Furries 2018: My Herd and Soul

8 Jul

In a world where animals can talk, where goats and dragons date, and where a secret society of rodents (allegedly) lives in Walmart, anything can happen, so it’s important that you find your herd. LUCKILY for me, I already have mine. This year, I wrote a preparation e-mail and sent it out to all of my flock so they would know what to expect. Here’s a blog hyping it all up.



And here are some reviews:

“I felt like I was living a dream I didn’t even know I had!” – Katie B. (Tail-y Swift)

“A weekend full of highlights” – Helen (EnthusiasTICK)

“I ex-fur-cised my body, mind, and soul.” – wee Emily (Em-azing)

“The only weekend of my year where I got both stronger and more cuddly.” – Patrick (Paws)

“Every year it exceeds our impossibly high expectations!” – EnthusiasTICK (see above)



The convention started on Thursday, but Patrick arrived on Monday to help plan our adventfurs — or “earscapades,” if you will. That “fur”st night, the two of us were up until 3:30am, chatting and having fun when we realized that we had FORGOTTEN TO PLAN MONDAY!!  Shoot.   We had been so excited but now… we also were going to be so tired. Ah, well, the best laid plans forgot to account for the entire week. #lessonsfornextyear #ITWASWORTHIT

As more of the herd came trickling in, Anthrocon began in style: at the Dream Flat brainstorming, making a snack pack (which, just to be clear, is a backpack full of snacks), and ensuring all of the food we had was going to get eaten.


Fur real, wearing a pair of ears increases brainstorming capacity.



The Best Kind of Graffiti.



Furry Friendships!

Everyone on our crew had a role.   During that initial brainstorming sesh, some of us became food distrubution pillars.  Helen, Sammi, Patrick and Katie were just that, meaning, we weren’t going to let anything in our fully-stocked house go to waste.  “Let’s move some watermelon, people!”, said Katie, and we did.  Helen and I ate cereal (that was pretty much dessert) with lots of milk (so much milk).  In addition, since Patrick hearts snacks, he had put himself in charge of the snack pack (a backpack full of snacks).  “Does anyone one want any hardboiled eggs?”, texted Patrick like the good food distrubution pillar that he was, 30 minutes after we had all left the house and eaten a hearty breakfast.  We looked over at him and laughed (he had texted us while we were all in the same room).  He had a smile on his face and eggs in his hand.  Katie made a gorgeous list of house food and house rules (3. HAVE FUN “Don’t tamp* my tail**.”), and Colleen was in charge of making a bathing schedule and keeping us to it (with only one shower in the house, each of us furries had to clean our tails in a timely manner.) 


Using some of our snacks as brainfood, that first night we came up with the idea to play some Furry Bingo this year at the convention so as not to wander aimlessly, because you know, it’s a jungle out there.



This new game we created gave us a challenge, a focus, an activity all weekend, and a lively group thread.


Most of this blog, from here on out is going to be pictures and if you’re a part of the herd, you’ll catch the references.  Otherwise, enjoy the visuals. I think they’re joyful and surreal.  The scene is set in Pittsburgh…



The furries, making reality more romantic.  
“I can’t believe we just get to live here.” – ‘mi
“Yes! I’m just a short 8 hour mega bus ride away.” – Katie B


Walking to the convention center that fist day, it was clear how much Pittsburgh loves the furries! There were police, ambulances, humans (without tails) in cars, all honking at us, waving, and smiling.  WELCOME, FURRIES!!!!  


Crikey! A pack of wild furries caught in their natural habitat.



We’re off to see the furries!



“It is the best holiday of the year” – Bel (Helen)
(This year, Bel and Emily took Friday off of work!!!)



The Convention Center watering hole: But DON’T drink the water. We’re animals…not savages.


We knew that inside, we would be joining the really slow, tame stampede which definitely couldn’t kill Mufasa. #spoilers



A bird’s–I mean an elephant’s-eye view of our stomping grounds.


My phone cover case was so fluffy and hot — but it matched the theme of the weekend…It was a furry!  You’ll see it in the corner of the above picture and all throughout the other photos in this blog.



Emily from the front at her first — and definitely not last — Anthrocon.


We went to the opening ceremonies where Dr. Samuel Conway, the organizer of Anthrocon declared in this magical, accurate quote: “We’re not crazy,” he said, “We’re just individuals who like having fun!”  I couldn’t agree more!!!  LOOK AT ALL THIS FUN:





Don’t let the big paws fool you, they’re a bunch of teddy bears!



Only time I want to see a jungle cat this close up.



Cat(s) nap?



Never seen a cooler otter…I mean just look at how he’s sitting.



Except maybe this otter…who is also a bat!  Part otter, part bat.



Katie (aka Tail-y Swift) saw Otterbat too 🙂



Spotted: Furiosa (Colleen) in the wild!!



Macro furries.


So after a full day walking around the convention center, doing furry things, and checking off the Bingo sheet, we called it a night and went back to the Dream Flat to snuggle like the true pack that we are.


Smartbo helping EnthusasTICK love the snuggles.


We lounged a bit, and I stayed really hydrated by drinking out of every open container I saw…because that’s “the best part of being the hostess, drinking all of the open available drinks.”  #hostessperks The more guests you have, the more variety of beverages! Katie figured out that I hate labels though, so she told everyone the best way to keep their drinks safe was to a) label it or b) keep active guard.

When it was finally time for bed — and we all welcomed it; we were exhausted — we snuggled onto two air mattresses, two beds, and a couch to accommodate all of the animals in our herd. But, even with adherence to the schedule, I didn’t get enough sleep. I never sleep enough during the furries. There is always someone I LOVE who is willing to stay up late and talk and someone else I LOVE who is willing to wake up early and snuggle. And I’ll do both every. single. time.



Fur family cuddles in our den.


This year, we decided to add exercise to the schedule to keep us fit and healthy, so in the morning, we woke up ready for a worksnout. We had a fursonal trainer, and everyone had the option to work out for an hour (but you had to wear tails and ears, obviously). Katie used a smaller pair of ears for the worksnouts.

Overheard on the way to the ex-fur-cise park…
Katie:   These are my workout ears!
Helen:  Every girl needs a pair!

Everyday was a really hard workout, but we pushed through like the BEASTS that we are; although, we were sore all day long. When asked where, Molly (Bone Sandwich) said, “I’m sore in the center. In the middle of my center.”



“I’m sore in my haunches and my cheeks.” – Bone Sandwich


After the workout, we had a quick cat-shower (like a cat-nap, only wetter), we took breakfast to go, and then it was time for DAY TWO!!!!!



Merry Fur-day, ya filthy animals!! (but not really filthy, because we had a bathing schedule. Thanks, Colleen)



Howl always love you guys.



Have you herd? We’re the coolest pack around, so says we. #Avengers


One of the squares that should’ve been on the Bingo sheet but that wasn’t was “Start a Furry Trend.” At one point, we were all trying to find each other at the convention, and we started howling so that we would know where our other herd members were. AND GUESS WHAT? Everyone on the convention floor started howling too. Is that amazing or what? Inspired by goals that we didn’t even know we had. Here are other times that we crawled around aiming to cross items off of our Bingo sheet:

We met an interspecies couple! Tail-y Swift and Em-azing got to hear the love story between a dragon and a goat.


Dragon + Goat: An Interspecies Love Story.


Emily got a signature by a furlebrity — a famous furry who we met in the RODENTS! talk.



Starstruck by a Rodent!



On the hunt for the perfect tail


We found a shark to follow on Instagram!



Platypus & Shark wearing matching shoes… they must be friends. Told you anything could happen.


Another bingo win came when I “weaseled” (hehe) my way into a picture with over 5 full-suiters!



Find me behind the furrr!!


Of course, being on the hunt is hard work, and we didn’t factor in any coffee breaks into the schedule this year. So we found ourselves taking a few breaks to rest and enjoy a snack from the snack pack (a backpack full of snacks).



Smartbo had to take her ears off every now and again — they’re heavy! Point me in the direction of the Headless Zone, please.



You can’t fur-get to rest!



Bumblecoon and co.  –  “Molly, here, I got you something”, threw it on the bed and walked outta the room.



The absherd.


I was determined not to be another elephant statistic and, as Smartbo — not Dumbo —  I decided to name off a few other famous smart elephants…There was Babar… Mrs. Babar (who did get shot, but that’s beside the point), Dumbo’s mom… you know, there are probably more I just can’t think of them right now. I mean, there are definitely more.  There are more.  I’ll think of more. #opentohelpwithbrainstorming #trumpetingsound



Not the only famous elephant.


We also decided to watch wee bit of the world cup! And I made up an elephant dance.



Make sure you sit in front of Smartbo if you’re trying to see the screen.



EnthusiasTICK was always excusing herself to address the elephant in the room and I was all ears.



Didn’t mean to hoover, but I was really digging this moose.


Some talks TALK:

On that first day we went to the Scalies talk (everyone made their way over there while Molly and I ran back to prevent anyone in our herd from getting a ticket because THE FUN IS IN THE RUSHING!)  We missed the talk, BUT from what I herd [lol, pun], everyone who went to the talk now thinks they are party Scaly except Patrick.  Right before it was her turn to share Bella (Helen) turned to Patrick to let him know she felt nervous.  Patrick responded with:
“You think you’re sweating!? I’m sitting in a dog suit at a Scalies talk!!”
And then! Patrick continues, “it becomes Helen’s turn and Helen says, in front of everyone — while dressed as a giraffe — that she thinks she’s part dragon.” Ha! Give it up for 2018 Helen, figuring out her fur-dentity!



Let the scalies do the talkin’.



Raptor Jesus Delizard Us From Evil



Helen, is that you?!


We also went to the Bird’s talk, and we decided that a well-done bird costume is the flyest of them all. Colleen even bought a macaw suit for next year!!



Trading in the tail for a couple of wings.



Do birds need scarves?



May the stork be with you


Going to all of the talks was really informative, and we learned a ton! We learned about the Skull furries, the Milfurs, and the Aces (asexuality). Patrick took empathy to a whole other level and now we can tell people “we are a bartender; We are a teacher.” ❤

Even though we went to a lot of talks and learned a lot about the different types of furries, our favorite talk this (and every year) was the RODENTS! talk. And no, the all caps and exclamation point does not signify my enthusiasm. They write their name like that — RODENTS! — and I love it. This was the best forum where I really get to know my friends. Both Katies and Molly participated as well as Colleen. They had never had a mole in the room before either, which was exciting for both us AND them (thank you, Bone Sandwich!). Colleen — a black panther — apologized to the RODENTS! for her previously destructive behavior (furry dare completed; checked that off the Bingo sheet). The rest of the herd sat listening with awe.  WHAT A YEAR!!!

A non-rodent — a jackal — walked in late to the meeting group and there was a stir.  But someone in the meeting said, “No, it’s cool! He’s my roommate,” to which the leader of the group responded “Oh, so you can vouch for him? Then it’s cool.”  But it wasn’t cool.  He aways had to hold his tongue out to speak and and Squirrelly Diamond (who most identifies with squirrel’s fluffy tails) kept fact-checking to see if the non-rodent was, indeed, telling the truth. (hint:  HE WAS NOT)

We also learned about the rats of Walmart, which I previously alluded to.  Those are a group of rats that live in Walmart and only come out after Walmart (which is open 24 hrs) closes.


Fievel goes West(ern Pennsylvania).


During the talk, the head rat recalled the time he became a rat. “Thirteen years ago — I can’t remember the exact day —  but I became a rat.” He says. Helen turns to me and remarks, “Um, yeah, I think I would remember the exact day.”

I laughed.  I mean…she’s not wrong. Seems important.

Another time, we were talking about specifics of being a rodent and Helen almost called out an Opossum sitting in the back for thinking he belonged here.  #marsupial But at the last minute figured it might trigger an identity crisis so she kept her dragon mouth shut.  Although, it’s easy to see why the Opossum thought he was a rodent — anyone that attends the RODENTS! talk thinks they are probably a rodent, because, as I keep mentioning, the head rat is amazing.

After the talk, Helen and I debriefed.  “There were a lot of times when I was sitting in the RODENTS! talk I found myself sincerely saying “that’s a good point” or like ” I agree with that” or “Wow! I hadn’t thought of it that way”  to these really CrAzY questions and answers . We learned a lot.



Over the next few days, we really got working on our bingo sheet.



We were on a mission!


Helen got to put on a head!



It’s no dragon, but it’ll do.


And EnthusasTICK and Emily found a full-suiter, Bizzy, to bring to our favorite bar, The Warren, which is amazing and supports the furries! They even hung an Anthrocon sign to welcome us!



Bingo! Found a full-suiter to be an honorary member of our herd.



Look at that SIGN!  How could this not be our favorite bar?!



Fluffin’ each others’ tails.


Another time when we were out to eat, a guy named DJ Yoda Fat came up to Molly and said that they had a mutual friend on Facebook. Katie D. said, “Is it Sammi? Because we all also have one mutual friend here, too.” Turns out, the mutual friend was Helen, and when we all turned to look at her it was abundantly  clear she didn’t know who Yoda Fat was. She turned bright red and after a beat said said, “Oh, hello again.”

Beyond playing Furry Bingo, the weekend was filled with spontaneous fun, and we purrrticipated in events that we didn’t even know we wanted to do until we did them — like being asked to be involved in a chain-tail fashion show.  We hadn’t considered non-fluffy tails up to this point. 



Emily, gotta fluff them all!


We ate a lot of food (would it be my blog if I didn’t talk about the food?) Of course there was the snack pack (a backpack full of snacks) and the food distribution pillars.   But we also organized other aspects of the food differently this year, like getting orders in advance and having lunches and dinner delivered right to the Con.



Only eating fish this weekend because we’re not cannibals.



Birthday Katie!



Vietnamese Grubhub pre-ordered for the WIN.



Recently, Arcade Comedy Theater had an auction, which I bid on and WON. The prize was that the troop made my life into a musical and I decided, with all my besties there, that furry weekend was the time to use the prize.  I got called up on stage, interviewed (with help from Molly because I did not want to go on stage by myself), and then the entire herd (including me) got to watch a hilarious, well-done musical comedy featuring my best friends played by actors.

We were introduced to Colleen with purple hair (uncanny), Molly the comforter, and PCP (Peace Corps Patrick).  Helen was distinctly missing on stage but she sat next to me in the audience, holding my hand. We all felt like our hearts were so full they could burst.



The interview.



My real life friends played by real life comedians.



Watching the show, beaming with joy.


After the show, my herd went to the furry rave and danced our tails off 😉







Foxy ladies.



The party was hoppin’.



Anthrocon? More like AnthroPRO!



Look at those ear headbands on EnthusiasTICK’s leg.






Snuggles AND cuddles.


Another WONDERFUL thing happened. During the convention, Helen found out that she got accepted into the Pittsburgh Comedy Fest!!!



Smilin’ from ear to ear — the ones at the top.





Overall, I had THE BEST time with my herd — fluffin’ tails, tradin’ ears (insidEAR trading?), eatin’ snacks from the snack pack (everybody, say it with me: A BACKPACK FULL OF SNACKS!!), and loving “OUR CITY!” as Katie B. (who comes here quarterly) calls Pittsburgh.



Bunch of animals.



Ruh Roh! Someone furgot their ears….



Best friends furever!



Smiling cus Nina did not end up in Philadelphia for Anthrocon.



Does the person choose the ears or do the ears choose the person?



The fur gods shining down on us.



Couldn’t be happifur!



Friends who tail together stay together.



You can be any animal you want… in fact, you can be TWO AT ONCE. I present to you: girelephant.



In the Dealers room. Tip for Friday next year: It stays open one hour later than the art show.



Giving me PAWS.



This was the best year yet.  Everyone in the herd gave it 2 paws up! Honestly. I thought it couldn’t get any better BUT THEN IT DID ! ! ! ! ! ! !


Furisky, part Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and part elephant



Stay furry, my fur-ends.

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