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What is a furry and why did a woman bring a real dog to a furry convention?

What happened when a woman mistakenly brought a real dog to a furry convention? The story — and the subsequent photos — thankfully went viral.

Cheryl Wassus of Monroe, Michigan, took her 1-year-old Bernese mountain dog, Link, to the Motor City Furry Con in Novi on Saturday because this year’s event was going to benefit Pets for Vets, a nonprofit she volunteers with that places therapy dogs with military veterans.

“This is just a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed,” Wassus told New York magazine. “When we set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach, 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, by the way, is someone who often likes to role-play while dressing up in an anthropomorphic animal costume.

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Wassus’ son, Kenny, works for New York Media, the parent company of New York magazine, and he tweeted the amazing photos of Link, who was a hit with his new furry friends.

“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,” Wassus said. “They weren’t offended, though, they just embraced him. It was all good. Just a real interested community.”

If you want to learn more about the furry community or perhaps explore furry fandom on your own, here are a few resources to get you started if you’re in Boston, New York or Philadelphia.

BOSTON

Anthro New England was founded in 2014 and held its first convention in Cambridge the following year. It will hold its next con in February 2018 at the Boston Park Plaza hotel. Nearly 1,350 people attended this year’s event, which raised more than $15,000 for Massachusetts Vest-a-Dog, which provides bulletproof vests to police dogs.

NEW YORK

While there is little information or any definite date, according to FurryCon.com, an event will take place in Rochester in “August-September 2017.” The con’s Facebook and Twitter have not been updated in some time, however.

PHILADELPHIA

The 21st annual Anthrocon, “the world’s largest convention for those fascinated with anthropomorphics,” according to its website, will take place June 29-July 2 in Pittsburgh. Additionally, the website Pennsylvania Furries offers chat groups, forums, blogs and events for the statewide furry community.

(Want something to make you feel the warm fuzzies, err furries? The Motor City Furry Con Link attended ended up raising $10,000 for Pets for Vets.)