A Zooey Project Wish List

Since about 2019, the zoo community has entered a new era where we're seeing all kinds of zooey projects come out of the woodwork. In the wake of the community going pretty quiet in the 2000s due to fear of legal persecution, and with the zoo sadism leaks of 2018 causing a lot of negative press, the community had found itself in a pretty precarious situation. This was a moment in time where we could either play it safe and keep silent, letting the worst rumors continue to spread about who we are, or we could take a risk and speak up, and say how much our love of animals means to us, and that there are actually quite a lot of us who are not what the rumors have been saying. A lot of us are animal lovers, not animal rapists, and there is a world of difference. In 2019, Zooier Than Thou came onto the scene, a podcast by zoos, for zoos, about a variety of zooey topics. It was pretty much exactly what we as a community needed at that time: a voice. A literal voice, to let other zoos know they weren't the only animal lovers out there in the world.
In this article, I'd like to explore how zooey projects have been going since ZooTT debuted, and make a little bit of a wish list for things we would love to see in the future.
It's a little fuzzy to define what "counts" as a zooey project. Married to the furry fandom, there has always been a wealth of feral art and erotica, which is certainly not-not a bit zooey. And back before the silence of the 2000s, there was really a much more carefree attitude to zooey endeavors, with zeta pins and writings and chatrooms aplenty, if you could be fortunate enough to stumble upon those things. But when speaking about zooey projects in this article, I'm going to more-so mean things that have a bit of a community-driven, activism-driven edge to them, that are about addressing current-day zoosexual themes and needs.
There are a very respectable number of zooey projects being made at the moment, but it's also the hope that this is just us getting started. To get a sense of where we're at right now, let's do a sampling of some of the community's more notable projects.
Podcasts: Zooier Than Thou, Zoo & Me, and approximately 5 additional podcasts that at some point put out at least one or two episodes but are not currently actively being maintained.
Nonfiction Writing: Zooey Dot Pub, and a handful of individual zoos who will regularly post essay-format pieces on zoo boards and social media.
Fiction Writing: To Thine Own Self Be Zoo, or again probably just look up feral stories on your furry website of choice and some stuff is bound to come up.
Music: Zipwok, Shiv, and music that has been featured on Zooier Than Thou,
whether from the crew or guest pieces from the likes of this magazine's own Tarro.
Artists: ChampionWhoops, Mavrick, Steeeeeeeeeve's stickers, and an honorable mention to the many many many feral artists who for all intents are purposes are drawing zoo-ish stuff but don't have a zeta in their bio.
Community Spaces: ZooCommunity forum, Zooey Dot Pub Discord, B.I.T.E. Discord, ZooFurs Unity Telegram, and currently Twitter is the mainstream platform that seems to be where a lot of open zoo visibility is going on.
Overall, this is not a bad showing, especially compared to what we had five years ago in 2018, which was more or less a big fat goose egg. But, at the same time, with half a decade of time you could also imagine us having done even more by now. Personally, I would love it if the number of projects in every one of those categories above became 20x bigger. "But Mrs Alissa," you say to me, with a ridiculous put-on accent for some reason, "Why oh why do we even need more zoo projects? If there were twenty times more items in each of those categories, that would probably be more than you could even keep up with!"
And, that is true enough, maybe. But the point of that isn't that I want to be able to cram zooey media into every minute of my day. The point is, there's a lot of other things that a wealth of zoo projects would give us. It bolsters and strengthens the feelings of pride within the community to know that there are so many zoo creators out there that we're spoiled for choice. It's an impressive showcase of talent and drive that outsiders would see when they peer in on us, and optics are one of the biggest battles that zoos are having right now. And one of the really important things that expanding the number of projects would provide us with is a diversity of voices and wisdoms, rather than tentpoling all things up around the work of one or two dozen figureheads.
Plus I mean, some people are more into art and have no interest in figuring out how to listen to a podcast, while other people might be maximum podheads but have no interest in what drawings zoos are making right now. As someone who loves to snuggle up with a dog and a good book, I get tingles at the idea of someday getting to read volumes and volumes of print romance novels featuring human-animal love, in a variety of zooey authorial voices and styles. That seems to me like it would be a very fulfilling way to spend my evenings.
And it should be said that the community is extremely supportive of new creators who want to join the fold. If you have any interest in writing an article for the magazine but are concerned that you're rusty on apostrophes and homophones, the editing team here is more than happy to take a look at what you've got and help you out as long as the heart of a good message is there. If you've been hanging out as a positive voice in zoo spaces, and decide that you want to start a podcast, Toggle "OneBigGrumpyRat" Rat is someone who has all kinds of wisdom to share about microphones and recording. If you need help setting up a website for your project, there are a lot of greymuzzles around who are exceedingly handy with tech. The zoo community is a very open place. Don't be afraid to just reach out to people, ask questions, and see what happens. 
And while pitching in to existing efforts is totally cool and commendable, there are also all kinds of things we haven't seen much of yet that could be 9,999% tubular too. How dope would it be to see an explosion of games that just nonchalantly have zooey protagonists, or movies and animated shorts that center on lovers who have disparate numbers of legs? Sexy feral comics that deal in real relatable zooey concerns and passions, instead of contextless and veterinarily dubious knot play? Subtle zoo pride merch, like getting to get the zoo pride flag colors as part of some sneakily otherwise-non-zooey design on your t-shirt?
It doesn't all have to be artistic projects either. If you have skills with computers, that's something that's totally valuable to a community that's very online-based. If you think you might have a penchant for studying and practicing law, that is no doubt a field in which we're going to want knowledgeable people on our side as we seek mainstream acceptance and decriminalization.
Another item on the zooey projects wish list would be better coverage in science and academia. Do I love the idea of a man in a lab coat watching me and my partner get frisky in a sterile white room while he makes judgements about us and takes notes? Not a ton. Maybe if he's ridiculously cute. But zoosexuality is a topic that gets shockingly little coverage when you take into account that conservative estimates put 1% to 7% of the general population down as having zoosexual inclinations. That's about 78 million to 552 million people walking around the planet who we might want to know more about. And frankly, personal opinion, but I think the real number is well over 50% if the actual question is, "You grew up around donkeys, you have bred them and seen for yourself how they are capable of being in the mood, and you and a lovely jenny have the barn to yourselves and not much to do, smash or pass?" Being studied is going to be a rocky path with mixed outcomes, because, as stated above, there are animal lovers and animal rapists in the world, and well-executed studies by design will probably vacuum up both groups for surveys and case studies. But, there are both groups, and I think enough good faith studies would make it abundantly clear that the difference is very serious to the people who fall into camp "so happy to make dogs happy."
And a huge thing that would be amazing to see would be people participating in non-zoo projects as open zoos. Just imagine a video games youtube show opening with, "Welcome back to Let's Play Some Fun Video Games On YouTube Today, I'm Tony and with me as always is Amanda who is good at platformers and Jeff who is good at giving his dog wife orgasms." Or, "Welcome back to that TV show where we make swords, today our guest is a vegan who has milked her share of stallions, so we will be using rubber dummies today instead of the fucked up way we usually just use animal carcasses." I think seeing zoos crop up frequently in everyday spaces would do a world of good for our public relations.
Overall, the zoo community has a very good foothold right now for zooey endeavors. The point of all this is absolutely not to discount how amazing the current projects are. But rather, because of how well our projects have been going, what I would love to see is for this all to just be prologue. I have seen such an abundance of talent and charm from people in the community. And to a lot of the talented and charming zoos I've seen around, I would just say, don't let your dreams be dreams. If you think you have something to lend to the zoo community, I think it can be pretty meaningful and rewarding work.
Article written by Alissa Dogchurch (April 2023)
Questions, comments or concerns? Check out the discussion thread on ZooCommunity, or join our Discord! 

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