A retired parole officer unwittingly took her pet dog to a furry convention in Michigan, and the duo had the time of their lives.

For the uninitiated, a furry convention is an organised gathering of adults who get a thrill out of dressing up as anthropomorphic animals. The events are associated, though not exclusively, with adult interests.

Cheryl Wassus was unaware of this when she arrived at the Motor City Furry Convention earlier this month.

She was expecting to discover a pet event and had brought her dog Link along to make some pals.

Wassus was invited to the party after organisers selected Pets for Vets (a non-profit she is involved with) as the event's official charity.

"This is just a whole subculture I wasn't even aware existed. 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," she told New York Magazine.

But the middle-class mother was unperturbed by her exotic fellow guests and set about making friends with furries of all shapes and sizes — as did Link.

"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. It was all good," she said.

Photos of the event show Link playing with many of the other 'animals' including a strapping black wolf wearing light armour.

"That guy's costume was probably my favourite, and he seemed to really enjoy Link too," she said.

Wassus' charity, Vets for Pets, pairs animals with military veterans. She and another volunteer gave the guests a presentation about the work of their organisation.

"They were absolutely tuned in," she said. "I saw some tears, people were definitely listening and paying attention."