporter for the publication, tweeted about the event on April 8. “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.”
my mom thought furrycon was a pet event and volunteered w our therapy dog ???? pic.twitter.com/mizlydLxjl
— kenny wassus (@kgw) April 8, 2017
Wassus learned a lot about furry culture — how people first choose their names and start emulating their animal of choice slowly, with just a tail and ears. She also shared her favorite animal — a wolf costume with “Hollywood-level” detail — and spoke to the mother of a furry who explained that many furries feel misunderstood until they step into their costumes. “I saw little pieces of humanity I’d never seen before,” Wassus said.
While the convention clearly moved Wassus, when asked whether she’d be joining the movement any time soon, she said, “No, I don’t think so. No. You know, you get a little older, a little menopausal, and being in that many layers and layers of fur. No need to be overheating. I’m good.”
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