Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

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When Fursuiting and Charity Radiates Positive Difference – Dogbomb, Furry Weekend Atlanta & The 2019 ALS Walk

by Dogpatch Press Staff

GUEST POST BY JOE GORIA (JOE G. BEAR)

Joe Bear in suit

As a young kid growing up in 1970’s Los Angeles, I was always fascinated by seeing costumed performers at events like circuses, or Disneyland and the now defunct Hanna-Barbera’s Marineland in Palos Verdes, CA. To see tall cartoon characters come to life as Baloo, Yogi Bear, and Scooby Doo let me escape into a virtual fantasy life of myself living in a world alongside Anthropomorphic Animals.

Though I grew up and went to college, graduated and attended grad school — and recently celebrated 19 years employed for a major telecommunications company with a Pension and 401k — I’m still that kid that refused to grow up. The ‘Hooman’ in me was not enough. I wanted to be my own ‘Bear.’ It led to my amazement that there’s a fan base just for this.

I discovered ‘The Furry Fandom’ in late 2013 by another Furry who had a German Shepherd fursuit stored in the trunk of his ol’ jalopy. His name was ‘Kaz,’ and he was picking me up at San Diego’s Santa Fe train station. When he popped open his trunk to put my bags in, I noticed his fursuit and asked him “is that a dog costume?”  I thought he was working at an amusement park or something. Instead he was a Furry, and I got my 15 minute crash course in ‘The Fandom’.

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“Last Mutt Standing”: Dogbomb inspires the world through his courageous battle against ALS

by Patch O'Furr

Dogbomb: Not your ordinary canine is a 2011 profile of a fandom-loved personality written by Kijani Lion. Kijani himself gets love here for bringing excellence to furry news (see his 2016 interview). By request, his Dogbomb article was reprinted with a plan for a fresh 2018 update. It was delivered with this note. (Your fluffy editor – Patch) 

In my 6+ years of journalism this was the most challenging, emotional yet inspiring piece I’ve ever written and I’m very happy at how it turned out. At the bottom I added an additional Q&A with Dogbomb and his friends and also some links. I chose the headline “Last Mutt Standing” as a homage to his favorite artist Jimmy Buffett and his single “Last Man Standing,” I know Dogbomb will appreciate that. I really look forward to seeing this online and it was my honor and pleasure to share the uplifting story of a true inspiration to many in the fandom and beyond! (- Kijani)

Dogbomb (Tony Barrett) and Trip E. Collie share a laugh at Biggest Little Fur Con (BLFC) in Reno last May. Barrett was diagnosed with ALS two months prior and said this would be his last appearance at BLFC. Photo courtesy of AoLun

“Last Mutt Standing”: Dogbomb inspires the world through his courageous battle against ALS

 By Kijani Lion

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but sometimes you also can’t tell a mutt to lie down, even in the face of the most grim diagnosis. For Tony Barrett – affectionately known as “Dogbomb” in the furry fandom – giving up was, and never will be, an option.

After experiencing gradual loss of muscular function about two and a half years ago starting with his feet and lower legs, then progressing into his hands, neck, back and throat, Barrett was officially diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in early 2018. The disease kills motor neurons, effectively blocking the nerve path to the brain that makes muscles work, rendering them weak and eventually unresponsive.

“Walking is becoming extremely difficult, and my swallowing and speech are rapidly worsening,” Barrett said. “With ALS, each day is slightly worse, and it becomes difficult to plan for the future. What is easy today may be impossible in a week or a month, and that’s just frustrating.” 

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