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Updated: 2 weeks 3 days ago

The dedicated watchdog: Moxxey reports online animal abuse (Part 3).

Wed 18 Aug 2021 - 10:00

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

The frustration is palpable. Moxxey publishes stories of atrocious behavior to animals, but how can it be stopped when huge websites have channels full of it?

Moxxey runs Rodent Club on Livejournal. Livejournal isn’t active like it was years ago, but citizen reporting can start anywhere, and reaching out from there is a good idea for an activist with a purpose. (I think he should also join the Trusted Flaggers in Part (2). And keep sharing cute pet stories for more notice!)

Moxxey returns comments about Part 1-2:

“This is a good start to helping expose and explain the problem that these social platforms are giving to animal cruelty perpetrators, and what needs to be done to fix this. A bit more needs to be said about small animal cruelty regarding hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, rabbits, baby birds, etc. Too often they’re not protected under cruelty laws or seen as not important because they are small creatures.

The Reptile Channel is just one of these horrific channels creating “live feeding” videos under the guise of education. It’s really cruel entertainment for a profit and a very twisted audience. No matter what you try to do to report it on the AI reporting systems for Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc., nothing ever gets done to remove the videos.

Even with an AI system, there’s no excuse for not having proper options to signify that when there’s animal cruelty — it’s time to get a human moderator involved! Facebook seems to have one of the worst reporting systems, which never give the proper option boxes to check, nor an explanation of what’s going on. They almost always respond, “Sorry we did not find the selected post to go against our community guidelines”. 🙁

What is needed is more news coverage by video, news pages and TV to let the public know what’s secretly going on with animal cruelty online.”

Rat tickling for science on Rodent Club. “The study offered new insight into play behavior, and how it is an important evolutionary trait among mammals.”

(Q&A): The Reptile Channel was my introduction to such themed channels for cruelty entertainment. What are some more examples?

From what I can see, there are at least 50 – 100 channels on Youtube using live feeding as an excuse for cruelty entertainment. My blog has reports on channels such as Reese Pythons, Raas Reptiles, Reptar’s Rampage, Golden Squad Feedings and more.

Golden Squad made a mock “Furs vs Scalies” basketball game video where he put live mice on a toy basketball hoop for his tegus to snatch up and kill. This monster and his audience thought it was funny, making a twisted Space Jam mockery with the suffering of real animals. He has teamed up with the Snake Meal cruelty channel to collab their efforts and get more viewers.

Is this still a problem when it’s necessary to feed personal pets?

Having worked in animal rescue for many years, I can say that the live feeding is unnecessary! Even the pickiest of predators can be trained to eat pre-killed food, but most owners are either too lazy to learn how, don’t care, or enjoy the cruelty. Many overfeed or feed at the wrong time. Some prey can injure or kill. Owners make poor choices, then scramble to give pets away.

There’s a lot of bad stuff on the net and it’s hard to track it all. How do you try to get companies to act? 

I’ve been busy reporting and screencapping the horrible videos, trying to contact Google execs and Susan Wojcicki the CEO of Youtube. I’ve written to people in US Congress and the Senate who are against animal cruelty, trying to get laws changed and ban live feeding. I’ve shared my petition against live feeding with all the governors in the USA and premiers in Canada.

Petition comment

I tried messaging Amazon about Raas Reptiles offering Amazon gift cards to people who post the funniest captions about the cruelty. I had thought this might trigger Amazon and put pressure on Youtube, because it puts them in a bad light, seeing their gift cards being rewards for it. They didn’t answer. I’ve tried reporting Paypal accounts: no answer. When my rescue friends and I reported Reptar’s Rampage (Ryan Ploof) as a fundraising violation to GoFundMe, they replied it was not in violation when we point out the cruelty it creates.

I have started screencapping commercial ads on Youtube playing during animal cruelty and sending them to advertisers to let them know their ads are part of funding this. Many companies have replied, saying that they don’t want to be associated and will contact Youtube about it. Hopefully this will have an effect, along with a petition and news story in The Guardian.

The Guardian: YouTube must remove videos of animal cruelty, says charity

“Getting the video-sharing platforms to remove the videos — or even provide a response — has proven frustratingly difficult. That’s why numerous animal welfare groups have banded together to form the Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition (SMACC) and bring an entire movement to the companies’ proverbial doorsteps.” – Press release on Ladyfreethinker.org

The SMACC website has resources like a category breakdown and volunteer submission area.

What do they act on?

Youtube actually did something when I flagged a guy who made a mock Thanksgiving video where he chucked a live turkey in with his huge Boa Constrictor snake, and that was removed within hours of it being flagged.

But Youtube has pretty much left up videos of rabbits getting bashed with a metal pipe by an angry owner because they bit him when he held them wrong. There’s versus videos of fighting between pets and wild animals, birds of prey vs small mammals, cats and or dogs vs each other or versus mice, rats or birds. People target shoot wild animals just for fun. Youtube has not removed any of them, even when I had 50 rescue friends flag a video!

It’s disgusting how useless their flagging system actually is. But it spots background music or TV/movie videos uploaded to their site with the fastest of speed and efficiency. I think that Youtube doesn’t care about cruelty or even human suffering like vehicle accident or brawl/fight videos which trolls edit and upload many different times in different variations.

I would think companies should be first to act on their own content. But I was told of a case where YouTube was so slow with escalation replies that after 4 months, an animal owner was arrested before they even read the email!  Can you say more about how much the system doesn’t help with?

In the past they’ve removed robot battle videos thinking they were animal abuse. As far as how many animal abuse channels there are, if there are lets say 100 small animal live feeding cruelty channels, then there are about twice or three times for sport hunting of the wildies, and I would say 500-1000 for cats, dogs, birds, monkeys and any other large animal you can imagine. We’ve got to be talking minimum 2000 cruelty channels, but from seeing all the recommended videos pop up it’s more likely to guess ten thousand plus.

Youtube’s system will automatically recommend these for families and kids, when all they want to watch are cute pets or wildlife frolicking in the yard or forest. Some Youtubers label their videos as pet videos, which sneaks them past Youtube reporting and they also want to gain more views by shocking the pet fandoms.

Data could make better cases. Do you know about average views or income for these channels?

For viewership, older well established channels sometimes have 10-25K views per video, while smaller/newer ones may average 100-200 views; probably about 1/3 are well established. For money Youtube pays out per channel, one analysis said that a Youtuber can make $3-$5 per 1000 views and that Youtube will pay out when $100 worth of views are reached, so that means a 20K video will pay out (or the sum of a bunch of videos together.) I have also seen quite a few advertise and link to TeeSpring, selling shirts with their logos.

It makes me wonder about requesting screening to approve animal channels (like from a vet, a school showing real education value, or animal welfare org).

Trying to put the word out to stop the cruelty is good enough. What we need is a way to inform people in charge, and if that doesn’t work, as many on-line media outlets, newspapers or news channels as possible.

MOXXEY’S LIST: YOUTUBE’S ANIMAL CRUELTY HALL OF SHAME

I have compiled a list of cruelty channels that I have come across and reported on so far. Many more were recommended by Youtube.

  • ojatro (1.17M)
  • Joseph Carter the Mink Man (1.18M)
  • Reptile Channel (530K)
  • DesertWolfArmory (201K)
  • Gatorpool Gators (78.5K)
  • Venom Wonderful (53.5K)
  • Reptars Rampage (45.9K)
  • ヘビのお食事ch Snake Meal Channel (15.5K)
  • Karl Jones (15.1K)
  • Reptile Feedings (14.7K)
  • Cali Varanus (12.7K)
  • Reeses Pythons (7.7K)
  • Raas Reptiles (6.18K)
  • venomman93 (4.04K)
  • Golden Squad feedings (2.86K)
  • Tyler Waskosky (2.8K)
  • Wild Charles (No subs listed, most viewed video is 3.5M)
  • Mouse Trap (No subs listed, most viewed video is 2.5M)

At time of posting, Moxxey’s most recent find is yet another cruelty channel that Youtube won’t remove: Irondogg Reptiles. It’s full of videos of feeding baby rats to frogs. The About page ironically denounces “hate” and “negativity”… do they protest too much?

A REAL POSITIVE CLOSING:

Part (2) shares National Geographic: How fake animal rescue videos have become a new frontier for animal abuse. Moxxey tells me that the activist organization Lady Freethinker has the support of National Geographic, who will be doing a TV episode to expose Youtube animal cruelty.

More news articles:

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Zoosadism Channel: A look at a trend of animal abuse on social media (Part 2).

Tue 17 Aug 2021 - 10:00

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

Huge platforms are letting it happen. It’s under their noses, according to this June 2021 report. National Geographic: How fake animal rescue videos have become a new frontier for animal abuse.

That’s disturbing at wide scale, because of how social media attention meets psychological escalation. Part (1) looked into the Omegle Cat Killer, where an investigator said: “Animal abusers have total power over that animal and, if someone is willing to be that cruel to an animal, evidence suggests they may target vulnerable humans as well,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, FBI Indianapolis.” — Kokomo Tribune

Despite such a warning about the extremes, it seems like the odds are against justice. A standout example among furries was Kero the Wolf, a popular Youtuber exposed in a zoosadist crime ring. The evidence led to arrests, but child abuse was the focus and most members got away with it. Kero’s attempts to gaslight the public about his innocence made him The O.J. Simpson of furries. His presence highlights a gap in the laws.

This part covers the exploitation on social media, and Part (3) will feature someone working to bridge the gap.

A content pool with no lifeguard

In 1940, protest rose up about a horse tumbling over a cliff in a Western movie. It triggered regulation for the industry to stop using animals like disposable props. Now Hollywood movies get American Humane certification by following a 132-page guide. But tech platforms aren’t so regulated.

The internet gives unprecedented reach, and lets out the best and worst behavior on an infinitely granular level. (Washington Post: The country is being buffeted by groups that couldn’t exist 30 years ago.My favorite example for demonstrating the power of the Internet to form ad hoc groups is furries…”) Platforms are automated and let users regulate themselves from private locations. That’s how animal abusers connect with each other like never before, and fly past local laws. “They’re accused of abusing their pets in viral videos. But laws don’t always consider it cruelty.” And: “YouTube Won’t Ban A Guy Who Crushes Animals to Death.”

Of course, animals can’t speak for self-regulation, and nobody’s watching when the cameras stop. People who control their welfare are enjoying a form of cruelty theater, like dogfighting, but tailored to individual proclivities to maximize reach. Some watch for the fake cuddly feeling of watching an animal get “saved” from busy highways or burial in mud. Some are chasing special fetish content.

In 2017, The Reptile Channel on Youtube rose out of furry “vore” fetish groups. It uses a false front about live-feeding animals for science, but it’s not for science, and it’s hiding in plain sight. In 2021, despite protest and the ban of a previous channel under the concealed owner, the channel is still growing with over a half million subscribers. (The most popular video has 33 million views!) The “educational” front is a flimsy excuse to artificially pit animals against other animals, and force-feed them after neglect or starvation to keep them hungry.

Youtube’s algorithm is hungry for the views. But when I originally tried to flag the Reptile Channel for policy violations, I couldn’t even find a category for it. Compare that with the difficulty of removing an even more obvious channel. A 17 year old Youtuber (labeled Peluchin Entertainment) beat cats to death for attention — raising widespread protest and even inspiring copycats — but it took months to take the channel down.

The cost of exploitation

Exploiting this system is easy, and it’s a systemic flaw. It’s the same gap exploited by fake news hoaxes, trolling and harassment, and messing with elections. The gap makes rising fascism and social destabilization, and the extreme result can be genocide. While we look at “just animals,” the stakes are more than we know.

Content flows through this gap like the industrial waste of Big Tech. The public pays for the damage while private owners profit. The business is built on cutting corners because “progress” means replacing human moderation with algorithms. Less views = lower stock prices, so we’re always underpowered to match the scale. Free speech idealists can debate in the marketplace of ideas, but animal victims can’t, and what’s the point in arguing about cruelty if cruelty is the point?

CW//TW: Animal Abuse, Animal Death, Animal Blood/Gore

WE NEED TO HAVE A SERIOUS CONVERSATION ABOUT @YouTube FAKE ANIMAL RESCUE RING CHANNELS.

These channels are full of animal abuse, death, and FAKE rescues.

Let's take a deep dive.

— hot cross sun bun (@sunnydancer_fur) October 26, 2020

Three painstaking videos diving into fake animal rescues. Hundred of hours of depressing and tedious research. Watching video after video of brutal animal abuse. And in the end the only channel to receive any form of punishment was mine. I feel sick

— Nick Crowley (@NickCrowleyYT) October 28, 2020

It’s time to finally address this problem @TeamYouTube … because things are only getting worse from here. https://t.co/4ngUsf0nb6

— Nick Crowley (@NickCrowleyYT) October 26, 2020

Federal regulation and Trusted Flaggers

Big Tech vs Big Government is a bigger story than we can cover here, but we can look at some developments.

In late 2019 in the U.S., a new law, the PACT Act, made animal cruelty a federal crime for the first time. It lets agencies work across jurisdictions. I found interesting info about it in a podcast about investigating animal crime.

Crimes Against Nature’s episode “The Killing Fields” talked to experts about unsolved horse killings in 3 states.

(At 15:20): “These law agencies are doing what they can with the resources they have to bring these criminals to justice. They’re working with sister agencies and sharing info across county lines, but no info has been shared state to state. With crime in multiple states, would a federal agency like the FBI get involved?

The podcaster consulted the FBI in Dallas:

“Beginning in 2016, the FBI began collecting data on crimes against animals. Acts of cruelty, according to their website, are now counted alongside felony crimes like arson, burglary, assault, and homicide in the FBI’s National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

By adding animal cruelty offenses, agencies and advocacy groups are hoping the results will reveal a more complete picture of the nature of cruelty against animals. The National Sheriff’s Association was a leading advocate for adding animal cruelty in the dataset. For years they had cited studies linking animal abuse with other types of crimes, most famously serial killings. They point out overlap with domestic violence and child abuse.”

To my understanding, it’s rare and challenging to make a case they’ll pursue. But down on the community level, investigators and watchdogs can work with allies you might not know of: Trusted Flaggers. They are volunteers including “individuals, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)“. The role goes to users chosen for high accuracy with pointing out YouTube violations, who get a back door to get them reviewed.

One such ally was key for catching the Omegle Cat Killer. This starts to address a need that came up in a furry news interview with criminologist Jenny Edwards, who consults with the legal system about animal crime. Her advice for when a community like furries finds abuse within:

“There needs to be a conduit – not necessarily me, but someone like me – who can put a case together and get it into the right hands.”

American Humane says if you see cruelty online, the first step is reporting to ic3.gov. For next steps, read Part (3).

  • NEXT: A WATCHDOG SHARES WORK IN FIGHTING ANIMAL CRUELTY.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Omegle Cat Killer: A true crime tale of stopping online animal abuse (Part 1)

Mon 16 Aug 2021 - 10:00

CONTENT WARNING for animal abuse – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

He had to be stopped. Someone was killing cats and posting the videos online. Internet sleuths were hunting a killer who reveled in taunting them. In December 2019, their story came out on Netflix as Don’t F*ck With Cats. It was one of the year’s most-watched documentaries.

As hard as they tried, identifying the killer wasn’t enough. They felt helpless until he escalated to killing a human victim and mailing the body parts to terror targets. Finally the authorities noticed, and Canadian man Luka Magnotta was caught and convicted. The story suggests that taking animal cruelty seriously could have saved a person, and it showed a trend for attention: “Murderers have become online broadcasters. And their audience is us.

Months after the show, the same trend terrorized the furry fandom and made a new case for the FBI.

More than a copycat

In May 2020, the new Covid-19 situation was turning the world upside down. Stuck in quarantine, furry fans found a way to lift their spirits. They joined a regular event on the Omegle video chat service, using hashtags to meet fellow fans by random connection.

They weren’t expecting to connect to a woman in an animal-skin mask, gripping a bloody skull a little bigger than an egg. It almost looked fake, until she used a finger to pop out an eyeball like a grape.

Whoever was doing this wasn’t just shocking random targets. She knew about the event and targeted them with hashtags like #furries, #fursuit and #furryfandom. It made a trail with sightings of gory animal parts and links to Instagram and Tiktok. It was hard to document live incidents, but alarm spread and reached millions of viewers on Youtube. She got attention she wanted, but where did she come from?

The hype never told the full story. It passed like a blip and Youtubers and blogs quickly forgot. We’ll get to what happened in 2021 — but first, she didn’t just start in 2020 without warning. A path was laid much earlier.

Witnesses say the "Crazy Cat Lady on Omegle" is burning and skinning cats alive. I haven't seen fandom connection besides hashtags to gain attention, and some furries trying to gather evidence, but there's a lot of talk about trying to ID and stop her. https://t.co/4ZmEHnCz0V

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) May 3, 2020

Cautious attention after SomeOrdinaryGamers showed 2 million subscribers.

The path of escalation

As early as March 2019, furries were first to spread bewares about the trouble among them. At first it was just about art scams and harassment, but bewares couldn’t stop a trajectory to worse. A comment in November 2019 mentioned animal abuse.

Thrill killing is hard to get away with, but people who do it may start with animals. Online animal abusers may feel safely out of reach. If they’re identified, it can take high effort to prove there was crime. Police don’t take it seriously while putting human victims first. Local dog-catchers don’t do stings and forensics. There might be rare lone convictions, but nasty networks for it stay hidden. There are long odds for getting caught, and that makes opportunity.

Furries saw this with popular Youtuber Kero the Wolf. In 2018 he was caught for abusing his dog in a crime ring for animal torture. It was past the time limit for charges and he got off on technicality. The community knows about him, but what can they do about escalation when investigation goes nowhere?

Facing the odds, hunters of the Omegle killer joined forces online to save the victims.

From a Google Doc made in May 2020.

Masks and confusion

I was tipped early about the hunt for the Omegle cat killer. It gave me access to sources. Volunteers narrowed sightings down to one suspect with furry accounts. But even with a name, was there courtworthy proof?

I watched her do a video tour of her house and deny responsibility. The skin mask and gory body parts got explained with a taxidermy hobby, using roadkill, gophers or natural deaths. It might involve interest in anatomy and science, or trolling for views with a financial motive. There might be plausible deniability. It wasn’t all clear.

What about claims that pets were adopted from ads, and the ex owners were taunted with death photos later? Or headless dog carcasses were found in a cornfield near the suspect’s house? Or sockpuppet accounts were taunting investigators? Denial games could hide evidence that only warrants could get.

Sources clammed up and couldn’t be verified. Police were involved, but then the story was called a prank or hoax. That didn’t satisfy. Charges or not, it still traumatized thousands of watchers, wasted resources and hurt the community. The Furry Omegle event was canceled. I wrote a story, but many sources were pulled down and a lawyer involved agreed I should hold my story to reduce hype. It seemed to fizzle out, but there HAD to be more to it…

After weeks of silence, the FBI announced federal charges for Krystal Cherika Scott, a 19 year old in Indiana.

Here's the FBI announcement that Krystal Scott faces 7 years in jail and more for creating animal "crush" videos. Commercial profit operations with that form of cruelty got it federally banned in 2010, so she caught some serious charges here.https://t.co/hEJMvIdEEH

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) August 31, 2020

These charges weren’t publicized much.

Sources: Local police dropped the ball

She had to be stopped, but Scott escalated her crime despite alarm. Investigators were frustrated about lack of help while persisting to start cases with multiple police agencies. Telling people to let local police handle it could have led nowhere.

This source stays off the radar, so I won’t name them:

“Kokomo [Indiana] police department had absolutely nothing to do with it and were useless throughout the entire process. They dismissed it as a hoax entirely. The only reason anything happened was because the FBI in a different state got involved when the police there found it was out of theirs.”

A source local to Scott said there was alarm on Facebook about animal abuse in the previous year, but it didn’t help. In May 2020 Scott got bold enough to start livestreaming abuse. The Kokomo Police went to her house and found dead animals, but they wouldn’t do more without kill videos.

(Left:) A local source and a Fox59 news story mentions inaction. (Right:) First anonymous source.

1500 miles away in Boise, Idaho, investigators were misled by Scott to believe the acts happened there. They opened a case with Boise police, who traced her Instagram account. That made a case for the FBI to go out of state and back to Indiana.

Fox59 News said Kokomo police found evidence on 5/3/20, and kept getting reports in June. Investigators say it was treated like a hoax by local police who didn’t know about the FBI or Boise PD action. Scott kept posting animal cruelty until July 8, when a federal warrant finally led to her arrest on 7/14/20.

“This case is an outstanding example of society’s intolerance to animal cruelty and the public’s willingness to do the right thing,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. “Tips poured in from all over the world, assisting in an intense and technically complex investigation to find the alleged perpetrator and put a stop to the senseless and horrific abuse of innocent animals.” — FBI press release

“Intense and technically complex investigation” by 3 agencies shows how rare it is to solve such a case. Imagine working to do the right thing, but the abuse keeps going. Injustice is all too common. That’s why it’s so troubling to suffer the presence of abusers like Kero the Wolf.

UPDATE: In May 2021, Indiana news says Scott took a deal to plead guilty. She potentially faces up to seven years in prison, a $250,000 fine and years of supervised release afterward. Sentencing is set for September, according to court docs.

The link includes a witness report that police received in April 2020, that highlights the malice of the crimes and lack of fast action:

A neighbor told News 8 he found a decapitated dog in the area months before the raid.

“It had been decapitated. The belly was slit up and down,” Brian Foster said. “After I drove down the road and I came back, the head was in the road and it wasn’t there when I first drove by.”

Scott’s motive is weird to think about. What really set her off? There were clues about her being a troubled teen who started as a victim. Maybe it’s worth reporting to inform and try to get more justice, but the attention was part of the problem. She broadcasted animal abuse to enjoy the shock.

Meanwhile, Kero the Wolf tried to come back from fandom exile like nothing happened in his case. The motive for his secret abuse wasn’t to broadcast for attention. It was to enjoy the abuse itself. Hiding it with denial might make it worse than what put Scott in prison, raising the stakes to stop it.

Final points.

  • Scott started in furry fandom and used it for targets — it’s a community issue.
  • She escalated to sadism after causing money and trust issues with art scams, taxidermy and bone sales, and ads for pets.
  • Community bewares were the first warning, but it couldn’t be solved within. It took legal power that only came after escalation.
  • Solving it wasn’t just for outsiders, because local police didn’t stop it — it took cooperation inside and outside the fandom.
  • Social media attention met psychological escalation. (There were even copycats posing as Scott.)
  • It’s a trend including Kero the Wolf, where crime ring members got away and deny it.

How does this start, and how can a community respond to organize and improve? It could use professional helpers in between the fandom and police. New federal laws (like the PACT Act) can help in certain cases.

Read more about this in Part (2).

Adopting animals from Craigslist for cruelty happened in this case with horses, by a woman promising sanctuary but having them slaughtered for profit. https://t.co/6zKadFqUNQ

I learned of it via a friend who lost a horse. The fraud was solved with help from social media groups.

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) August 31, 2020

(Correction: Scott used Facebook ads.)

  • NEXT: MORE ABOUT A TREND OF ANIMAL ABUSE ONLINE.
  • THEN: A WATCHDOG SHARES WORK IN FIGHTING ANIMAL CRUELTY.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

A Call for Preservation of Sources for Furry Fandom History

Fri 13 Aug 2021 - 10:00

Guest post by Gamepopper, an indie game maker and animation fan in the UK.

As a British furry who was interested in the history of the furry fandom, I couldn’t help but notice most of the subject was centred around the United States. This was the case in all the articles and convention panels I could find, and most blatantly in the book Furry Nation: The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture by Joe Strike. This United States focus continues to this day with videos and documentaries such as The Fandom by Ash Coyote discussing the history of the fandom from the beginnings at science fiction and comic book conventions in California.

As a result, I took it upon myself in 2017 to look into my own country’s perspective of the fandom. This part-time hobby of mine culminated into a lecture at ConFuzzled 2019, The History of the Furry Fandom in the United Kingdom, which focused on the growth of the fandom from the earliest known gathering of twenty fans in 1987 to the present day conventions of over two thousand furries. I spoke about the housecons and fanzines in the nineties, furmeets and mailing lists in the noughties, and the British furry conventions and the difficulties getting them off the ground. I also allowed audience members to make comments and ask questions throughout, which you can listen to in the recorded version uploaded to YouTube.

Watching it in retrospect, I’m still proud of the amount of content in the work, in spite of a few factual errors and omissions that a few people have noted. On the day itself, it went over better than I ever anticipated, with a full room of attendees giving a huge round of applause at the end and many furries coming up to me to appraise my work. One of those people thought that the full history should be written down, and, given the amount of work I had already done, I felt up to the task.

Ever since the convention ended, I have been working on Furry Kingdom, a book about the history of the British furry fandom, discussing the earliest influences in art and storytelling, the numerous events and activities throughout the decades, and the many challenges the British fandom has faced. At the moment, I’ve finished what I want to write for the manuscript and I’m currently searching for a means to get it published.

This book allowed me to write what I wouldn’t have been able to say in the 2019 lecture due to time constraints and limited information at the time. During that period, my research had only scratched the surface, and I had few sources available. Fred Patten’s Chronology and Furry Fandom Conventions were great resources for establishing the base structure, which I then expanded upon using alt.fan.furry, UKFur Forums, various LiveJournals and contacting about a dozen furries from the early days.

Working on the book also meant refining my research methods to uncover every event and piece of noteworthy media in great detail, finding original fanzines and magazines, newspaper articles, documentaries, and contacting even more people to get the fullest picture that I can.

THE PROBLEM OF FINDING SOURCES

So how does one go about researching the history of the furry fandom? The short answer is that it involves a lot of reading and listening. Not just panels, documentaries, and wikis, but the written and spoken word from the events the days they were happening, to find out where the secondary sources got their information from as well as to find information that had previously not been recorded.

How do you go about finding these primary sources for the furry fandom? Well, there are a wide variety of avenues to finding them, but for the sake of brevity, I distinguish them into one of three categories:

  1. What is currently online: Almost every website pertaining to the furry fandom is a potential source when looking for documents. Any website used to inform and promote a furry convention or furmeet, or a post on a blog, forum, or board, reporting on such events are great sources of information, particularly as the internet has been pivotal for the fandom’s growth from the late-90s to the present.
  2. From people in the fandom: For my book as an example, I’ve contacted individuals who were involved in running conventions as well as furmeets in the past in order to find out what happened from their recollections and to compare with what was being discussed at the time.
  3. In archives: This could be from digital archives like archive.org and the Wayback Machine to physical archives like museums and libraries.

Sounds all straightforward, right? I wish it was. The hard truth is that even in the furry fandom, which has been organized heavily online for decades, whose passion in its own legacy is self-evident by the success of books and documentaries, not everything is as readily available as one might assume.

Physical materials (e.g., conbooks, fanzines, newsletters) are incredibly difficult to obtain due to the furry fandom’s limited and often independent publishing runs, and very few of them are preserved and digitised. The best method of ever getting a chance to read most of these is to contact private collectors, but even this is a challenge.

The History of Furry Publishing, Part One: Beginnings – by Fred Patten.

I’m fortunate enough that the plenty of people who I got in touch with for the project I’ve been working on have been approachable and willing to provide any help and information they can. That doesn’t mean everyone I wanted to talk to was either available to contact or willing to respond to a random furry with an interest in past furmeets, conventions, and artworks.

It’s also not just an issue finding sources within the fandom: for instance, I’ve made several visits to the British Library in order to look for newspaper and magazine articles. Imagine my surprise when, despite its extensive collection of manuscripts, microfilms, books, journals, and even issues of science fiction fandom magazines such as Starburst, I discover that not every issue is within their archives.

Even Fred Patten had difficulties researching for his book on Furry Fandom Conventions:

“…about half the 116 conventions never replied to my e-mails, or sent a brief reply that their purpose was to have fun, not to engage in bookkeeping, and they didn’t keep any records of their previous years.… You can tell in my book which conventions sent me information, and which didn’t.”

Yet the worst challenge, however, is filling the gaps in events where information is lost forever. Anything made of paper can get burned, torn, or damaged beyond repair, or even intentionally thrown away or shredded. Digital media can also be lost, despite the phrase “Once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever”. Forums go offline, websites end up going to Error 404, servers shut down and get dismantled, and although archival services like the Wayback machine exist, not every website has a snapshot to go back to.

For example, mailing lists were one of the ways furries communicated online, sending emails to entire groups through a central email server. Although predominantly text-based, some hosts made it possible to send photos and videos through mailing lists. As usenet was used less and less in the late nineties and before web forums became commonplace in the mid-noughties, mailing lists was an efficient method of communicating with fellow furries amongst particular groups, especially for British furries. Before 2006, there was not only a mailing list for UK furries as a whole, hosted by Critter.net, but also mailing lists for each region of the UK, where they discussed their fandom interests and arranged local gatherings that led to the traditional furmeets of today.

However, mailing lists have all but vanished from the internet. Most of the original mailing lists weren’t removed due to ill-intentions, but due to lack of interest from the time. Many such as the HantsFurs Mailing List were deleted by their owners simply because places like the UK Fur Forums had become more popular by the late-naughties.

There were some that were hosted entirely by the furry fandom itself that fell victim to a more dire fate: hardware failure. This was the case for Critter.net, which hosted several mailing lists, websites, and news servers, but which suffered a catastrophic failure in 2014. The act of two drives failing and data being inaccessible, as well as backups being impossible to decrypt, leads to a bleak result. “Everything. Every database, document, photo, website, email. Gone.” as Frysco, the owner of Critter.net, described the outcome.

Yet the greatest cause of loss came not from within the fandom, but from the companies that hosted it. Although there was eGroups before it, most furries used Yahoo Groups to set up mailing lists, since it was considered the largest host of discussion boards that provided the resources to set up a mailing list for free. Unfortunately, Yahoo’s parent company Verizon Media officially announced that they were discontinuing Yahoo Groups in October 2019.

What was worse, they weren’t going to preserve all the messages, images, and videos, shared on the service forever. In fact, users had until December to archive mailing lists by themselves before the data would be deleted (they would later extend it to January 2020). After that, the only evidence of a mailing list’s existence was an empty page, until early in 2021 when the Yahoo Groups pages were removed entirely.

It’s currently unknown how many furry mailing lists have been preserved or archived. In my efforts to rescue some, I only managed to collect four. Although there was an extensive grassroots effort to archive as much as possible from Yahoo Groups, it will take more than a lifetime for one person to find out if any furry mailing lists are amongst its collection.

WHY IT MATTERS

I know what some of you are thinking: so what?

It’s no lie that I’ve had these kinds of comments from friends when I complained about the loss of mailing lists.

“I don’t want messages I posted when I was a teenager to be online forever!”
“Some things are best left forgotten.”
“Who cares about an old mailing list?”

As someone who has been on the internet for nearly twenty years, I can empathise with the embarrassment at the thought of something I’ve written on the internet when I was a kid being available to be read decades later. That doesn’t change the fact that all posts and comments, even the irrelevant and cringeworthy, are worth preserving to reflect what the culture was like at that moment in time.

To analogise, historians all over the world generally accepts newspapers as a vital primary or secondary source of information for historical research. They generally accept so much that many libraries archive national and local newspapers, either as physical copies, digitized scans, or microfilm, for people to look through.

Chronicling America, part of the United States Library of Congress, is one of the largest archives of American Newspapers, with digitized collections dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. Not only can you read the headline news, but all the columns, small articles, adverts and comic strips too. And yes, it’s definitely possible to find stories that descendants would find embarrassing.

Yet every page is preserved and archived not only for the completion factor, but also because even these little stories can tell us about the culture of the country, state, county, town, and city.

Message boards and social media tell the same thing for the furry fandom: what jokes were being thrown around, what the big issues were, whether they be local or within the fandom as a whole. Even the few I managed to archive were incredibly resourceful for my research, helping me figure out the story of how the Northern Furs and MidFurs, two of the three largest furry regional groups in the past, formed and set the standard for furmeets for the rest of the United Kingdom.

1996-2015

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE AND HOW?

The one thing I want to advocate for is that we the furries have the responsibility to preserve the furry fandom’s work, whether it be its art, advertisements, even our discussions. That’s all well and good, but that’s why we need to discuss how we should go about doing that.

One way is to talk more about our history, either through writing articles, running panels, or producing documentaries: any way to tell interesting stories about what our fandom has gone through. They don’t need to be broad; stories could be told of individual conventions, activities, or even musicals.

Another way is to support archives and archivists, to motivate them to preserve more content so that people can read through and understand more about the furry fandom’s long legacy.

Lastly, for the online sort of thing, support the non-profit archive.org and try to make extensive use of saving web pages to the Wayback Machine. That way if a website ever goes down, when an article or a wiki page has a deadlink, there should be a chance that there is a cached or saved version on the archive.

There are many more possible avenues to archiving work, although for bigger places such as DropBox and Google Drive, use caution. No matter how big the company that runs the website is, it has no guarantee of keeping data on its servers forever.

WHO IS DOING IT?

Authors and Journalists

Of course, I’m writing Furry Kingdom, which focuses on the History of the furry fandom in the United Kingdom, and I’m certainly not the only one writing about furry history:

  • Joe Strike, who wrote Furry Nation, is currently working on a sequel titled Furry Planet, which aims to cover the furry fandom throughout the world.
  • Grubbs Grizzly, a columnist for Ask Papabear and organiser of the Good Furry Award is also working on his own book, titled The Furry Book.
  • Thurston Howl has been the publisher of several non-fiction anthologies called Furries Among Us.
  • Choco Pony is slowly working on a book on convention history, which not only include furry conventions, but science fiction, anime, and brony conventions as well.
  • As previously mentioned, Fred Patten did extensive chronicling of the furry fandom over the years, once in Retrospective: An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom that was originally published in Yarf magazine back in 1996, as well as a book on Furry Fandom Conventions from 1989 to 2015.

Channels

  • It doesn’t have to be books, as Ash Coyote demonstrated with the feature-length documentary, The Fandom.
  • Culturally F’d have done numerous videos on the subject of the furry fandom, from conventions to fursuits.
  • Dox, a History BA graduate from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, wrote a thesis on the furry fandom’s history and culture and has done panels on his own YouTube channel for the online convention RAMCon.
  • It’s not just YouTube: users on Twitter can follow accounts that have been regularly posting classic furry art, such as the Ancient Furries and Vintage Funny Animals.

Collectors and Curators

  • Some conventions have archived content from past events, such as EuroFurence, ConFuzzled, and NordicFuzzcon.
  • Sylys Sable and Changa Husky have extensively uploaded several pieces of paperwork surrounding the early furry fandom, ConFurence, and Califur to the ConFurence Archive.
  • Summercat is the owner of the Furry Library, which has an extensive collection of furry literature, from comics to fanzines. This one also has a Patreon in need of more donations.
  • Plenty of video footage and photos, primarily of fursuiters, are viewable on the Fursuit Archive.
  • Before he passed away in 2018, Fred Patten had donated his personal collection of books and fanzines to the University of California, Riverside Library, and made regular visits to organize them. Since his passing, the collection has remained in storage with no staff to carry on his work.

Academics and Researchers

Believe it or not, there is a field of study for fandoms and fan culture (as Dox pointed out in one of his panels): Fandom Studies.

Although there isn’t an academic specialist in studying the furry fandom’s history apart from Dox, Christopher Polt, PhD has been teaching anthropomorphic art and animation history at Boston College.

The companion website for my Beast Literature course is now live and public! If anyone would like to see what we're doing and follow along, feel free to browse. I'll publish the individual components one week at a time, so check back regularly! https://t.co/6uN1TTERWw pic.twitter.com/J3BLcNTVJm

— Tofte | Christopher Polt 🏳️‍🌈 (@CBPolt) January 31, 2021

Conclusion

We live in a fortunate time where many of the pioneers of the furry fandom are still part of it, appearing and speaking at furry conventions. We are also fortunate to have the mountains of information that fandom historians have at their disposal. That doesn’t mean that it’s safe forever, or that there is no more to be found. Information will disappear if we don’t make an active effort to preserve it and share it. We should support our archives and any and all researchers creating content sharing our history.

This doesn’t just go to the fandom in the United States, I wouldn’t have been able to do a panel at ConFuzzled, let alone write a book if dedicated historians like Fred Patten didn’t lay the groundwork for me to look further. If I started later than I did, I wouldn’t have been able to save even a few mailing lists that proved valuable to my research. Not to mention that most of what I’m looking for was written in English, so there is potentially more valuable information in other languages to record the history of the furry fandom around the world. All of it needs preserving, even if some of it makes us cringe.

Gamepopper

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

History of Furcadia, the Guinness Record-winning furry MMO, and Q&A with co-creator Dr. Cat 

Thu 17 Jun 2021 - 10:00

In the early days of the internet, on dialup BBS’s and the pre-smartphone web, many fans knew they were furry before it had a name. When they logged on to find each other, a home PC became a fantasy portal for instant chatting with other talking animals. It was thrilling because who wants to play a regular human? Some haters treated them as the black sheep of nerds, but looking back, they were the first wave of a major force in the culture.

In the late 1980’s and 90’s, MMOs/MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) popularized internet communities for fun. MMO’s were an evolution with graphics added to text-based MUDs (Multi User Dungeons) and MUCKs; starting in the 1970s, these were often accessed through universities. Some let users build their world, and were significant to early organized furry fandom, like FurryMUCK (1990), Tapestries MUCK (1991), FurToonia (1994), Sociopolitical Ramifications (1994) or TigerMUCK (1994). Eventually World of Warcraft grew to dominate MMO’s with millions of users.

The furry MMO Furcadia was at the front.

Furcadia facts:

  • It was founded in 1996 by Dr. Cat (Felorin) and Talzhemir, with many other contributors.
  • In its heyday, it was called the largest online furry community (- wikifur) with tens of thousands of users. It was also one of the first freemium online games.
  • Dr. Cat (below): “In the 1990s, I feel like I was one of the first people to move, along with the rest of the fledgling new online games and MMO segment of the industry, from a vision of ‘Games as a Product’ to ‘Games as a Service’… Furcadia started out as one of the very first significant scale user created content games in the industry.”
  • A 2003 Gamespy article reviewed its part in indie game development, and placing as an award finalist at the Independent Games Festival.
  • In 2010, it earned a Guinness World Record for being the longest-running social MMO.
  • In 2012, Furcadia raised $106,835 in crowdfunding to develop a full-game overhaul called “Second Dreaming”.
  • Weird: years before My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic existed, Furcadia had an MLP environment that had Nazi Ponies vs. a Resistance, to fan regret.

🚨 NEW VIDEO 🚨
Today we explore the history of the rise and unfortunate fall of the world's biggest furry MMORPG, Furcadia.https://t.co/LLImTr7FJA

Thumbnail: @squirrelgirldgt
📯: @DogpatchPress #furry #furryfandom #furcadia pic.twitter.com/CiXAclbbkk

— Xephas Gracepaws (@XephasGracepaws) May 14, 2021

Thanks to Xephas, a furry fan and Youtuber in England for sending a video about Furcadia’s history. These deep roots are worth digging into more, so I reached out to game co-founder Dr. Cat with questions from Xephas and myself.

(Dogpatch:) Hi Dr. Cat. Let’s go back to the early days when you were just starting. Were you familiar with the range of MUD’s and MMO’s around then? 

Yes, both [Furcadia co-creator and game artist] Talzhemir and I played and took inspiration from FurryMUCK and LambdaMOO. I was also on Tapestries and Space Madness, and she played a lot on AmberMUSH. I also was on the MUD-DEV mailing list and learned some important technical things about server programming from there.

Can you say anything about MUD’s and MMO’s helping start online furry fandom?

I do think FurryMUCK was fairly significant in helping the early furry fandom grow, along with conventions, zines, and Yiffnet IRC and the Usenet discussion group alt.fan.furry. Later on, I think Furcadia also did a lot to help grow the fandom, and I think in particular we brought a lot more women into the fandom, which started out initially with more male than female members.

Can we get a bio of your involvement in games and furry, and what are you up to now? 

A bio of my involvement in games would be hard to make brief, as I’ve been doing them professionally since I was 17 (started programming games at 14, and invented a few boardgames for fun before that), and I’ve worked on over 50 published games including a number of big hits in a variety of genres.

Furry fandom I discovered through FurryMUCK and then Confurence, the first furry con, and I’ve enjoyed ever since. I still love going to furry cons, and a lot of my friends and families are furries.

I would refer anyone who wants to know more to my five part interview with Matt Barton which is pretty thorough. Matt is a great interviewer who does good research beforehand. The first part is here.

I guess besides just pointing at the Matt Chat interview, I should mention some of my other career highlights among all those games has been working on the Ultima series and Ravenwood Fair, both of which features Dr. Cat as a character, 1Up Casino, and Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money. I also wrote the compression code that’s running in every Fuzzball MUCK to this day, including FurryMUCK, and some of my slot machine code in Everi slot machines is running in almost every major casino in the world.

I’ve been doing game design consulting for the last five years also, which I’ve enjoyed quite a bit, although I don’t always have as much time to work on Furcadia as I’d wish for. If we get our player base growing again, or I make another hit game, I might be able to get back to full-time on it.

Do you have any comments in general about the fandom as a “greymuzzle”, like what it was early on and how it’s changed?

The main thing that’s changed about the fandom is it’s gotten larger. There’s probably a broader range of types of people in it too, by personality types or by any other kinds of categories you could look at. And it’s a lot closer to 50/50 on gender I think, from its early leanings towards way over half male. Which again I like to believe Furcadia played a helpful part in.

Side chat: A friend’s thoughts on furry-hating.

There was also a lot more feeling in the early years of “Everyone outside furry fandom thinks we’re a bunch of freaks or losers or perverts or all three”. Which I never believed. I firmly believed in the early years the opinion of 98% of the human race on furry fans was “What’s a furry fan? I never ever heard of that”. And that most of them who did hear about it reacted “Oh, there’s a hobby about that? Shrug whatever.” But the early fandom had a lot of people who were obsessed with the various internet trolls and others who would constantly insult furries. And they convinces themselves that’s what most of humanity thought, when I thought “No, that’s just a few hundred internet trolls and who cares about them”.

Nowadays I think there’s a lower percentage of furries who worry that furries are despised or discriminated against. Some people still feel that way, but it’s not nearly as pervasive and something you hear furries talking about constantly.

It’s funny, even in the early days, there were rumors that “You can’t get a job in the animation industry if you’re known to be a furry”. When the truth of the matter is, one prominent furry animator I know who had worked on The Simpsons and then moved to a job at Disney, he would deliberately look in the furry fandom for promising new artists and animators when they were searching for people to hire, and he ended up hiring several of them.

Rumors spread on what sounds juicy, rather than based on what’s actually true. Always. 😸

Let’s look closer at the video from Xephas. It’s real about Furcadia having a rise and fall of activity, so Xephas added: “I’d like to re-assure him that I don’t hate his game and I appreciate that things take time and that I’m very grateful for everything he’s done for the community.” What do you think of the video?

Regarding the video, I want to say thanks for all the positive and kind comments on Furcadia.

Beekin the Help Dragon

I could mention a couple of minor factual points. For one, the iPhone/iPad Furcadia client was not taken off the app store because of adult content. We coded it to block access to all adult-rated maps. It was kicked off the app store because it had a scripting language, DragonSpeak, and they used to have a “no scripting languages” rule, which they’ve since relaxed. And while the guy at Apple I spoke with agreed that our little “only affects in-game things” language was totally safe, they still had to stick to their rule rather than make exceptions to it.

Secondly, the video mentions that Second Life let you make custom avatars, while Furcadia just lets you change colors. While that’s true on main maps, in player-made dreams, which is the vast majority of the area of the game, you can make your own custom avatars and many players have done so, with a great variety of them out there.

In fact the percentage of artists who can do custom Furcadia avatars (and items, walls, floors, skins, etc) is much higher because it’s easier to use 2D art tools than 3D art tools. The failed Second Life competitor There found that of the player-made art in the game, 99% was 2D textures to apply to t-shirts and other models, and only 1% of it was actual new 3D models.

It also would be nice to mention we updated the game from 8 bit art to 32 bit art, although that’s not really a crucial point. And while we were late on delivering our kickstarter goals, we have delivered the majority of them by now, in addition to other new features besides.

I wish we had a bigger team and/or more resources, but we’ll keep improving the game over time in any case. We may add some new gameplay features to it eventually, using all we’ve learned working with a bunch of successful companies in Facebook and Mobile free-to-play games over the years. 😺

What next, a sparkle dog? No, that's definitely a Yeenen! https://t.co/EeQs60Wxh4 pic.twitter.com/db7CBn5e6H

— Furcadia (@furcadia) August 7, 2017

Xephas asks: What is Furcadia’s current roadmap and are there any time estimates? How do you intend on attracting new players?

Our roadmap is to finish testing our update that adds loops and subroutines (aka functions) to DragonSpeak, and to promote our web client especially on smartphones and tablets but just in general as well, and package a version of it as an app for the app stores that launches the web client. Beyond that we have a variety of ideas but we’ll decide later which one to do next.

There are no time estimates right now. I’m actually going to be busy for the next four months on a good paying contract for another game company that I’m very happy about, which will keep me busy on other things till that’s finished. Though I’m going to spend some time working with my new marketing volunteer.

Which answers part of the question of how I intend to attract new players. I have ALWAYS wanted someone with professional marketing experience on the team, and never had someone until now. She’s just got her PhD in the sciences, but she did professional marketing work back in New York in the past and is just generally one of the smartest people I ever met in my life. She discovered Furcadia when she was 15 and tells me it was a huge positive influence on her.

Also the fact that having the web client that can work on iOS, Android, Macintosh, Linux, and anything else with a web browser means that rather than just Windows PC owners, we can now potentially reach a couple billion smartphone owners and others who don’t have Windows machines, people who were never potential players we could reach before.

Hopefully starting out with a guerilla marketing campaign we can start growing again, and then maybe if that generates some more sales we can put some of that into additional marketing like buying some ads to play in mobile games or on websites. But this time with a results-based marketing expert deciding where to place it.

Xephas asks: Where do you see the game in 10 years time?

As for ten years from now…

In the 1990s, I feel like I was one of the first people to move, along with the rest of the fledgling new online games and MMO segment of the industry, from a vision of “Games as a Produce” to “Games as a Service”. That was a fine step forward for the 1990s. But now…

I’ve had a vision for a long time of transitioning Furcadia from “Games as a service” to “Games as a platform”. And while I’ve been too slow and understaffed to focus on that shift, I’ve seen games like Roblox go that way, to some extent Minecraft, and now Tim Sweeney is talking about Fortnite becoming a Metaverse and it has Creative Mode in it. And Raph Koster is working in this direction with his new startup as well.

I’ve met both Raph, and Tim Sweeney near the start of their careers, they’ve both had this kind of vision for a long time and are really bright guys.

Furcadia started out as one of the very first significant scale user created content games in the industry. But we didn’t take that nearly as far as user-content companies like YouTube, Twitch, etc. We need to build ways that a higher percentage of our players can create meaningful content without needing advanced skills like being an artist or programmer.

“Explore The Wylde’s many biomes!”

I would love to have a few different styles of game engines built-in like puzzle games, match 3, something like Boulderdash, etc. that any player could make levels for or whole sets of levels that were an entire game, with scripting and very high customizability. And provide ways people can make money making that content for other players.

I also want to get voice chat and video chat into the game, but make them not just “ways to chat with friends you already have”, but “ways to make new friends”, which is the secret ingredient I think most voice chat and video chat apps in the world are lacking.

I’d also like to do a spectator mode, something I’ve wanted since day one of Furcadia, and I’ve watched the rise of Twitch TV and eSports and even YouTUBE “Let’s play” videos. And I’m glad the trend has arrived but disappointed I didn’t get in on the cutting edge of that one. We did lead the way on Freemium and user-built worlds and were one of the first large games with a more than half female player base, so I’ve gotten to innovate in a few things in my day, but I’d like to get back on the cutting edge in a few of the things that may be coming up next in gaming too. I have most of my nine lives left still. 😺

Any words of wisdom to close with?

As for words of wisdom, apart from encouraging people to develop their creativity and pursue their dreams, I’d point people to the quote I put in Furcadia as an easter egg. “Dr. Cat says, Live in your hopes, not in your fears.”

Our society has a real divide now between people and institutions that try to play up people’s fears in order to get money and/or power, and those that think we can make a better world all working together, and focus on hopes as their way of getting people and resources to their cause instead.

So what started out in my mind as just advice on how an individual can try to live a more successful, productive, and happy life, just from my own experience about what focused and motivated me better… Now that seems to have morphed into a struggle for control of society itself.

Some of that may be inevitable when you shift from one Era of mankind to the next. We saw some of it when we shifted from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age, with the Luddites, revolutionary wars happening in most major countries, etc.

We’re seeing it again in the shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, which has brought societies a ton of growing pains.

So live in your hopes, not in your fears! 😺

Thanks for all this!

Mrrrrelcome! I’m a rather talkative tabby. 😉

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

$50,000 FURSUIT: crypto-fueled bidding smashes auction record at The Dealers Den

Fri 4 Jun 2021 - 11:06

The new all-time fursuit auction record is worth a nice car or some people’s yearly income. (Highest commission is a different number.) It’s been 3 years since the last record by MixedCandy: A look at furry business with a $17,017 record fursuit auction price, July 2018.

Shifting winds of tech and business helped make this possible; it has to do with porn, politics, and payment providers. We’ll get into that… but I’m sure that wasn’t on the mind of Zuri Studios and Sabi, the owner/maker based in the Czech Republic with a fluffalicious folio of “god tier fursuits“. (This auction is a contract to create one, not an existing fursuit.)

Sabi just found out there’s no business like sew business.

Record fursuit auction for @Zuri_Studios closes at $50,000 on @TheDealersDen! War between 2 bidders in the last 17 minutes rocketed up the price from $24k, which already beat @mixedcandy's $17k record from 2018. Huge win for an artist and the potential of the art. Congrats zuri! https://t.co/SaJNlma9ZV pic.twitter.com/1fweGwQNO3

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) May 29, 2021

$100K fursuit when?

Tripling the record since 2018 gets steaming hot takes on social media. How can any suit be worth so much? 

Like any painting or original object, it’s because something’s rare and someone’s willing to pay. (Try offering less for this one!) The price isn’t just the worth of one costume; it’s for years of school and practice, growing clients and a business, and developing networks for knowledge, trade and materials. Fursuits aren’t art to hang on the wall, they’re eye candy you hug at cons. When live events thrive, it makes a market. But you don’t have to fight for this fursuit when there’s makers for many budgets, who share free DIY maker knowledge. There’s more room for makers to be pro-fans when one can get such a big reward.

But how does that kind of purchasing power come from furries?

Cryptocurrency investing rides a wave of regulation

The answer starts here: Pornhub and Xtube purge millions of videos, telling furverts to “beat it”. It goes with furries making six figures with erotic art or working on Onlyfans, but getting squashed by the SESTA/FOSTA law that shifts liability onto websites. It’s the same friction all sex work faces, like bank account freezes, denial of licenses and high cost to exist. Let’s call the friction vs. demand for service the fap-gap.

Porn is huge, and the fap-gap brings capital flowing in if it can make things smoother for a profit. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency is developing payment with less friction. Together they bring Venture Capitalists investing in a new coin.

$CUMINU (based on the Etherium blockchain):

  • In May 2021, this concept-coin appeared with a newly registered website and social media channels.
  • It ties to the porn industry to create a pay system that serves adult business users in the fap-gap.
  • It has experienced rich investors and is aiming for long term utility, not just a get-rich-quick meme by nobodies.
  • It will have a platform to use it: “A mix of Pornhub, Only Fans and Cameo that offers a new adult social experience.”
  • It’s being launched with big porn stars and mainstream influencers way bigger than furry fandom.

DISCLAIMER IN CASE OF HOT TAKES: THIS STORY IS NOT AN AD. Crypto has a huge problem with burning energy. I don’t use it. I don’t recommend speculating. I also don’t think sex work, regulation, or crypto is going away. This is simply reporting what happens and why. (See “A Furry’s Guide to Cryptocurrency” and beware of scams and bullshit.) When you’re armed with info, go ahead and write editorials.

Talking to auction winner Myst Dingo

Whatever your take on cryptocurrency, this sounds real and it’s funding the $50,000 fursuit buyer, Myst Dingo. Rumors ran wild because Myst was seen advertising $CUMINU; people guessed he might have even founded the coin and bought the fursuit as a stunt to push it. Those rumors aren’t true. Myst is just an individual investor who anticipates doing well and the suit is minor in comparison. Like someone buying a fancy car but an artist gets paid.

Myst Dingo responds:

Hehe, the coin is what give me the cash. It’s run by someone whose already rich. I’m open about it because it’s who I am. I’ve never been a fan of folks who throw cash around pretending to be loaded but it’s family or whatever. In the end, I got lucky. And Zuri deserves it. I’m supporting the token because the NSFW space gets really bad rates and taken for a ride from payment providers. It’s time to go to a platform where they have no control and pass those savings to the girls (and guys) who put themselves on display every day. We’ve even had issues with this kinda thing in the fandom if I recall.

As for a pump dump or whatever. Naw, they intend to and are making something game changing. It’s not my coin, it’s just one I got lucky on.

The ultimate plan, should things pan out is to build a charity/philanthropy YouTube channel. Similar to MrBeast. Figured I was in a position to give a single artist 50k, so that’s a heck of a start. Then it also makes sense to have that level of quality should this coin turn into what it can be. Then I can start giving out tens to hundreds of thousands for videos. I’m not taking credit until the suit is fully paid off. Full transparency, it’s 5k a week for 10 weeks. I’ll pay it off immediately should that token spike to a certain level.

Also, there’s no other maker I’d do this for.

Congratulations to one of the kindest souls I've ever had the pleasure of interacting with@Zuri_Studios has always focused on creating the absolute best she can, and has always carried herself with such an immense level of humility

She deserves every bit of what was paid today

— Myst 💥 Chaotic Dingo Energy 💥 (@mystDingo) May 29, 2021

A mix of market and fandom

This was a big event for The Dealers Den, the furry auction site. They also want to offer alternative payment options along with card or Paypal: The Dealers Den plans to rebuild with unprecedented features and Blockchain technology. However they don’t take a closing fee – which would be thousands an auction site like Ebay – which makes not-for-profit service.

Keep in mind fursuit making isn’t a get-rich business, one fursuit isn’t a goldmine, and it’s not a payday for a big corporation. Fur isn’t more rare, and freely shared knowledge of makers didn’t get more exclusive. The market isn’t cornered. The sale was paid in USD (not crypto) by an investor who’s already here. More than anything else, the source of money is a topic. With payment in USD, what’s an artist supposed to do about that?

Is this bad for the fandom? Readers can hash out the merits of artists getting paid by unorthodox means. Will the fandom be pissed about problems with it? Of course. Can they help solve the problems so artists can succeed without being in the doghouse?

(6/7/21: A few closing lines and link added.)

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Good Furry Award open for nominations until May 31; Ursa Major Award winners for 2020

Thu 27 May 2021 - 10:01

There’s a few days left to nominate a furry for the 2021 Good Furry Award!

The award recognizes furries who show the best side of the fandom or work to help others. In 2020, The Fandom documentary maker Ash Coyote won, after Tony “Dogbomb” Barrett in 2019. A trophy and $500 goes to the winner, to be announced by Grubbs Grizzly on his “Ask Papabear” website in June. To help you decide, there’s a list of nominees that makes a good read about furry happenings. More than thirty nominees are eligible for your vote now.

Have you seen or heard anything furry in 2021 that might deserve an Ursa Major Award? 

You can suggest it now for the 2021 Recommended Anthropomorphics List! The list is a guide (but not the limit) for who may deserve an award nomination at the end of the year.

Last month all of last year’s Ursa Major Award winners were announced on YouTube.

The winners:

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Jimmy Kimmel’s Fursuit Fixation

Mon 24 May 2021 - 10:00

Welcome to guest Joe Strike, journalist and author of Furry Nation, the furry fandom history book. (- Patch)

It’s not the first time Jimmy Kimmel has exploited Furry for a cheap laugh or two. (Furs with long memories or prone to Wikifur browsing might remember Kimmel/The Man Show’s 2003 ConFurence controversy.)

— but Kimmel (or his writers’) anti-furry bias has resurfaced with vengeance, judging from a couple of recent throwaway Jimmy Kimmel Show gags. On May 5th Kimmel referenced the ongoing NaziFur controversy in the most trivializing/assholey manner possible:

“Twitter has a feature now that will double-check with you before you post a mean or offensive comment… some people even want to get on the list [of comments or language that should be confirmed before posting].

He then posted a screen capture of a news story comment reading “Can we get “NaziFur” added to the toxicity list? It’s used by furrys [sic] who want to demonize other furrys who they can hate and it causes them irreparable reputational harm.”

Kimmel’s “clever” comeback (perhaps inspired by that memorable Entourage episode – ):

“That’s right, it causes ‘harm’ to the reputations of those of us who like to get a handy in a squirrel costume every once in a while.”

Yes, because nothing says “funny” like comparing fascism to masturbation.

Gag can be viewed here; comment author posted as a nazifur and was banned from Furaffinity.

It’s not the first time Kimmel (or his writers) have thrown in a gratuitous “all furries do is fursuit fucking” either. On April 15th Kimmel Show ran a sketch featuring a Mark “My Pillow” Lindell look-alike broadcasting from inside his laundry room, “Lindell’s” rant is interrupted when his “fiancée” starts pounding on the door:

“Rosalinda’s gonna kill me, she’s gotta wash my rabbit costume – I got a little hot mustard on the spot where you put your dinger through.”

I have to admit visualizing Mike Lindell in a murrsuit, his “dinger” dangling in plain sight is not completely lacking in humor or disgust, or perhaps a combination of the two—and the “hot mustard” reference adds a whole new level of kink to the situation. Still, Kimmel’s Furry=fursuit sex fixation is getting kinda old, doncha think?

– Joe Strike

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Mass shooting shows 6 reasons for furries to worry about the causes.

Fri 14 May 2021 - 10:09

Last month, Equestria Daily warned about blowback to fans: The Indianapolis FedEx Mass Shooter Was Apparently A Brony, and Obsessed with Applejack. The 19 year old shooter carried it out after posting online that he hoped to see the cartoon character in the afterlife. “Brony” stands out by the Man Bites Dog rule, but there’s more details. Previously he had a gun seized, and got confined for threats after visiting white supremacist websites. Half of those killed were Sikhs. (I REALLY hate that, because of learning about this at the birthday of a Sikh friend. Every one I’ve met is a sweetheart.)

Rolling Stone asked: “Do Bronies have a Nazi problem?” They say fandom isn’t inherently problematic, but it faces infiltration by problems. Being a fan of cartoons isn’t a threat, but there’s threats coming out of fandom. Maybe giving a heads up about negativity should also say…

1: It’s not the only incident.

  • (2020): In Texas, Daniel Perry killed a protester after tweeting about how to kill protesters. His FurAffinity page got far-right gloating.
  • (2020): Furry in Ohio shot up a school, thankfully just hitting the building and nobody was hurt.
  • (2017): Randy Stair, a Brony who made animated fan videos, did a mass shooting at his workplace that was predicted by his creations.
  • (2016:) 3 killed in Fullerton CA by 3 furries, they all mingled at furry events and might not have met without them.

Maybe this isn’t more frequent than in general society, but do they share context? And isn’t one shooting too many?

Last summer, a right-wing extremist with furry fan background drove into a crowd and shot a protester. He was let go by police and his Furaffinity page was used for extremist hate support. Now the incident is being considered for charges. https://t.co/Kpx9NzGwjr https://t.co/hJPCTbDfjo

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 18, 2021

 

2: People tend to reject bad news by reflex.

(Maybe if it involved Jedi afterlife.)

I hear reflexes like these all the time:

  • (Community defenders): We’re always facing haters, and the problem is giving them too much attention.
  • (Con runners): This looks bad for filling hotel rooms, so let’s not mention a surprise lone wolf nobody could have predicted.
  • (Sunshine McFluffy): Our fandom is for hugs and fun, so that person wasn’t a true member.
  • (Puritans): Who needs reasons, they’re brainwashed by their sick fandom. They need Jesus!
  • (Gun nuts): Shooter threats are all around… Shoot them first, no problem.

3: Then context gets lost.

Fandom makes context:

  • Close connections make incidents hit harder than usual inside.
  • Anti-social individuals may seek escapism communities.
  • People close to them might be able to see clues and stop them.
  • If a community is blamed, try standing on the victim’s side to fix that.
  • Guns aren’t just used on others, and fans raise attention to help with suicide.

The Equestria Daily story shows what readers think about context. A comment says Applejack stands for conservative “core values of family and tradition”, and worries the character will be cut out for “SJW” values. (That’s a weird way of sympathizing with victim families.) Nobody mentions many victims were Sikhs. (Their tradition is doing community service, but racists mistake them for Muslims because they don’t care to try knowing more.) And Dungeons and Dragons comes up as a scapegoat of 1980’s Satanic Panic. That’s actually a good point.

4: Silence can make judgement look true.

  • In the 1980’s, Satanism was blamed for teen sex, drugs and suicide.
  • Teen problems weren’t new, the new thing was social shifts. Pre Civil Rights generation parents had more worldly kids.
  • Or both parents now had two parents working, so kids were left home to get into things.
  • Then Dungeons and Dragons or heavy metal (or furries) were convenient scapegoats.
  • It made careers of conservative preaching, which led to closing comic and record stores, attacking artist careers, and arrests for obscenity.
  • Without evidence, people made shit up anyways and it worked.

The supposed Satan worshipping artists didn’t stay silent, they fought or leaned in. They weren’t literally summoning demons, they were doing stories with shades of light and dark, like visions that religion is supposed to awaken. Furries raised online don’t know what this culture war was like before the net made everything easy to get. It was a big stage in fandom growth.

The fandom had low notice until the 1990’s, when self-awareness made internal conflict with puritans. Soon the media latched on to exploit it. But around 2010 (when Comic Con went mainstream,) exploitation lightened and there started to be CNN “flat-out advocacy pieces“. And maybe the media has caught up with the fandom, but the fandom hasn’t lost fear of the media, when silence can hurt itself.

5: Fearmongering isn’t as bad as you think.

How bad is it if you lean in? Someone tried the same old panic in 2020 with email/telegram raids, calling it “Operation Expose Degeneracy.” They claimed to have thousands of murrsuit porn pics to publish and show that kids are in danger. They said many news outlets wanted to talk and there would be a whole book!

After spamming, he resorted to begging for help. Have you heard of this? Look how far that went.

6: Worry also means caring.

Mass shootings might not have one cause, but this one has something we know about radicalizing in online subcultures. With nazis being where they don’t belong, their presence isn’t just opinions or sides. They do nothing good for anyone, except maybe gun sellers and their invested friends. Worrying about how to stop that is caring about everyone. It’s not just negativity to bring it up and put fandom in the headline.

I knew that furry communities had successfully combated far right assholes trying to infiltrate their circles, so I am a little disappointed that the same cannot be said for bronies.
… no, I'm not joking here, wait why are you looking at me like that?

— Dennis (@Dennisthatsit) April 18, 2021

Kaitlyn Tiffany’s Atlantic article from last year confirms the Facebook memo’s point about extremism in the community existing generally. https://t.co/nJI9ESRGK3

— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) April 18, 2021

Since the Brony community is still grappling with it's veins of right wing violent extremists like the Indianapolis FedEx shooter it's worth revisiting the sucesses and efforts of other similar niche internet subcultures that have had success fending off neo-nazi infiltration: https://t.co/pkj07RnST7

— Deo ❤🖤 (@DeoTasDevil) April 19, 2021

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Fuzznet Music sounds off on new growth and features for musicians

Mon 26 Apr 2021 - 10:00

For musical furries, Fuzznet is the cat’s meow. It serves musicians like a publisher serves writers, giving them a collective home and ways to be discovered. It was last covered here in October 2020. Finn, the founder, says Fuzznet has been expanding in all directions, so here’s an update with some big and round numbers.

“We reached 600 monthly Listeners, 15k monthly Streams, and 500+ Followers on Spotify alone. We now have over 50 artists under our roof, including people like YaiSor (makes music for Adler The Eagle), TygreCub and Manicknux, and by now have 300+ songs released!

Last month was the first month we were able to reach a huge milestone of paying out profits to artists. We had cooperations with the FurryMusicians page on FA offering spots on our collective to Music Contest winners, signed a huge upcoming partnership with Entail, and supplying them with music for their marketing and branding in the future. We also had a bunch of people reaching out to work with us or request music for their projects.”

Music furs…….. listen up.

We've just partnered with @FuzznetWorld, the largest music collective in the fandom!

What does this Entail?

Stay tuned to find out……😉 pic.twitter.com/04IElrU6iQ

— Entail (@entailapps) March 16, 2021

Entail is a new furry art service in development and it sounds like they’ll be able to launch with a chunk of content preloaded. Finn adds:

“We also rebranded from Netlabel to “Music Collective” which is the more accurate term for what we are and do. We’re planning to launch a press release “service” (working out the details) designed both for in-house releases and other furry musicians to interview and make articles about their tunes.

We went from just being a new spot to deliver your music to and get it out, to a real factory of music, as well as true spot for growth as an artist. We’re now able to provide mastering, a Splice license (licensed samples and vocals to use for your music), and a huge collaborative and supportive space for all members.”

Support for member creativity is what furries do best. They may not be as known for music as they are for art and costume, but think again — furry music videos are often cited as the first gateways that new fandom members ever see.

Heya!
We're looking for volunteers in writing (Online Blogs/Articles) for writing about furry musicians releasing new music
We'd like to explore a concept similar to other music blogs with interviews and press releases but specified within the fandom.

DM if interested!

— FUZZNET – Furries & Music! (@FuzznetWorld) March 31, 2021

Hey there!
We'd be opening demo submissions back up for evaluation.
If you're a furry musician looking for your music to be distributed or become part of our collective for future releases, now's your chance!

DM us here or message @TraaaashPanda with a link/demo of recent works. pic.twitter.com/QEBUZNPOTl

— FUZZNET – Furries & Music! (@FuzznetWorld) April 2, 2021

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Peter Beagle recovers rights to The Last Unicorn and his body of work

Thu 25 Mar 2021 - 08:54

VOTE HERE for the Ursa Major Awards! From March 1-31, support furry creators.

Good news due to a few people fighting without much credit for years. Beagle's lawyer is a saint. https://t.co/hKfu8wXmh7

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) March 23, 2021

A long road

In 2014, Peter’s manager was accused of fraud. The criticism led to a public relations and legal battle including me (see comment below story); Peter supported my defense, and followed me in suing the manager in 2015. It was a triangle and we both prevailed.

In 2019 I took dismissal of the manager’s claims against me and a judgement of $32K.

Peter proved he was a victim of fraud, elder abuse, and defamation by the manager. He was awarded $332K in damages.

Peter’s creative rights were still tied up, until his team just sent the news he is entirely free with a message for Peter’s supporters.

The new story settles a creators rights fight that split off to federal bankruptcy court after fraud issues resolved for victims in state civil court. I won a $32,000 judgement there in 2019. It took a long time to finish the rest. This is a good day for Beagle.

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) March 23, 2021

Launching the Beagleverse! Please help promote for Peter on social media.

Use hashtags #beagleverse and #peterbeagleverse, and make sure to use correct handles for his accounts:

Peter is at work now after many projects had been put on hold. His new website (www.beagleverse.com) will have hints of things to come, news updates, and a mailing list to get the happenings in your inbox.

Artists: Protect yourselves, b/c the world is full of awful people.
People Who Are Protectors of Artists: Don't be like Connor Cochran; be like James Null and Kathleen Hunt. pic.twitter.com/28nbdMthO2

— deadline deTERMINATOR (@LisaDJenkins) March 24, 2021

Hints about the stakes of the fight.

The press release is from overcoming parts of the story most fans will never know about fighting abuse.

I can hint about something a wise old man told me after the judgements. In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron thought the Ring would always give him power because nobody would truly give it up. An abuser’s promises can be like that: Fame, fortune, fans… world tours, your name in lights! Giving it up breaks the spell.

Kathleen Hunt, Peter’s attorney, helped him because he “suffered from a host of injuries including fraud”; she took on the case pro bono when it became “increasingly clear that Beagle was being abused… Peter wanted his reputation and his life’s work back.”

To Peter’s team, elder abuse is a “far too common and sinister crime. One of Beagle’s future projects will be to advocate and raise awareness about elder abuse.”

Big dreams can happen again, but these ones won’t lose what really matters.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Captain’s Oath, by Rick Griffin — book review by Gre7g Luterman

Tue 9 Mar 2021 - 10:00

VOTE HERE for the Ursa Major Awards! From March 1-31, support furry creators.

Welcome to Gre7g Luterman, science fiction author reviewed here. Find him online at his site or Twitter.

The Captain’s Oath is book two in an epic science fiction trilogy about a struggle against oppression, featuring illustrations by author and artist Rick Griffin. [Full disclosure: I’ve been a beta reader on this project since the trilogy was a novel-length draft.]

What would you do to escape from slavery? It’s not as simple a question as it might seem. For although the crew of the White Flower II are definitely slaves, it’s not like someone stands over them with a whip, watching them pick cotton. The krakun (an alien race that look like dragons) indoctrinate the geroo (an alien race that look like anthropomorphic kangaroos) from birth into believing that they are willing employees. Additionally, they let the geroo live in just enough comfort to keep the crew from considering any form of revolt.

Ateri, the captain of the White Flower II, has been considering escape his whole life, and when a ship of pirates offers him a chance at freedom (a do-or-die offer, admittedly), they enter into a conspiracy that can only lead to freedom or the execution of every man, woman, and child aboard. The plan has three parts, which roughly correspond to the books in the trilogy.

Step 1: Trick the krakun into believing that a newly discovered planet can be terraformed into a new home world.

Step 2: Lay low while the krakun bring in a terraformer (the single most expensive machine in the known galaxy).

Step 3: Steal the transformer and sell it.

The first book in The Final Days of the White Flower II trilogy was called Traitors, Thieves, and Liars (published February 2019). It followed Gert and a pair of pirates as they snuck aboard a krakun survey ship to plant doctored data.

The second book, The Captain’s Oath (published February 2021), largely abandons Gert to follow the ship’s science officer, Tesko. I’ll admit that I was leery of this decision initially, but as this book has become my favorite novel of all time (furry or mainstream), clearly it was a good choice on Mr. Griffin’s part.

In addition to the krakun and geroo, this book features a number of geordian (aliens that look like anthropomorphic housecats) and ringel (aliens that look like anthropomorphic ring-tailed lemurs). Action wise, the story focuses on Tesko being abducted and escaping from the geordians, the geroo officers putting Captain Ateri on trial for treason, and the krakun trying to execute various geroo.

All three of these adventures are gripping and will keep you biting your nails, but for me, the best thing about this 490-page novel is the characters! Tesko is wonderful. She’s recently lost her husband and struggles with alcoholism, but she’s so nice, so caring and competent! She is more passionate about the mission than anyone, and seeing her struggle against impossible odds is what makes this book a keeper.

Furry-wise, this series does a great job of letting the reader imagine s/he is a geroo. There’s plenty of smells, physiological differences between them and humans, and even psychological differences to enjoy. There’s no humans in any of these stories, so it’s easy to get immersed.

The books are written for adults but are not erotica. The Captain’s Oath does contain a sex scene, but it’s tastefully done. There is also alcohol in these books, and though I don’t think there’s any smoking in this book, I know there was in the first of the series.

The books have a good amount of humor, neat science fiction, lots of thrilling adventure, and since Mr. Griffin is a talented artist, he illustrated them too. In addition to the covers, each book includes a bunch of full-page illustrations that are every bit as enjoyable as the story itself.

This trilogy is set in a larger universe known as the Hayven Celestia which includes five other novels and an anthology of short stories by various authors. There is some overlap between these stories, and Captain Ateri, for example, makes an appearance in several. However, this trilogy stands alone, and readers shouldn’t feel the need to read any other stories first before jumping into Traitors, Thieves, and Liars.

If you like furry sci-fi, you really owe it to yourself to take the trilogy home. I know I can’t wait for the third book to complete my set!

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Lola Bunny fans are bustling about her design for Space Jam sequel — Q&A with a huge fan.

Mon 8 Mar 2021 - 10:30

If you love bunnies, VOTE HERE for the Ursa Major Awards! From March 1-31, support furry creators.

I have to get something off my chest. I’ve never seen Space Jam. I’ll let others judge if it’s a “shoe commercial” and I’m not concerned about bunny bosoms. But this site honors all kinds of fans. If it stirs something in you, it’s worthy! Now the movie has an upcoming sequel and some talk about a redesigned Lola Bunny. It’s not just furries; there’s titters in the news from Entertainment Weekly to Newsweek.

Lola’s new design is “desexualized”, according to Space Jam: A New Legacy director Malcolm D. Lee.

“Lola was very sexualized” … “we reworked a lot of things, not only her look, like making sure she had an appropriate length on her shorts and was feminine without being objectified, but gave her a real voice. For us, it was, let’s ground her athletic prowess, her leadership skills, and make her as full a character as the others.”

For an interesting bit of story, Lola’s origin now includes Wonder Woman’s Amazonian homeland.

You might hear this is making debate or even complaints about PC culture run amok. I believe my friend’s comment that it’s “99% ironic” with people being nostalgic, or at most it’s making mountains out of molehills. But for your amusement, here’s one looney-tunes source.

Proof that we live in a society.

Of course as time goes on and old stories are remade for new generations, sexy changes. And for a point you’ll only get from furry news: it’s relative for fans who love toony aesthetic. NobodyWearsPants is a SFW account “dedicated to sharing pictures of pantsless cartoony animal characters”. They have #Nullvember and groups like NullCrotchesFTW. Toon-loving fandom is animated not just by looks and parts, but pettable personality. (I think furries with abs come from the uncanny valley.) And Lola is a bunny wearing clothes — isn’t this what your art and imagination is for?

The Lola Bunny Guy is real and gets pussy. Think about that. pic.twitter.com/OJ2iNxKSzN

— Last Name Ever, First Name Gayest (@Java_jigga) March 5, 2021

For well rounded appreciation, here’s one of Lola’s most devoted fans with a Q&A about his hobby since the 90’s. 

He went viral on Twitter and I reached him by DM at the same time as Slate.com did. Our chat was very wholesome!

Victor Ramirez is Graphic Design Manager for a transit agency in Chicago. A graduate from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Victor has developed many new wayfinding signs and printing methods. His pastimes include collecting Lola Bunny, My Little Pony and Zootopia merchandise. Victor lives in Chicago with his wife and family.

Hi Victor, can you tell me a little bit about your fan collecting? How did you get into it?

Sure, been collecting a bunch of Disney toys since 1995 with A Goofy Movie. That was the movie that got me started on my collecting binge. When Space Jam was announced in 1996, a new character was announced to be part of the Looney Tunes. When I saw the first promotional image for Lola Bunny, it was instant love. Here is a new, cute character that I have a ground-up chance on collecting everything with her on it. My family, friends, and animation industry friends have been helping me collect Lola from all over the world. I’ve met a couple of the Space Jam staff members through the years and have acquired many items like sketches, prototype figures and great stories on her design.

Do we need more Lola? Do you have any feelings about the redesign?

Most definitely. I was so happy to see Lola in Baby Looney Tunes and The Looney Tunes Show. Can’t wait for Space Jam: A New Legacy.

Lola Bunny will hopefully be a strong role model in the new film. The desexualization of the character will help in her development to become a stronger heroine with an independent voice rather than simply becoming Bugs Bunny’s girl with “no voice”. I support the animators in this new version of Lola. I see no problems with her new body style.

You were chatting on alt.tv.tiny-toon in the 90’s, so you were close to online fandom roots. At the same time you’re a design professional. I love finding bridges between both worlds — like secret furries at animation studios. Are you open with your hobby at work? Do you ever combine the two things?

I love incorporating animated characters at work. Whenever we have to test a new color palette, we use My Little Pony characters with our large format printers. My staff now knows if the printer has an issue if Twilight Sparkle doesn’t look correct. We have so much fun creating props with characters. It’s a fun job and having cartoon characters in the workplace makes our area fun.

Are you just a casual fan or have you been to conventions? Have any friends you want to shout out or experiences to share?

Wow. Furry conventions. It’s been ages. Did ConFURence back in mid 1990’s, DUCKON, Midwest Furfest, Ponyville Ciderfest, Whinny City Pony Con, C2E2 and Anime Midwest. Met the greats like Dusty Rhodes, Max Blackrabbit, Eric Schwartz, Daphne Lage, Terrie Smith, Jim Groat, Tygger, Michele Light, Reed Waller, Margaret Carspecken, Steve Gallucci, Roz Gibson, Genesis Cook, Andy Price, Mary Bellamy, Jay Fosgitt, Thom Zahler, Sara Richards, Katie Cook, Amy Mebberson, and Tony Fleecs.

I found out about these cons on the very early internet news groups and at comic shops. So much fun. My fun at these cons was to collect original art, autographs and hang out with the artists. Didn’t have a fursuit until I saw A Goofy Movie and ordered a Max Goof fursuit. When My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic debuted in 2010, I fell in love with Trixie and had a fursuit of her commissioned about two years after her appearance. Love these fandoms! So much fun and now my twin girls are loving My Little Pony, My Hero Academia and yes the Marvel Cinematic Universe in both film and print.

Good dad. Thanks Victor!

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Go vote for the 2020 Ursa Major Awards!

Mon 8 Mar 2021 - 10:00

Cast your vote now for the 2020 Ursa Major Awards. Voting closes on March 31 for the 14 categories below. Every year, furry creators (and mainstream creations) are eligible for this popular vote. Which movies, art, books, news magazines, and more will the community choose as favorites?

When you’re done, please ask your friends to share and repost the link! It helps creations that deserve attention.

Since 2001, these awards have been run with hard work by volunteers. They would appreciate any support you can give to defray costs for a website, making and mailing awards, and more. (paypal@ursamajorawards.org)

The 2020 Nominees: 

Best Motion Picture
Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Dramatic Short Work
One-shots, advertisements or short videos.

Best Dramatic Series
TV or YouTube series videos.

  • Aggretsuko (Directed by Rarecho, Season 3 episode 1 – 10, August 27)
  • Beastars (Directed by Shinichi Matsumi; Season 1 Episode 1 to 12) (USA Release, English Dub)
  • BNA: Brand New Animal (Directed by Yoh Yoshinari; Season 1 Episode 1 to 12, June 30)
  • Helluva Boss (Directed by Vivienne Medrano; Episodes “Murder Family” and “Loo Loo Land”, Oct 31 – Dec 9)
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (Created by Radford Sechrist; January 14 – October 12)

Best Novel
Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

Best Short Fiction
Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short written works.

Best Other Literary Work
Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and serialized online stories.

Best Non-Fiction Work
Includes documentaries, opinion pieces, and news articles.

Best Graphic Story
Includes comic books, and serialized online stories.

  • A&H Club, by Rick Griffin (Internet, January 24 to December 12)
  • Beastars, by Paru Itagaki (Viz Media and Weekly Shonen Champion, Volume 4 to 8)
  • Found Retake, by Toddlergirl (Fur Affinity, September 18 to December 30)
  • Oren’s Forge, by Tegan Gavet (Tapas, pages 112 to 161)
  • Shine, by Babystar (Fur Affinity, January 4 to December 28) adult material

Best Comic Strip
Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

  • Carry On, by Kathy Garrison Kellogg (Internet, January 1 to December 31)
  • Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet, January 6 to December 31)
  • Freefall, by Mark Stanley (Internet, January 1 to December 30)
  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet, January 1 to December 30)
  • The Whiteboard, by Doc N. (Internet, January 1 to December 24)

Best Magazine
Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.

  • Dogpatch Press, edited by Patch Packrat (January 6 to December 31)
  • Flayrah, edited by GreenReaper, Sonious, and Dronon (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • Furry Writers’ Guild, edited by Literalgrill. (Internet, January to December ) (Monthly publication of the FWG, sponsors of the COYOTL awards)
  • Pocari Roo, YouTube videos (January 11 to December 25)
  • Zooscape, edited by Mary E. Lowd (Internet; Issue 6 – 9)

Best Published Illustration
Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee-table portfolios.

Best Game
Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

Best Website
Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

  • Fur Affinity, Furry art and stories
  • Furry Life Online, online community
  • Loona, Moonlight_howling_666, Hazbin Hotel/Helluva Boss character (on Instagram)
  • SoFurry, Furry art
  • Stolas, daddy_hoothoot, Hazbin Hotel/Helluva Boss character (on Instagram)

Best Anthropomorphic Costume (Fursuit)

  • Cassidy Civet, Maker: Blue Wolf Studios, Owner/Wearer: Cassidy Civet, Photographed at VancouFur 2020, March 7.
  • Inutami Luki the Saluki, Maker: Kotoori Works, Owner/Wearer: Inutami Luki, Displayed Online August 7.
  • Toriel, Maker/Owner/Wearer: Nautilus20000, Displayed online on September 12.
  • Xif, Maker/Owner/Wearer: lutamesta, Displayed on the Japan Fursuit Creators runway January 17.
  • Zigc the Khajiit, Maker: Inerri Creatures, Owner/Wearer: Zigc The Khagiit, Displayed online July 3.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

A cheesy soundtrack for a furry pizza party

Wed 3 Mar 2021 - 10:00

If you love pizza and furries, VOTE HERE for the Ursa Major Awards! Support furry creators from March 1-31. Love is the best topping.

There is 1970’s country music about pizza. I was obsessed when I found it. I must have played it 7 times in a row. It’s so joyful, who hasn’t inhaled steam from a fresh pizza in the car and been full of longing? I’m pie-ning for some now.

Is there other country music like that? Most of what’s around these days is about trucks and things that don’t fit lyrics about spending $3.99 for a 16-incher because you’re not a penny pincher.

I have no idea when it will be safe to have furry meets again, but when it is, there’s definitely going to be a furry pizza party at my place. It would be picking up where we left off. That was the last thing that happened here before the covid lockdown, after Further Confusion 2020. We only got one started and it was supposed to be regular. Hosting 15 local furries was a nice turnout for a small private low-key night. Just add pupperoni.

Have any plans yourself?

Helped do a pizzacon furry movie marathon shindigaroonie. Not posting the group pic for privacy, but here's my pizzaratsona and art done on the spot by lovely @2ManyStripes. 15 furs came and saw Robin Hood, Animalympics (courtesy of @Skiltaire_Party), Fritz the Cat, and Zootopia. pic.twitter.com/uEenghZvca

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 10, 2020

I have been building a music playlist for the return of good times. It has pizza rock, pizza punk, pizza rap, pizza disco, pizza death metal, and the tasty lyrics of Eddie Rabbitt, one of the most furry country music names I can think of.

Any way you slice it, pizza makes a common doughnominator you can top with anything. Add furries for a guaranteed win.

Don’t forget pizza cocktails and furry drinks.

I made a drink for mice pic.twitter.com/6ez50XN7Cz

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 26, 2021

YES https://t.co/6h00nYMzT6

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 26, 2021

If you see me post anything saucy, I’ve probably been experimenting with recipes and planning for a furpile.

Message me privately for a link to a 50+ song playlist. Here’s a few fun ones.






Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Furry Raiders “Foxler” sex crime case: Jacob Kovar pleads guilty in scheme to frame witness

Thu 25 Feb 2021 - 10:00

Jacob Kovar, and his friend Lee “Foxler” Miller, founder of the Furry Raiders

The continuing story of nazi furries and their gang-like crimes (Updated April 2020)

In 2017, Dogpatch Press broke news that made national headlines. (Rolling Stone: Does the Furry Community Have a Nazi Problem? — Newsweek: Neo-Nazi Furries are Trump’s Latest and Most Puzzling Alt-Right Supporters.)

The Colorado-based Furry Raiders are a group with around 200 online members at this time. They exist to infiltrate and troll the furry community. The first story covered how they killed Rocky Mountain Fur Con, and followup covered more of their crimes and victims who need vindication. (See timeline at bottom). 

In 2019, Denver police arrested Furry Raiders founder Lee “Foxler” Miller. He was charged for sex offenses with a child that took place in 2015.

New court documents show how Miller’s inner circle tried to undermine the case by intimidating a witness. If the plan worked, the witness would be lured into a trap, framed, harassed and extorted, and pulled out of Miller’s case. Dogpatch Press would be baited into false reporting to hurt the victim.

Alleged activity by Miller/Foxler at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2015

Repeat offenders.

The plan proceeded until Dogpatch Press caught on. Investigation gathered evidence, police were alerted and two Furry Raiders were arrested in early 2020.

Behind the scenes, police traced a threat sent by VOIP and found it came from Furry Raiders. Police also received a forged document asking to cancel prosecution against Miller. It’s a reminder of the very first Dogpatch Press headline about the group doing “intimidation” with a fake legal letter.

The plan earned 8 felony charges for Miller’s right-hand man, Jacob Kovar. As a Furry Raiders admin, Kovar was known as Flare, Sneps, and several more names. He used “Dodger” as head of security for a new con in Wyoming. They dropped Kovar as soon as Dogpatch Press sent proof. Court records also show Kovar posed as 14 and 16 year old boys to lure the witness.

Kovar was already on parole for sex offending while working out of Miller’s house in Fort Collins, CO.

Facebook.com/snepcity

Kovar’s conviction for the plan.

In 2021, a Colorado court resolved charges for Kovar. Evidently a deal was reached, and he pled guilty for felony Attempt to Influence a Public Servant, and Invasion of Privacy for Sex Gratification. The D.A. dismissed charges for Witness/Victim Retaliation, Stalking, Extortion, and Criminal Impersonation.

Kovar was ordered to stay away from the victim, get a new sex offender evaluation, and faces years in jail on top of penalties for violating parole. Sentencing is set for April 2021. Update: Kovar was sentenced to 8 years in jail.

Here’s 28 pages of legal docs (with redacted witness ID). The arrest warrant shows police recognizing the furry community.

View this document on Scribd

The bizarre forged document sent to mislead police is worth a look, and might entertain lawyers.

Implications about the Furry Raiders.

In mid-2020, Miller’s own sex offense charges were dropped; but he did not prove innocence with acquittal. From a non-lawyer, the reasons could be (1) gathering evidence to re-file charges, (2) reducing court work during a pandemic, or (3) resting with Kovar’s case and avoiding taking a chance on another one. Miller has not shown an official statement from a judge.

It’s all consistent with reporting since 2017. The Furry Raiders are a threat to critics and kids, and they use “Sovereign Citizen”-style and gang-like tactics.

There’s a key rebuttal to claims that their reputation suffers from false reporting by critics, or “both sides are to blame”. Miller’s 2019 charges coincided with offending at RMFC 2015, long before he was known to Dogpatch Press. The crime report wasn’t seen here until after his arrest, because police learned from private sources and the witness was protected. So here’s the big question:

If they claim to be innocent of targeting kids — why did they need a convicted sex offender like Kovar to frame the witness?

The witness was not intimidated to retract any claims. Furry Raiders say he lied and Miller/Foxler won innocence by proving it. That never happened. Let Kovar’s conviction tell you which side to believe.

Timeline of news for review.

Telegram archive

This group was guilty from the start with trolling RMFC 2017. They got away with nazi “dogwhistle” imagery, threats and interfering with hotel room booking. Some RMFC board members were complicit enablers and their mismanagement helped to kill the con. With the pattern continuing to now, it shows the consequences of tolerating it the first time they show up.

Here’s how it started.

  • April 2016 — Furry Raiders grab a block of rooms for RMFC before the official opening, like hoarding pizza at a party and doling it out to friends.
  • Through 2016 — Furry Raiders provoke controversy with nazi dogwhistle activity, including appeals to alt-right leader Richard Spencer.
  • January 2017 — on Twitter, anti-nazi critic (DeoTasDevil) references a big headline that week: Richard Spencer getting punched.
  • The same day — RMFC bans “offensive imagery”, but Deo gets blamed for causing the problem with her tweet.
  • February 2017 — VICE gives early mainstream notice to furries opposing nazis and the Furry Raiders.
  • March 2017 — Controversy leads to RMFC’s hotel giving notice that the con has to add expensive security due to threats from unknown sources.
  • Soon after — Deo gets SovCit-style threat from RMFC’s CEO (Kahuki,) written by his board member friend (Scorch, now an active Furry Raider.)
  • April 2017 — Dogpatch Press publishes the letter with “intimidation” headline, and evidence that CEO Kahuki is a registered sex offender.
  • The same day — RMFC is canceled, and mainstream news reports nazi ties; but Deo is scapegoated for years after in the fandom.
  • In an interview, RMFC’s Chair says threats kept coming from unknown sources. (They were before and after Deo’s tweet.)
  • RMFC owed taxes not paid for years; Kahuki had stepped down as chair 8 years earlier due to being a sex offender, but stayed CEO.
  • Followup finds complicity between CEO Kahuki, board member Scorch, and Foxler/Furry Raiders, with suspicious activity regarding kids and sex.
  • RETALIATION: May 2017 — Califur convention targeted with “swatting” calls to their hotel by nazi furries.
  • Through 2017 — Nazi furries are active with alt-right organizing, including Richard Spencer’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
  • More interference with events by Nazi furries, Furry Raiders are banned from events, Denfur convention is planned to take RMFC’s place.
  • RETALIATION: Late 2017 — Denfur is targeted with a scheme to falsely book rooms so the con will fail; Denfur restarts room booking.
  • An ex-Furry Raider comes out about Foxler leading the scheme to cost Denfur $40,000 with stolen credit cards and ID’s (possibly from RMFC).
  • Early 2018 — Discord bans nazi servers where Unite the Right was planned and sweeps out members, Nazi furries are banned with them.
  • March 2018 — a prominent alt-right troll (Weev) joins Furry Raiders with hopes to bring Foxler to Richard Spencer events.
  • May 2018 — FurAffinity bans numerous nazi-furry accounts with a new policy against promoting hate groups.
  • August 2018 — Denfur breaks attendance records, security marches Foxler out.
  • April 2019 — Foxler arrested for child sex offense coinciding with RMFC 2015, previously unknown here.
  • RETALIATION: Fall 2019 — Furry Raiders team up with a prominent alt-right troll (Milo Yiannopoulos) to troll Midwest Furfest.
  • Followup finds ties between nazi furries and a violent gang (the Proud Boys); Milo wanted street fights at MFF, but he was stopped from going.
  • RETALIATION: Late 2019 — Dogpatch Press targeted with intimidation scheme, reports to police lead to 2 arrests of Furry Raiders.
  • Through 2020 — Dogpatch Press story about violent threats by nazi furries collects the most evidence yet. There’s ties in FBI reports of swatting schemes, violent hate groups recruiting kids, and murders in Charlottesville and Texas.

2019: Kovar and Milo plan for MFF.

These groups chase power even with constant consequences for being toxic. More than ever, this story is evidence for why to keep them out.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Meet Fuzzyfin, a licensed therapist and furry with insider understanding.

Wed 24 Feb 2021 - 10:00

Yesterday’s story looked at finding therapists in the furry community, who might get things like LGBT issues or the benefit of role-play. Meet one.

I am a licensed independent marriage and family therapist in Ohio. My furry name is “Fuzzyfin“.

I have been in the fandom since before I was a therapist. Being in furry actually helped me quiet a bit, as a queer women, to help find myself authentically. I was able to explore and witness things like the leather and BDSM/Kink community (as there is a lot of overlap). In experiencing these things personally, it has greatly helped me as a clinician. Clients want to see someone who “gets it” and won’t pathologize them.

One of the big issues that clients face, is a lot of scrutiny for being involved in “non traditional” interests. I am open on my website that I am involved in the furry fandom, and have been told by clients that it helps them feel more comfortable and not judged. It has also helped me in being comfortable talking about things like gender expression, sexuality, and intersectionality of power and privilege.

I love talking and teaching about furry. I gave a Sexology on Tap talk in January 2020 locally in Columbus. I gave a presentation to MFT students at Akron University late last year. 2019 was my first year as track lead for the Mental Health, Nature, and Spirituality track at Midwest Furfest. It has been great to give presentations on how to find a therapist and how to manage anxiety at a convention.

I am constantly learning, I am a member of AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) as well as the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom. I am currently taking additional courses in sexuality and sex therapy.

The pandemic has definitely created a unique situation. I work with A LOT of couples/polyam folx, which I have noticed the issues within their relationships being amplified by feelings of helplessness and being stuck. It has amplified stress on folks. Honestly, the hardest time during COVID for me as a clinician was during the Jan 6th insurrection. Clients were terrified and I was terrified, things were changing so quickly. I might be a therapist, but I am still a human.

As a mental health professional, I am also exhausted, holding space for folks right now while also going through our own stuff.

Furry is unique in that a majority of the community is online, but the lack of cons has created a massive hole in connection. I know we are all tired and that need of connection is so great right now, while at the same time having that connection leads to a lot of risk. I have a lot of conversations with clients comparing safe sex conversations to COVID risk – and how to talk about risk with folks “in your bubble”. I am thankful things like Zoom and Discord exist, as it enables face to face connection. I know COVID will forever change my profession, it has allowed me to meet people “in their house” by being virtual. I have been able to get an emergency license for KY. I also now am licensed in FL and not just Ohio. It has removed some of the barriers to seeing folks. I am seeing folks I never would have seen before being online.

Fuzzyfin is like many furries — multiskilled and generous about sharing. Here’s hoping to catch one of her talks in the future.

UPDATE: talk shared by Hund the Hound.

Follow Fuzzyfin on Twitter or visit her site.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

A furry look at lockdown vibes and finding therapy

Tue 23 Feb 2021 - 10:00

Fun is good for you. Furries know it. Get a fursona and have fun with art, stories, role play, or putting on a carpet and doing silly voices. How about news reporting with a silly voice that makes dogs flip their heads to the side? (I was on a podcast this week.)

Sick of lockdown? More than ever, people need fun to stay well, but options are limited: “The pandemic has evaporated entire categories of friendship, and by doing so, depleted the joys that make up a human life—and buoy human health.

You can talk to people online, but social media has bad vibes that are hard to ignore. Expecting bad ideas to get neutralized by good ideas is a bad idea at this point. Stoking them can turn into mass hysteria. Or mega-hysteria. (Megascale is a thing now, but here’s some history:)

“Whose turn is it to clean the litterbox?”

OK, I don’t think soldiers should come whip people for meowing (kinky) but there are problems that don’t get fixed with meowing back.

Speaking of mass hysteria, look how a thing like QAnon jumped from online to real life. It’s the conspiracy theory about satan-worshipping pedo-cannibals ruling the world from a “Deep State” who were supposed to get rounded up by the Messiah Trump. What a sentence. I’m just a talking dog, but that doesn’t sound healthy. I have no idea what those people are doing now, but they might need help to come back down to earth.

Sometimes you need professional help.

This started with a friend having the idea of a therapist finder for furries, because if you are one, you might prefer someone who gets your reality. Think of professionals who get common LGBT issues and won’t judge role-playing. I gathered some comments about this.

I'm a therapist! Feel free to reach out!

— FuzzyFin #BlackLivesMatter (@TheFuzzyFin) February 15, 2021

Anon furry tip:

I have a counselor who’s been very open and accepting about the whole ‘furry’ thing, though it took several years to come up. We also spoke about it in the context of something else, and so I ended up talking about how I entered the fandom, what my initial experiences were, and how early interactions shaped me (both positively and negatively). There were a few questions they had to ask more than once, but overall I feel like the fact that they hadn’t known anything about the fandom previously was a big help. I had a similarly positive experience with a hypnotherapist. Oddly enough, both of them were professionals who’d decided to train as counselors later in life.

For therapists with furry clients, from Furscience, via MythicalRedFox:

I was just thinking the other day how it’d be nice to have a therapist that is a furry. Getting a therapist up to speed on furry context has always been a barrier. There is this: Clinical Interaction with Anthropomorphic Phenomenon: Notes for Health Professionals about Interacting with Clients Who Possess This Unusual Identity.

Finding help online might not be as easy as you think, says Furscience:

A big challenge is the restriction on therapists to practice only in the state they are licensed.

— Furscience! (@furscience) February 15, 2021

A caveat from Hero of None:

I don’t know many furry therapists, but I’ve certainly seen several that aren’t. Discords and Telegram chats, just like twitter, are not good places to discuss mental health issues, especially in “anonymous” help channels. Always seek accredited & professional therapists! I think we’re both familiar with at least one furry group that promotes said ‘help’ to furries, just to boost their membership numbers and with no accredited therapists on its constantly shifting staff list. =\

Reassurance from Horrible Horse and more furries:

This reminds me of work with my therapist, where we’ve discussed Furry Fandom often; everything from him having a little knowledge about BLFC to my unadulterated joy at Foxtrot (furry dance), how Furry helped me embrace my gayness, and how anthro deer are the epitome of men I find attractive.

I have a sex therapist too. He's the most understanding one I've ever met regarding Furry culture.

— Scrimno (@Scrimno) February 16, 2021

That’s a good start… but what would therapy be like for various animals?

  • Therapy dog: “Nobody ever asks how *I* feel…”
  • Housecat: “I get in trouble for sleeping around.”
  • Owl: “It feels like I’m always watching my back”.
  • Groundhog: “I can’t get one day for myself without people expecting things from me.”
  • Porcupine: “I’m working on less prickly relationships.”
  • Sheep: “Is it OK if I’m attracted to farmers and Scottish people?”
  • Bear: “My parents were overbearing and I’m learning not to panda to them.”
  • Cow: “I’m getting help for a moo disorder.”

Tomorrow, check out what Fuzzyfin has to say about being a furry therapist!

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Bearly Furcasting Feat. Taebyn Podcast story.

Mon 1 Feb 2021 - 10:00

(Patch:) Welcome to a guest article about a furry podcast that rocks! 

I’m a frequent podcast listener, and almost everything I follow is scripted, not unproduced/free-form. My list has documentary, history, arts & culture, tech, journalism, interview shows, and true crime. Some have playful concepts. Timesuck has history and true crime told by a comedian. Excuse Me, That’s Illegal is a delightful snack instead of a deep dark murder show, with absurd little stories of softcore crime. Radio Rental has creepy true stories that are like the Twilight Zone with a “crytpkeeper” host. 

Most furry podcasts didn’t do it for me by using unproduced style, and rarely in fursona. Then I heard Bearly Furcasting Feat. Taebyn. It’s playful yet produced, with great curation. Every show is a treat because of a different notable guest from the fandom. They have hosted two pettable guests from this site: Summercat and Moi. 

Bearly Furcasting is up for the Ursa Major Award nomination (for the Magazine category, and if you nominate them we all win!) Go nominate NOW, the deadline is February 13. Now here’s Taebyn and Bearly’s own story!

In 2017 Taebyn and Bearly began a collaboration to make entertaining YouTube videos for Taebyn’s channel. Their very first YouTube together was a Storytime with Taebyn where Taebyn read the story Playful Puppies. Story Time With Taebyn #1 – Playful Puppies.

They were pretty successful in putting out content on a regular basis. They produced Storytime videos, Cooking videos, Helpful Hints, Math Vids, Product Reviews, Poetry, Songs/Drumming, and con vids.  Then COVID struck, and they were unable to get together due to the various quarantines. So while video production is on hold for now, they hope to get back to them as well as the podcast once the restrictions are lifted. In January 2020, at Further Confusion, (the last con they attended before the pandemic), they had talked about doing a podcast and so they felt the time was right to get it rolling.

Funny thing is, neither of them had done any podcasting before, and while videography is fairly straight forward, podcasting takes an entirely different skillset.

With all the best intentions in the world, they plunked down the money for hosting and equipment and jumped in the deep end with both paws.  At the time of this writing they have published 40 episodes.  New episodes of the podcast are published every Saturday.

Furry podcasting, it turns out, isn’t that unique. Much like furry YouTube videographers, there are many furry podcasters out there.  Each has their own style, their own spin, and their own niche.  Bearly and Taebyn have talked to several other podcasters and most don’t do a ‘produced’ show like ours.  A ‘produced’ show means it is pre-recorded and the content edited to make it flow and ensure some consistency. Pre-recording allows for moving the audio around if something is forgotten or needs to be added later.

Like many podcasters, episode #1 was short, tinny, and not very polished. When they started they just chatted with each other, talked about their lives, and shared a few jokes, and the episodes were only about 30 minutes long. After a few episodes, they started inviting guests on the show. They thought they would never get any real high power guests, but were gladly mistaken. They have had well known authors, artists, Con chairs, fursuit makers, musicians, entertainers, and more than a few notable furs.  With guests, and all the regular segments, the podcast episodes run between an hour and an hour and a half.

Around episode 5 they decided to give a section to any fur that could log in to chat with them.  It is called; Five Minute Furs for Fun!  It has seen a limited success because they only put the link out on their Fan chat on Telegram: BFFT Chat.  It is open to anyone in the chat, and that chat is open to anyone to join. They invite the readers to join them there.

The format for the show seems to be working for them and they hear good things from those who listen. Taebyn and Bearly are serious punsters and bad joke aficionado’s so they spend a lot of time sharing really bad jokes, and in fact there is a section of the show devoted solely for those jokes.   There are other on-going segments in each episode, such as “Furries in the News” and either a “Storytime” or “Math With Taebyn”. Early episodes saw Bearly asking Taebyn some This or That questions, but over time Bearly ran out of choices, and now will ask Taebyn Trivia Questions.  The format is evolving and it is hard to say what the podcast will sound like a year from now, or even a few weeks from now.  They are constantly coming up with new ideas!

The Podiverse is a strange collective. Podcasts are like the old radio shows of the golden age of radio, there are talk shows, scripted shows, game shows, and variety shows. The only difference is that now all is electronic, and anyone with a computer and a microphone can create content. One person can record themselves for a bit and publish it, and that is the most basic and simple aspect.  Other shows have full blown studio’s actors, and huge budgets, that is the other end of the spectrum. Bearly and Taebyn’s little BFFT podcast falls closer to the basic level, but has grown over the weeks. They now have a staff of two associate editors, a music associate, and a talent director.  BFFT is unique because of it’s format, being furry-centric with lots of notable furs in the fandom, and that Taebyn is on it – he’s quite a crazy puppy.

Every Saturday is a new podcast on all pod platforms and YouTube. If you want to interact with other fans and staff of the podcast, you can join our telegram chat: BFFT Chat https://t.co/3JHnCjm6Bw

— Bearly Furcasting (@furcasting) December 5, 2020

Behind the Mic:

Taebyn is a pup, a mere 4.5 years old, but he was born with an innate sense for math and humor. His timing is impeccable, but his lack of concentration often leaves co-host Bearly trying to corral him into the subject matters.  Taebyn is the epitome of a Friendly Fur and a wonderful ambassador for the Furry Fandom. He is always positive, always friendly, and will hug just about anyone, anyfur, or anything!

Bearly came to the fandom as the valet for Taebyn. After meeting him for the first time it was apparent he needed adult supervision at most events, and while Taebyn’s husband can sometimes do that, Bearly took up the reins and spends time ensuring Taebyn gets things done in a timely manner when at cons and when doing the podcast. Bearly has often joked he was going to run a panel on how to be a Fursuit Valet!

Bearly does most of the behind the scenes work for the podcast including editing, finalizing guests, directing the podcast, and producing the content, he does this with the minimal training in mass media and broadcasting that he learned at the local community access channel in Salem, Oregon, as well as tapping his experience in creating online training content for his full time employment in the Normy World.

Taebyn is, for lack of a better term, the face of the podcast.  He always refers to it as the Pupcast, and the episodes as Pupisodes, even though Bearly has never called it either of those. Many guests come to the show because they love Taebyn and his crazy antics.

barkwags! This week, we chat with the curator of the "Furry Library" SummerCat @Bengaley ! He's also a fur from way back and even attended some PrancingSkilitaire parties! And other big words and jokes and info happen in this pupisode! https://t.co/1sDOR75JpV

— Taebyn (@TaebynPup) January 30, 2021

Notable furs on the show:

All the guests they have had on the show have been marvelous, and they hate to single out any one fur, but they were both surprised at the number of downloads of Episode 8. That was the episode with Paco Panda. They had no idea just how popular he was and the downloads show it! That episode is still being downloaded today and the numbers keep going up, that episode is their most listened to. Paco even drew a picture of Taebyn and Bearly during the interview and that is what is on the banner of their Twitter.

Taebyn points out that all the guests have been great, though one unique moment was in episode #25 when he played Jeopardy with BuckTown Tiger.  BuckTown was a Jeopardy champion, so this was a great experience for Taebyn.  Checking out their WikiFur page, you will see the list of all the notable furs they have had on the show. Chatting with all of them has been an honor and a pleasure, they wouldn’t trade that for anything.

At first the guests were approached because they were well known to Taebyn and Bearly, or because they were fans of the guest.  As time has gone by, they have tried to get a mix of furry contributors that make up the fandom.  Past guests sometimes suggest others to be on the show, while other times they discover notable furs on various media and invite them to be on the podcast. As of this writing they have guest bookings 8 weeks in advance! They are trying to get some of the charities from the various Cons to come on the show and talk about their organizations, however this seems to be harder than getting furs on there.

bark! New pupisode! This time, I interview Patch O'Fur, founder of @DogpatchPress FurryNews! And also, more horrible puns and jokes as always! Join us fur the fun!https://t.co/3EPOyIZsgf

— Taebyn (@TaebynPup) August 29, 2020

To the Future:

Taebyn and Bearly are hoping to start video production soon after the pandemic is over and will continue to do the podcast as well. They really like being contributors to the furry community and love that so many furs find fun and friendship with their podcast.

While doing a podcast is a lot of work: two recording sessions a week, guest bookings, equipment maintenance, editing and all the other adjacent details that go along with it, Bearly and Taebyn wouldn’t give it up for anything!

If you would like to hear the episodes or know what was on every episode you can visit the Bearly Furcasting Wikifur page or their podcast’s website: http://bearlyfurcasting.buzzsprout.com/. The podcast is available on all major podcast platforms or can be downloaded through direct RSS from their webpage.  You can contact them at Bearlyfurcasting@gmail.com, on their Twitter: @Furcasting, or on their telegram at BFFT Chat. Find them on Youtube: Injured Nerves Productions and Taebyn.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Ursa Major Awards and 3rd annual Good Furry Award are open for nominations

Wed 27 Jan 2021 - 10:00

DUTY CALLS FOR THE FANDOM! The Ursa Major awards are coming. Every year, furry creators (and mainstream creations) are up for nominations. For 2020’s movies, art, books, news magazines, and more… which ones will the community choose as favorites?

Nominate HERE for the Ursas, but don’t wait until it’s too late! February 13 is the deadline.

Furry ancestors spent ages of building temples for these works (well, there’s a website at least). Please support those who you want recognized with pets and praises.

Since 2001, these awards have been run with long hours of work by volunteers. They would appreciate any support you can give to defray costs for a website, making and mailing awards, and more.

The Awards committee could use help! Want to be on it? Leave a comment to be contacted. 

Categories:

  • Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture
  • Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Series
  • Best Anthropomorphic Novel
  • Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction
  • Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story
  • Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip
  • Best Anthropomorphic Magazine
  • Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration
  • Best Anthropomorphic Game
  • Best Anthropomorphic Website
  • Best Anthropomorphic Costume (Fursuit)

2021 GOOD FURRY AWARD – Nominate furries HERE.

The Good Furry Award is run by Grubbs Grizzly to recognize furries who make outstanding positive contributions to the fandom. The first one in 2019 went to Tony “Dogbomb” Barrett. In 2020 the award (and a $500 check) went to Ash Coyote (read about her on the site.) Her movie The Fandom: A Furry Documentary is on the Ursa Majors recommended list and got a review here.

Grubbs explains on the nomination page:

The Good Furry Award is about community spirit. This is not an award for who is the best fursuiter or artist or writer. It is not about being the most popular or being the furry who is seen on news broadcasts. It is about furries who do good works to promote and sustain the fandom and who represent the best in furry. Examples might be a person who does extraordinary work as a furcon volunteer, or who runs a charity, or who has done a lot to help furries in need, or who does something to promote a positive image of furries to the mundane world. I’m sure you understand the phrase “community spirit,” so nominate people based on that concept. The same goes for groups of people, organizations, and even businesses that help out furries.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News