I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but, rather, show people who want to write me but aren't sure if they should that Papabear really can help if you let him. Here is some of the feedback I have received....
I am not a furry and, quite honestly, I came to your website while trying to find out what a "bronie" was - some friends had mentioned the term before and I was rather curious.
From that point I read several more responses to a decidedly broad range of questions and was quite impressed. Your advice was intelligent, responsible and thorough. As one who works in the mental health field, I appreciate the continual effort it takes to help sort out all the problems that come your way. It may sound trite, but thank you for helping to make the world a better place.
* * * Why not consider capturing all of these wonderful communications into a book, with your site title. I am so thoroughly impressed with your intuitive wisdom, and the creative way you are providing a domain for safe and caring communications so honestly expressed to those who suffer with their sexual and personal identity issues. Bravo, Bravo!!!! After the book, a movie. Because you selflessly are saving lives. Too bad Christians haven't matured enough yet to understand and emulate what Jesus taught. You sure do, Papa Bear.
--Dr. Evelyn Oliver, Ph.D.
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I sent in a question to the Ask Papabear website a month or two ago concerning coming out to my family about my relationship with my boyfriend. In it, I remember talking about how a lot of my family (mostly my paternal side) were very pious people who didn't look kindly on that kind of lifestyle.
Your 'not in my backyard' remark made me realize...if it's all right for everyone else, why isn't it all right for me? So I came out to my mother, who was actually overjoyed that I was in love again. And within a few more days, my stepfather as well.
Although I haven't confronted the other side of my family yet, it's been amazing being able to talk with and about him freely with my family. And what's more, his parents and mine were already friendly and sending gifts to one another before I told them.
I want to thank you for helping me make some peace with this. Even though it's not concluded yet, now I have courage and the assurance that it doesn't have to be as hard as I'd always dreaded it.
Ever grateful -Ty
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Thank you for being there for so many furs who need support and a friend in life. Thank you for caring. Thank you for being one of those people who sees others for who they truly are. I have severe depression because of bullying, hate, take your pick. But as soon as I saw this website, I had hope. Real, actual hope. You will change the world, you and everyone else who cares. Keep being who you are, and spreading hope and joy throughout the people of the furry community.
* * * Dear Papabear, you are the best thing to happen to the fandom and you offer great advice where would the world be without you it needs more people in it like you.
I'm writing this as an update, and not so much a question.
I told my former mistress that I was going through a change and couldn't be a pet anymore. She was fine with that, but we got into a fight because she found out about the journal I wrote, and she was offended by it. After a long heated conversation, I apologized and she began to tell me about why she is the way she is, and it turns out she has gone through a lot of the same abuse my mom has. We are still friends, and we hang out, but she doesn't pet me anymore. And I'm fine with that. I also confronted my mom about her behaviour, using calm arguements and a patient ear. She eventually apologized to me and now we are doing better and moving forward.
I can see a brighter future now, and my depression is fading by the day. You really helped me, Sir. Thank you!
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You might not remember me, but I'm the one who liked to draw anthro foxes. I really appreciated your advice and decided to become a part of the furry fandom. It turned out to be a wonderful fandom and I even made a few friends. Thanks so much for the help.I hope you have a wonderful Veterons Day and Thanksgiving!! Sincerely, Willow
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Less of a question, more of a thank you.
Many years ago I wrote my first letter to you. I cant remember what I asked then, but I came back and asked another question a little over 3 years ago under another name. I was anxious at the time about my boyfriend and my religion, and about marriage. You gave me some really great advice, helped me take a long step back and ultimately, helped me make the right choice.
This Friday will be my 2 year anniversary with that same man. We got married! And all the anxiety is different now. Now we ask each other questions. Kids? Jobs? Sex? God? It's... So much better than the state I was in. And i couldn't have done it without you.
I have one of your mugs that I eat oatmeal out of almost every morning, and it took me this long to realize I never thanked you. Thank you, for helping my face my fear of being loved despite not knowing who I was. Thank you for helping me fight back against the anxieties of life that keep us from enjoying good things. The passed 3 years have been so amazing. Ive still had trials and stresses and worries, but I have an incredible person by my side to face them with who I can love and enjoy and walk along this path of life with so long as he'll have me.
Thank you Papa Bear. It means so much.
* * * [Papabear note: I received the following letter after writing this column. It really made my day!]
I hope I'm not being a bother, but I wanted to share with you my "parenting win" last night.
When my son got home from school, I pulled him aside and told him that I had looked through his phone the other night (as he knows I do occasionally, to spot check) and saw some of his chat discussions where he was talking about being a Furry. I told him initially, it scared the hell out of me. He began to get very defensive, very quickly and I was able to grab his attention long enough to get him to look at my phone, where I showed him the letter I sent you yesterday, asking for insight.
He read it slowly and quietly- I could tell it was taking him a minute to try and figure out what he was reading. Then he asked what it was. I told him that I tried to research what being a Furry was. And I found your website. That I wanted to understand.
In my snooping thru his phone, I had read some entries where he expressed feeling alone and misunderstood. And fears of his family not understanding him. I told him that while I may never fully "get" things he is into and enjoys- I sure as hell will always try my best. I may never know which Pokemon evolve into what- I may never master the PS4 game controller and I'll most likely never play D & D- But I will always try. I can't play the trumpet, but I sure as hell am Band Booster President- I try. And then I said- what I do understand about the Furry community- I'm totally ok with, and I can understand why he takes interest in it, and that it really does fall in line with all his other interests. But, like most things, there can be a side that he just has no business being involved in- and as long as he steers clear of the sexual side of it- I am 100% ok with it.
We have a rule, no online chatting with strangers. He clearly had broken that rule- But I had decided not to take his priveleges away from him. That surprised his a great deal. He had not broken any cardinal rules of giving out personal details- even not exchanging his photo when asked. With that he was responsible- He has an online comminity of like-minded people, that he can't get in our "real- world" community. I can't take that safe haven away from him.
I briefly mentioned that just because you find safety in a group of people, doesn't necissarily mean they all have your best interest at heart. To be aware that there are people out there that use the internet and special interest groups to prey on kids and those with weak souls. To just be aware and use his spidey sense.
Then I told him, I love him for him- in what ever form that may take. If he is a good person, kind to others, taking care of his responsibilities (grades, chores, self care, etc) then he can run around with animal ears and a tail if he so chooses, and I will never think less of him for it.
My son's eyes welled up with tears, he threw his arms around me and just said "thank you".
So, for that, I thank YOU. I still have a lot to learn, but you took the time to give me some much needed reassurance and a pep talk. The little I know about you from your website, I can only imagine that you have been through some challenges of your own. The time you take to help clueless moms like me, matters. Thank you.
You are an amazing mom! Do not thank me. That you had this bonding moment with your son is all on you. I hereby declare you an "Honorary Furry Mom"!
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Dear Papa Bear,
I just wanted to say thank you. I had been thinking over what you said and after having a crying panic attack the day before because I was so scared of being thrown out (it's currently winter here in Australia), I finally had the courage to tell my parents that I'm a furry (that is, I also showed some videos explaining the fandom addressed to parents of furries).
I first texted my Dad (I don't live with him) about it and he basically just wants me to be safe while doing it. He was open-minded enough to do "research" (that I dreaded) so I quickly sent some links to introduction videos from furries I respect on YouTube and he's okay with it.
Secondly, I showed my Mum one of the videos so she can basically have a better understanding while I commentated my thoughts on topics just in case and afterwards just told her it's simply being a fan of cartoon animals like Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse and stuff like that while also telling her fur-suits are basically cosplay with animals. In the end, she was more worried about my room being a mess than my furry interest. Phew...
Neither of them watch the news anymore (though Australia does have relatively better/more positive publicity than the USA does on furries surprisingly) and they're ultimately fine with it. In the end, I love them for being so understanding, accepting and loving parents to me.
I still don't feel comfortable showing my favorite expansive kink art (most of the stuff I like is tame but it's just...awkward and uncomfortable to show them) since I know my Mum doesn't like it. I'd imagine my Dad wouldn't either. I get it, it's not for everyone. Doesn't stop me from liking it.
Anyway, I deeply appreciate the advice, man. You're one sweet bear. Thank you so much. Also, feel free to publish this as I want my positive story to be shared.
Forever grateful, Sam the dog
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I wrote to you under the name "fluffle puff" about some sexual problems with me and my partner and now I'm writing to say thank you. Before I messaged you, our married was going downhill and I had lost all trust in him and he was losing all confidence in himself thinking he was just a horrible husband for doing what he did. Once I took your advice on board everything has become 100% better.
Our relationship is back to normal. He doesn't have so many issues, while we do enjoy ourselves and his masturbation habits are no longer a hidden "shame" for him anymore. He is no longer lying all the time, which was one of the biggest things. Now everything is always open and honest our relationship feels amazing. Not only did your advice fix the big problem in our marriage but it's also helped us become closer and brought back my husband's confidence and my trust.
I would never have guessed what I was doing was making him hide and lie about things. I always blamed him when he wasn't fully to blame in the slightest.
Anyway, thank you for saving our marriage from becoming a mess of distrust ^.^
from "fluffle puff"
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I am not sure if you remember me or not, I wrote you a while back asking about being a greymuzzle in the fandom (I believe my letter was published on 03-10-16). I just wanted to give you a growl, er, shout and let you know what has happened since then. After getting your reply, I "came out" to my mate as a furry. He was accepting, but a little hesitant about it, due to only seeing negative portrayals of the fandom in the media (thanks, C.S.I.). However, I invited him to come to Anthrocon this year and see what the fandom is really like. (To be fair, this was my first Anthrocon as well and even I wasn't quite sure what to expect.) When we got down to the convention center his attitude completely changed when he saw (and got to meet) some really great fursuiters. After talking about it for a while (and attending some panels) he discovered that he was a furry too! I also found out that he is a Therian as well. The rest of the weekend went really well, as we both got to meet new friends, learn some things and understand who we were a little bit better. (There were also a lot of greymuzzles there too, btw.) It was nice to be there and not have to pretend who you really are. I think it was the first time for both of us that we were completely able to be our gay, furry selves. It was a great feeling and we can't wait to do it again. Currently, we are staring to make plans to attend Midwest FurFest at the end of this year. (It's supposed to be the second largest furcon, next to AC.) Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the encouraging words when you wrote me back. It was the main reason I decided to move forward with things and it turned out great.
Byron a.k.a Spirit Bear
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Dear Papa Bear. I wanted to let you know that my name is Zoe Evans. I just send you a message that says my name is Conflicted person, from what I remember.
It was hard, it was scary, and it was a really big, emotional challange. I just wanted to let you know that I actually did it. I've been living with my fiance in our own apartment for about a month now, and commissions have been great, giving me enough income to be able to support my side of the bills. It's been great being able to be my own person, and while it's hard at times, because the emotional side effects that I have are still there, strong and lingering, they are forgotten most of the time. I'm confident that I made the right step, and your advice helped a lot. I kept wanting to write to you, but I was always so absent minded about it.
Thank you for being there and helping me in my time of need <3
Zoe Evans (Chioro)
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Hello Papa Bear, I just want to say Thank you again. I never thought I could write someone everything about my family problems. To be honest I thought it would be a bad idea to contact you at all. It was weird to talk about my past and my feelings to a foreigner (sorry but I don't know how I could describe it nicely). But after I achieved your first answer I felt like a barrier burst inside of me.
I cried a lot in the past (always alone) and I thought there couldn't be any tears left, but after I read your kind and caring answers I couldn't help myself. I still can't believe that someone like you really exists. You take care of so many persons you don't even know. You are spending your free time on the computer to respond to the questions of foreigners and you still take your time to discuss every single one of them and give them advice without any charges.
I can't even imagine where you're taking the strength and the wisdom from to handle all the problems people are coming up with. I would love to call you a friend, but I guess it's not possible for you who achieve such an amount of requests (and you never even met me either).
I went through all of your answers again and again (still can't without crying) and you've touched the bottom of my heart. Please take care of yourself; the world is a better place with you. Thanks for everything. You may haven't changed "The World" but you've changed my world. You've shown me that there is a light on the end of the tunnel.
Thanks from a person you've saved from making the same mistake again.
Lucian the Wolf
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Hey Papabear, I found your helpful advice column, where you help people who are into furry activities, are furries, ect. I don't really consider my self a furry as such, I don't really have a interest in dressing up a anthropomorphic character, but I do appreciate the community as a whole, and the whole art scene that comes with it.
I wonder to speak about advice you gave to a reader about having a fetish for large horse penises, zoophilia, and all that. Have you heard of Dr. Hani Miletski? She wrote an excellent book called "Understanding Bestiality and Zoophilia." I used to feel terrible about viewing bestiality on the internet, I used to live in Arizona, where that content was not illegal.
However, I moved to Washington State, and i am pretty sure because of the Kenneth Puyan case, it is illegal now to view (technically), so obviously i fantasize about more mainstream things, but I wanted to tell you, I saw a sex therapist and asked him about the same subject as your letter you got from the horse fetish reader. He told me, that these things come from childhood, that it just happened to me, and that sexual response is a unconscious reflex.
I would have advised him to not engage in any animal sex however, and to just leave it as fantasy (unless of course he lives in a place where this is not illegal, then hey who am I to judge). It is really nice to see someone have such a sex positive attitude and I really appreciate your column in general. There are alot of unhappy and traumatized people out there, and your column i really feel genuinely helps people. So yeah that is pretty much what i wanted to say!
Have A Great Day!
Justin * * *
In high regard your fan Lucian the WolfThank you for the advice, I think I'll be much better now and I'm very happy I decided to work up the courage to email you. I've never really done anything of the sort but I'm very happy I did.
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Thanks for the advice last time! It's fun being a fur, I also recently bought a new tail for my self, it's 2 ft long! :3 Some kids at school may find it weird but I don't really care. Thanks a lot, Mr. Bear!
--a foxxy fox
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Thank you for all your help! You're the only third party person I've been able to talk to. It takes a really big weight off my shoulders. I'll talk to Bruce about what I need to. It's very kind of you to offer your service for free... Even if I'm not actually a furry but have lots of friends who are <3
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I'd like to thank you for the response. It really cheered me up. The days after I sent my original letter to you were filled with paranoia and fear. I began thinking of how maybe I wasn't specific enough in one sentence or that maybe I could have worded something better. But my biggest concern was that I came across as obnoxious. This was also the reason that I didn't read your response until just now. I'm glad to say that I'm very comforted by your words. Thank you. Thank you very much for the kindness and the well thought advice. I needed it.
Well I'm writing to say, I did it. I've conquered the majority of my fear. I spent five days surrounded by fursuiter and furries. I still feel uneasy and skittish around the hyper realistic suits like those done by say Clockwork Creature but I'm getting there.
Your suggestions were so very helpful I don't think I could've done it otherwise. So thank you so much.
P.S. I thought I'd share a step in the right direction.
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Hey there papa bear,
I'm not someone who has issues (well, none I can't handle), I'm simply a fur who feels he needs to say what you are doing is a good thing. You say you are no expert, but it seems you have lots of life experience and you are applying that experience to help people with their queries. Many people don't seem to need experts to poke and prod and ask if their father hugged them as a child, they simply want to talk to someone who has life experience and compassion. It's a good thing you're doing papabear, I just felt it important to tell you. You are a beacon to guide any who seek guidance.
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I just wanted to say, I appreciate the existence of the column and have been following it via the "Furry News Network" for the past month or so. Some of your advice has really helped me deal with my life. Even though I might not be in the exact same place as other people, it made me think about certain aspects of me life, especially my relationships with people.
Thanks for doing what you do and have a wonderful day!
Kind Regards, Shougo
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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I feel like that is some great advice and it gives me some place to start. I'm in a lot of new territory here and it is nice to have a second opinion.
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I've been reading your column off and on for awhile, and I just wanted to say thanks for being there for the furry community. You're like the "Dear Abby" of us - without being pretentious.
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Today I write to you not with a question, but to voice something that I feel that all of us out there are wanting to say.
Thank you for helping the hundreds of troubled furs who write to you every day.
Thank you for being understanding about our more strange problems and difficulties
Thank you for... just generally giving a shit. That is something we could all use, someone to speak out to, someone to voice our troubles to who we know won't judge us.
I just wanted to let you know that it really means a lot and that it is so good to have someone like you to talk to, to help us to understand where we are in this incredibly confusing world in which we leave our paw prints on.
Fred E Coyote
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You'll actually have no idea about how much this email has helped me. I feel like now I know what to do, and that's amazing. It is no coincidence that I found your website. I feel much better and ready to embark on this journey, and of course, with caution. Thank you, and I really mean this from the bottom of my heart. Now I know what to do. Keep doing what you are doing--you're helping a whole lot more than you know. <3
I really admire you, Papabear! Keep it up!
God bless you eternally, Nameria
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Hey, papa bear!
I don't know if you remember me, but a while back I told you I was suicidal and was afraid of talking to counselors. Well I did what you said and called a hot line and slowly was able to talk to my counselor. During this time period of almost 1 yr I have been committed into 2 different psych wards and was able to talk about the fact that I was sexually abused when I was younger. I wanted to thank you because if it wasn't for me reaching out to you I probably wouldn't be here right now. I also wanted to thank you because if I didn't start talking I wouldn't have met my amazing girlfriend, my abuser wouldn't be on his way to jail, and I wouldn't be 3 months clean from cutting. Thanks for everything. You rock papa bear!
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Thank you papabear , I understand What you are saying and thank you again , I guess I needed to hear it off someone Who wasnt A friend or my mate for the reason you stated (they have to say it).
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I just wanna thank you papa bear, for getting me to see that not everyone in the world is as bad as those students are ^^. For the first time in quite a while I'm feeling pretty darned happy just doing as I please with my life and trying not to be so afraid of those people. Thanks you ^_^
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I don't have any burning questions or turmoil I'd like to bring up. I'd just like to say I appreciate the work you put into answering letters and questions, and I think you're doing a wonderful thing for the furry community. Keep up the good work.
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I know it must be tiring listening to other peoples problems all day but I just want you to know that you've made a huge difference in this fur's life. All my best wishes to you and may life bring you nothing but happiness.
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Thanks for listening its actually nice to tell someone who isn't biased. I appreciate it a lot *hugs*
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Thank you very much for the advice. I do take my fursona very seriously. I'm glad I asked.
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Thanks alot :). Hearing that made me calm diwn alot. You are really alot of help. I appreciate it. ... Keep up the great work.
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I just wanted to say thank you, things have gotten better, I gained some confidence and started up an add on FA and as friends said It helped me big time. My mate is most thankfull to you as now he doesn't have to fight me to accept a compliment about my artwork .
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Thanks again Papabear,
Really just vocalizing about it was therapeutic. I appreciate your responses. And yes, people with similar interests and lifestyles may not get along. Thanks for your recommendations on sites, I'll be sure to look into them. And grey muzzles have invaluable knowledge for much younger pups out there! Its great to find you (and probably others) can share great advice and experience. Bear hugs back to you,
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I wrote you a letter last year, and I do hope that you remember me! I was the wolf fur that talked to you about being in an unofficial relationship with a ladies' man, and how it was affecting me. I think I told you that my mate's pseudonim was Lion and how he was interested in a girl named Foxy at first but then finally chose over me. I also told you that Lion changed, but I wasn't so sure about taking the relationship to another level because of his player past. I also told you that he had mentioned marriage and taking the relationship to another level and that he had changed completely in the end, but I also told you that I didn't trust him a 100% due to his past. You told me that I should give him a chance, yet with caution.
Well, here's an update, because your advice changed my view about many things, and I feel like it helped me completely!
After our emails, I decided just to let go and focus on other things. After a while, he kept doing what he did. I just let everything go and I just prayed that things would actually improve. He was slowly changing for the better, yet he didn't make the move into making the relationship official. After a few months, I decided to have a serious conversation with him, telling him that if he didn't make the relationship official soon, I would end everything, because I was tired of waiting. He cried, yet begged me for forgiveness, and he said that he had a surprise for me soon. I noticed that his behavior changed completely to the somewhat-distant Lion to the warm, loving and caring Lion. Then, suddenly, he surprised me in my birthday!
We are official now since December 10th, 2013! Which was of course the best present ever! He has changed DRASTICALLY, he hasn't returned to his player and ladies' man ways of the past, and we're saving up for marriage. He has stopped and cut short all communication with all the girls that he used to talk to, and he has really stopped his wandering ways. He has regained my trust, yet I always do keep an eye on him just in case. But he has really improved and he has proved to me in many ways that he does love me and that he has changed. He respects me completely [in all aspects of the word] and has shown that he wants to take things seriously now. I feel that we are going to be a long-term relationship and I couldn't be happier. He is the most caring, loving and gentleman Lion I could ever ask for.
I just wanted you to let you know that everything is splendid now, and I want you to know that you really did help me. I am more than eternally grateful for your time, kind words and help. Keep doing what you're best at--helping us little furs with our big problems! Thanks Papabear!