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COVID-19 pandemic causes furry convention closures and delays worldwide

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As governments restrict gatherings of people, furry conventions are being postponed or canceled. Here's a quick run down of events and their status as of December 27th 2021 20:30 EDT (UTC-4) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - updates to come.

A new section has been added for past events impacted for historical purposes. More information will be added to deal with virtual versions of a physical gathering if applicable.

Links go to statements if available, or to their Twitter feed or site. See also: Furry Fandom and the Internet forced back to roots by viral outbreak

Update 2021 Year End - As conventions start to open again, the overall list of cancellations and delays is becoming clunky. The final update will be today December 27th, 2021. Any future cancelations or delays will be their own newsbytes or articles in the future.

Review: 'Mindline', by M. C. A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Mindline by M.C.A. Hogarth This is the conclusion of M.C.A. Hogarth’s The Dreamhealers Duology. I reviewed the first book, Mindtouch, here on September 1, 2013.

In that novel Jahir Seni Galare, the colorless elflike Eldritch esper, has just entered interstellar Seersana University. His roommate is Vasiht’h, a short, skunk-furred centauroid winged Glaseah. They are both espers, but Jahir is an involuntary telepath to whom the impact of other minds is painful. In the course of Mindtouch, the two aliens develop a strong friendship, Jahir learns to control his talent – somewhat – and the two graduate.

Jahir intends to use his telepathic talent to become the galaxy’s first xenotherapist, reading his patients’ minds to help heal them. The question is whether there is any danger of the esper medic’s becoming overwhelmed by his patient’s mind.

It would be just his luck to begin his residency by reporting to the hospital as a patient. Jahir Seni Galare, nascent xenotherapist, Eldritch noble and apparently complete lightweight, sat on a bench just outside the Pad nexus that had delivered him to the surface of the planet Selnor. He had his carry-on in his lap and was trying to be unobtrusive about using it as a bolster until the dizziness stopped. (p. 1)

Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, January 2014, trade paperback $15.99 ([1 +] 341 [+ 7] pgs.), Kindle $5.99.

Review: 'Mindtouch', by M. C. A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (9 votes)

Mindtouch It is unfair to compare Hogarth’s novel set at a university in her Paradox universe with Pixar’s recently-released Monsters University, but the superficial parallels are obvious. Instead of the no-two-are-the-same monsters, there are the seeming-dozens of different species of the Pelted, and some humans, wandering about prestigious Seersana University. Instead of a big green eyeball and a blue-lavender furry monster as main characters, there are a pale, tall humanoid Eldritch and a short, furry centauroid winged Glaseah.

The big difference is that in Monsters University, the cast all look different but are all from the same culture. In Mindtouch, the different species are from different societies. The students may know intellectually that they are in for some “different” experiences at S.U., but it is still a shock when they happen.

Orientation began, as he had half expected, with a speech by the associate dean of the College of Medicine, of which the xenopsychology school was a part. He was one of the Seersa, the foxine Pelted who’d given the world its name, a lean and grizzled elder with salt-and-pepper fur and the intensity of a medic. Jahir listened to his monologue while marveling that he was actually here … sitting in a chair in an auditorium filled with aliens. The woman in front of him had silk-furred ears that were trembling from the effort of catching every word. The ends of the rows had spaces for centauroids to recline, or the more avian aliens to perch. He was, very definitely, no longer home, and if the stress of his danger at being so crowded was giving him a headache, well … it was worth it, for the newness of it. (pgs. 28-29)

Studio MCAH, July 2013, trade paperback $16.99 ([3 +] 408 [+ 7] pages), Kindle $5.99.

Animal prosthetics expose greater concern for animal welfare

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (8 votes)

Naki'o, from ReutersMy first story for Flayrah was about Oscar, the first cat to get prosthetic limbs. Only one line – it was before Newsbytes were added – but the feline Oscar remains a good role model. (Unfortunately, the human Oscar, my fellow South African, multiple gold-winning Paralympian and first amputee to compete in the able-bodied Olympics, dropped the ball in that regard.)

There are many other examples of animals with prosthetics. Perhaps the most notable would be Winter, a dolphin with a prosthetic tail. In 2011, her story was adapted into a feature film, Dolphin Tail. Moving from a cat to her demonstrates the breadth of animals that these tools and surgeries are helping.

Scaly, feathery alternative limbs leap the uncanny valley into the future of prosthetic design

Your rating: None Average: 3 (5 votes)

Prosthetic snake armThe mention of an amputee flaunting a showy, bird-plumaged prosthetic arm should make the Furry connection clear, in this story about the work of the Alternative Limb Project (ALP) and it's director, Sophie de Oliveira Barata.

De Oliveira Barata is "challenging the belief that prosthetic limbs should aim to look as realistic as possible." Her career started in special effects for film and TV, before she moved to work with a realistic prosthetics company for eight years. In her opinion:

The dominant thinking is that a new limb should be as close a match to the previous limb as possible. But until technology gets to the point where you can have a realistic looking limb in movement and aesthetics, there will always be this uncanny middle ground. Having an alternative limb embraces difference and can help create a sense of ownership and empowerment.

The new option for limbs include crystal, stereo speakers, lighting, and simulated internal anatomy to tranform disability-concealers into creative, eye-catching fashion. What's next, hooves and paws?

'Doc Rat' cartoonist Jenner to draw 'Aus Doc' editorials

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (7 votes)

Doc Rat (Dr. Benjamin Rat)Part-time furry cartoonist and full-time MD Jenner, creator of UMA-nominated strip Doc Rat, has become an editorial cartoonist for Australian Doctor.

Jenner, better known in the medical world as Melbourne GP Dr. Craig Hilton, has been cartooning for over 25 years. Within the fandom, he is best known for the adventures of Dr. Benjamin Rat, which started June 2006.

The position at Aus Doc opened up after the retirement of Dr. Bob Futcher. [tip: Fred Patten]

Cat receives new prosthetic limbs

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

A cat in the UK who lost both hindlegs has had them replaced with a new style of prosthetic.

Otter 'escorts' mate to hospital

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Otter 'escorts' mate to hospital

Hospital staff were amazed to see an otter appear to escort its injured mate to the front door of their building.

Pets give patients a paw up on recovery

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By Molly Masland
Health Editor
Updated: 12:39 p.m. ET July 19, 2004

Imagine being laid up in a hospital and, as you’re wheeled down the sterile hallway, along strolls a three-foot-tall horse wearing yellow rubber booties and a backpack full of daisies. No, you’re not having a morphine-induced hallucination, you haven’t died and landed in some kind of surreal Barnum & Bailey heaven. You’ve just met Lucky Boy, one of the thousands of animals making the rounds at hospitals across the United States.

Injured dog checks himself into hospital

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A black Labrador retriever apparently had the sense enough to go to a West Virginia hospital after being hit by a car.

Click here for story

A vet was called after he entered the waiting room, and is now being held while his owner is located.

Woof, my name is Dr Dog

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Men in the UK may soon be able to be screened for prostate cancer by a sensitive canine nose. Few other details, but has the scoop.

Viagra good for the "Wild Life"?

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (6 votes)

In the same vein as this previous post, a light hearted editorial appeared recently in the Phildelphia Enquirer regarding the decline in use of animal parts as aphrodisiacs.

Viagra May Help Protect Endangered Wildlife

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Some correlational data suggest that exotic animals endangered by the lethal harvest of profitable folk aphrodesiacs may be getting a lucky break due to the success of Pfizer's Viagra. Hunting of a few key species (including Canadian harp seals) used in treating impotence has dropped considerably over the past decade, though this link is still questionable.

The full story by CNN appears here.

The Holy Cow Health Plan

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

In Cambodia, folks are flocking to visit a brown cow thought to have miraculous healing powers. Flowers, incense and water are given to her as offerings and she then obliges by licking those who want her help. Her slobbery treatment is claimed to have restored mobility and cured a variety of sicknesses. Yahoo News have a few more details.

Sick otter gets MRI exam

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A female sea otter experiencing frequent seizures was given the first-ever otter MRI exam today. Doctors fear that they'll have to euthanize her if they can't discover the cause of her seizures, and the MRI seems to have been inconclusive. Be sure to read the caption under the accompanying photo.