It wasn’t at all the type of pet event Cheryl Wassus thought she’d be attending last weekend, but the Michigan mom helped raise $10,000 for her charity — and learned about a whole new subculture — at the Motor City Furry Convention.
Her son posted the experience on Twitter.
Wassus works with Pets for Vets, which pairs shelter pets with wounded military veterans with the goal of helping heal the emotional wounds of the veterans and saving the dogs from being put down.
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The Motor City Furry Convention, held April 7-9 just outside of Detroit, chose the Southwest Michigan chapter of Pets for Vets as its charity this year and encouraged participants to best last year’s total of $8,000 raised.
Wassus showed up with her 1-year-old Bernese mountain dog Link to volunteer for the charity, “set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach,” she told New York Magazine. “I had no idea the outreach was going to be other human ... furry people. I guess you’re never too old to learn.”
A furry convention is a place where people dress up as animals, often in full and elaborate costumes and sometimes with a sexual component. More than 1,290 people showed up for the Motor City Furry Convention, according to its website.
“I learned so much about this whole new culture of people who get together and dress up in furry costumes,” Wassus told New York Magazine.
She said she and Link were embraced by the group. Wassus told Cosmopolitan that Link’s “eyes got bigger and bigger.”
“It was a little embarrassing at first because Link was just a little curious why people were wearing tails, so he was doing some serious tail-sniffing and checking out people. They weren’t offended, though, they just embraced him,” Wassus said.
Wassus ended up doing a panel discussion about Pets for Vets and the group raised $10,000 for the charity.
Wassus said enjoyed her time, but she doesn’t plan on returning next year.