Artists wish to go uncredited, but this wouldn’t be the same without their work!
Thanks to our friends and loved ones for putting up with us being shut up in a studio recording, or stuck in meetings writing, or slaving into the wee hours of the morning on a coffee-fueled work binge.
Special Thanks to everyone in the community that participated in this episode! We love you so much!
“Lobby Time,” “Airport Lounge,” “Gymnopedie No.1,” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
“Variety Show Tv Theme Music,” “We’ll Be Right Back Cut to Commercial Tv Music,” “Variety Show Segment Intro Tv Music,” “Afternoon Talk Show Tv Theme Music,” Radio City, from the album “Old Time TV Music”
(The Zooier Than Thou podcast contains mature content and language, and may not be appropriate for younger audiences. Thanks for understanding.)
Fausty: Greetings, my friends and fellow zoos, and welcome to another uplifting episode of the zooiest of zooey podcasts, Zooier Than Thou. I’m Fausty, a grey-muzzle zoo adding my oldster perspectives to the podcast…
Toggle: And this is Toggle. Don’t mind me, I’m just cloud-surfing behind this plane like Kit Cloudkicker.
Fausty: We have the honor of serving as your co-hosts for this episode of Zooier Than Thou!
Toggle: I don’t know about you, Fausty, but I’m still feeling that zoo pride high from earlier this month!
Fausty: Indeed, indeed. Speaking of zoo pride, it’s really been something to see how all the other zoo podcasts celebrated. Of particular note, Zoostradamus’s podcast made some very favorable predictions about the health of the zoo community in the coming future. Given their history of making impressively-accurate predictions, let’s hope this one comes true, eh?
Toggle: Radio Dog Lovers went a bit more avant-garde and just played a solid hour of dogs barking over downtempo beats, which was interesting.
Fausty: They’re always one step ahead of the game, if I’m being perfectly honest. We’re nowhere near cool enough to pull off a stunt like that – obviously – though I must say RDL made it work and made it work with their usual panache and fashionable je ne sais quois.
Toggle: Yeah, it was surprisingly listenable.
Fausty: And our colleagues over at the venerable Zootopia podcast…
Toggle: Zoo Utopia. They had to change it, remember?
Fausty: Right, sorry. There’s some blurry bits of the spring months, on account of some of my cancer treatment, and from time to time I lose data points…
Toggle: About Zoo Utopia?
Fausty: Ah, right! So, Zoo Utopia actually covered the Zoo Pride Parade over in Pittsburgh live! I wasn’t able to attend -cancer – though I heard from friends that it was quite the shindig.
Toggle: They actually had a lot more attendees than the Straight Pride parade in Seattle a few years back.
Fausty: That’s actually not saying much. Whatever the case, it was a real treat to listen to the live coverage, realtime.
Toggle: Needless to say, we’re visibly swollen with pride here at Zooier Than Thou, and it seems some of our listeners felt the same! After our episode aired, we got a couple more audio submissions, and so we thought we’d play them for you now!
(Cue Audio Submissions)
“I admit I was a little skeptical at the concept of zoo pride. I guess I thought that it might be some kind of shameless self-promotion. While I’m not really interested in self-promotion, I am shameless. And I think that if the culmination of all this is that zoosexuality becomes ubiquitous and otherwise unremarkable in the context of someone’s whole other life, it’s a really good thing, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
“For me, zoo pride is beyond just being proud of yourself, or being who you are, being able to stand up to anyone who will judge you for that. It’s also the ability of being proud of the relationships that you can form with animals, the ability to treat them as people.”
Fausty: Speaking personally, I have been deeply touched by many of the listener submissions on the topic of zoo pride. In addition to the wonderful diversity of views on what zoo pride means to each of is, the overall zeitgeist of the community – the pride in our pride, as it were – comes through in each and every one of those submissions. Bravo, fellow zoos!
Toggle: Without further ado, let’s dive into this episode’s late-arriving batch of zoo pride submissions. First up, here’s a zoo pride submission from Our Friendly Neighborhood Zoosexual. Subject: “Hey I think I might be late so if that’s the case sorry and do whatever you like!”
Fausty: What we’d most like to do, Friendly, is share your comments so off we go!
Toggle: Friendly writes: “What does Zoo Pride mean to me?
“For me zoo pride means never having to be ashamed of who I am, that the sexuality that I just happen to have makes me neither hero nor monster, but instead it’s our actions that make us who we actually are. Zoo pride means allowing myself to live to my fullest potential even if there are those who may hate and fear us for existing; the hope that greater things will come; and most important of all, the celebration of all the wonderful nonhuman relationships in my life this far, whether they were platonic or otherwise!
“As for the zoo pride day/week which until just a little while ago, I didn’t even know was even a thing, that is until I started listing to your show (thanks for that BTW) Zoo pride day/week also reminds me that we may have a long ways to go, but its things such as this show where people can hear from zoos who are actually decent people, that’s what bring us a whisker closer.”
Fausty: We certainly hope it’s a hair more than a whisker, Friendly, though we certainly agree that there’s much work yet to be done and many challenges yet in store. Your focus on living to our fullest potential certainly resonates with me, and it’s great to hear that you are also seeing this as a central element of our pride in ourselves.
Toggle: Friendly continues: “Also speaking of your show I think both of your humor is spot on, and poor Toggle totally sounds like he’s got balls, lol!” See, even the listeners know that rat balls are massive and that they drop during times of arousal or dominance.
Fausty: You must not feel very dominant, then, cuz those balls, they haven’t dropped yet. I’m not talking hypothetically, mind you: sitting here, right now, I can see (since, like so many rats for whatever reason, Toggle wears this weird-assed outfit that covers his top half but leaves his boy-parts visible for all the world to see… if he had boy-parts, that is, which I’m not quite sure to be honest. Never seen ‘em, not even once.)
Toggle: Fausty’s just jealous because I don’t have to worry about sitting on my balls all the time.
Fausty: I’m more than happy to work around the management issues involved in having actual testicles, actually, for a whole host of reasons. One of which is, frankly, that it’s a hell of a lot better than sounding like some kind of Mickey Mouse motherfucker.
Toggle: Don’t make me reach over there and rip that Prince Albert right out of your cock!
Fausty: Whoa, hey now! No need for violence! Someday perhaps you’ll manifest balls, and then you’ll understand what you’ve been missing thus far. Patience, patience…
Toggle: Haha, one of these days, you’ll see. You’ll wake up and think, “These aren’t my glasses.”
Fausty: The elk does that even mean?
Toggle: Don’t worry, there’s a furry out there laughing right now, and that’s good enough for me.
Fausty: Oh heavens – furry in-jokes… I shouldn’t be surprised! Do you have more to share from that letter, Mr. Rat?
Toggle: Ah, yes, it concludes: “Thank you for putting on this show! I know right now it’s just a grain of sand on a whole beach of other more main stream zoo podcasts but I think your day will come!”
Fausty: We like to think that, on the great beach that is the universe of zoo podcasts, Zooier Than Thou is a beautiful little shell: sure, we’re on the fringe, but our fringe existence is 100% pure fabulous!
Toggle: Thanks so much, Friendly Neighborhood Zoosexual! Stay proud, and Stay defiant!
Fausty: Who’s next, Toggle?
Toggle: That would be this heartwarming letter from Canis Gnosis, who wants to say Thank You! Canis writes: “Howdy there, fellow zoos!
Firstly, I’d like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“Between the fragmentation and disillusionment of our community, the constant witch-hunts, and having lost my canine partner some years back, my own mental health (much less any sense of pride in myself) had been worn down to the quick. About two weeks ago (as of this writing) some anti-zoo shit-storming over on Twitter had done a number on my state of mind, pushing me to seek out something–anything–zoo-related and positive left on the internet… And that’s when I stumbled across Zooier Than Thou.
“I cannot fully put into words the difference I feel now. Not only is you guys’ podcast positive, it’s optimistic! Let’s just say that ZooTT and I are on the same page when it comes to opinions on morality, visibility, and zoophilia’s place in the world. I haven’t felt anywhere this much pride in who I am or my community in a very long time. A long-lasting bout of depression I had been struggling with has broken, and my spirits are as high now as when I first joined the online zeta community almost twenty years ago.
“Zooier Than Thou has got me seriously thinking on ways I can help out with the cause of zoosexual rights and positive visibility. I’ve already circulated the tapes–as it were–to all my zooey and zooish friends online who seemed just as hungry for this kind of content as I was. There are a plethora of zetas within both the Furry and Other-kin communities, either closeted, self-hating or just with their head’s down, who desperately need to hear a self-affirming, pro-zoosexual voice. They just need to hear it.
“It’s amazing what a little pride, and hope for the future can do for someone. Thank you again <3”
Fausty: Toggle and I were talking about the podcast recently, in the context of my health challenges (which is to say, cancer), and I can say that the work we’ve done on the podcast since its launch earlier this year has been a high point for me on so many levels. It’s been an honor to be part of this project, More, it’s reinforced for me the value of positive, forward-looking approaches to community questions and that’s helped me through some tough times, like dealing with chemo-related ugliness during the past few months. Knowing that our work, in turn, helps others is just the sort of virtuous feedback loop we all hope to be part of.
Toggle: When I first read this letter, it made me feel so happy I just had to share it on Twitter. Every now and then, we get messages like these that affirm that we’re doing the right thing by putting together this podcast. I’ve never worked on anything that gave me such a sense of goodness and purpose like Zooier Than Thou. If we make the life of even one animal or one zoo better, then every moment we pour into this is worth it. Hearing this sort of thing gives me strength to persevere. Thanks, Canis Gnosis. You really did make my day with your e-mail. I’m so glad that we could have a positive impact on your life.
Fausty: We had a few more e-mails come our way, but we’re gonna hold onto them until the New Moon episode for now. Even if we haven’t responded yet, we do read every e-mail that comes across our desk, and we do respect when messages are marked as private, so don’t hesitate to send your thoughts along. Even though it’s a wonderful problem to have, by now we could easily fill each episode with nothing but submissions from listeners – and there’s more to share than just these wonderful messages, so we’ll keep doing our best to highlight those that resonate most strongly.
Fausty: This episode, we’re exploring the various ways in which today’s zoos have chosen to build our lives – and in doing so we’ve been reminded of just how diverse, creative, and flexible zoos are when it comes to structuring our life paths and integrating our zooish identities with the rest of our most important attributes. There’s no one right way to “be zoo” – indeed, take 100 zoos and we’ll have 100 different and complimentary ways of being zoos. Whilst there’s some things about us that do bind us together into a community – our respect for our nonhuman peers, or empathy, our ability to build deep relationships beyond the confines of human existence – those commonalities exist alongside the wondrous diversity of zooish experiences and zooish living arrangements. This episode, we turn our focus to that diversity and to the wisdom to be found in learning from how others have crafted their own zoo lives.
Toggle: Coming up next, a word from our sponsors, then an interview with a zoo-exclusive zoo, Yankee Doodle Donkey!
Fausty: Don’t change that dial… err, these newfangled podcast-y things don’t have dials, do they? Anyhow don’t change the controls of your podcast player, and we’ll be right back with more zooey good times.
This week’s sponsors
Announcer: This week’s episode is brought to you by:
ZooVille. It’s like WhoVille, but for zoos. We know you’re just here for the articles.
And also by:
Zed’s Zooey Bed and Breakfast: Sí, hablamos español! No estoy en la oficina en este momento. Envianos cualquier trabajo para traducirlo.
Zooier Than Thou is brought to you by the letter P. Because who doesn’t like P? Besides, Z won’t return our calls.
Secret Zoo – Alexander the Great
(The scene is set in an army camp at meal time)
Toggle Soldier: Hey, this seat taken?
Soldier 1: Naw, have a seat. You must be new ‘round here.
Toggle Soldier: Heh, yeah. Thanks.
Soldier 2: My, they’re sure conscripting soldiers younger and younger these days. Pretty sure this kids balls haven’t even dropped.
Toggle Soldier: Hey! I’m old enough to kick your ass!
Soldier 1: Relax, kid, he’s just teasin’ ya. Sit down, have a bite to eat. We’ve got a long way to go tomorrow.
Toggle: Hey, so, ya’ll have been here for a while, right?
Soldier 2: You could say that. Seen countless battles, and still not dead yet.
Toggle: So, what’s the deal with the king?
Soldier 1: Ha, you’re gonna have to be more specific, kid. King Alexander has a number of… charming eccentricities, shall we say.
Toggle: I just noticed, he… seems to have a way with horses. Or, a specific horse, really. And a pretty specific way!
Soldier 2: You mean his boyfriend Bucephalus?
Soldier 1: Oh, yeah, those two are a total power couple. Practically inseparable. Nothing quite like the bond between a Macedonian man and his horse. But they’re on a whole ‘nother level.
Toggle: Yeah, I couldn’t help but notice the way they… interact with one another. Hand-in-glove, you might say…
Soldier 2: Kid, you don’t know the half of it.
Soldier 1: They say old Bucephalus was completely untamable. He’s a beauty of a fella, though, ain’t he? But when the merchant brought him to King Philip, no one could tame that handsome, big brute. Philip was going to turn the merchant away, but the stallion caught our Prince Alexander’s eye, and he proposed that if he could tame the horse, his father must purchase him at once.
Toggle: Yikes, King Alexander does seem to have quite an intimidating presence. I imagine he completely dominated the big beast.
Solder 2: Hardly. He was only 10 years old.
Toggle: Really? How did he dominate such a powerful horse, then?
Soldier 1: He stood and observed him quietly, and then noticed that the horse was particularly sensitive to moving shadows. So, when Prince Alex approached Bucephalus, he did so aware of the play of shadows and how those shadows would appear to the skittish horse. Just like that, Alex was able to earn Bucephalus’ trust and from there he was riding the stallion shortly thereafter.
Toggle: Wow, that seems so simple.
Soldier 1: Simple if you speak horse, maybe. All the other men tried to force their will on the stallion, but Alex alone thought to listen to the animal and work with him on his terms. Pretty impressive for a 10 year old kid.
Soldier 2: Now they’re butt buddies. Only, it’s hard to tell who’s on top, since both of them are such dominant assholes.
Toggle: You really think so?
Soldier 1: Kid, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but King Alexander fucks just about anyone who catches his eye, man or woman. You really think it’s so farfetched that he’s fuckin’ his horse – or the other way, or both at once, who knows!
Toggle: Wow, I guess… that’s not so farfetched. I’ve certainly never seen a horse so devoted to a man before like that.
Soldier 2: Or a man so entirely devoted to a horse.
Soldier 1: Oh, man, kid, you weren’t here when his horse got kidnapped.
Soldier 1: Oh, yeah, so get this. As King Alex moved us forward on a campaign, Bucephalus was entrusted to staff so as to give him a rest from his duties as a battle steed. Coming up behind the front lines, the group that was caring for Bucephalus was beset by mountain bandits lookin’ to score some treasure. Once they realized that they had actually captured King Alex’s beloved stallion, they immediately let it be known that they would return the horse to Alex upon payment of a ransom.
Toggle: Oh dear, I can’t imagine that went well for them.
Soldier 2: About as well as it could go. Most generals wouldn’t have thought twice about a horse. Lose a horse, get another one.
Soldier 1: But not King Alex and his Bucephalus. Oh, the king was fuckin’ furious! It wasn’t a matter of pride or ego, neither. He was just worried sick about the safety of his horse boyfriend. So the king laid it out for them: unless Bucephalus was returned to him, safe and sound, immediately Alexander would personally lead his army into the mountains, where he would kill every man, woman, and child of the hill tribes responsible for abducting his beloved – no exceptions, no mercy.
Toggle: Holy shit!
Soldier 2: And you know he’d do it, too. Over a fucking horse, no less… a fucking horse who fucks like only a horse can fuck, right?
Soldier 1: Well, these guys were so spooked by his threats that they brought Bucephalus back to King Alexander immediately.
Toggle: Wow, I imagined he killed the shit out of them.
Soldier 2: You’d think. No, he treated them with honour, and he actually paid their fucking ransom. Just so happy to have his boyfriend back. Imagine the great King Alexander, with his white-hot, bloodthirsty fury, feeling so damned relieved that instead of offing them, he showed mercy and gratitude.
Toggle: That’s… actually pretty strange.
Soldier 1: Not when you consider how much he fuckin’ loves that horse. I’m tellin’ ya, kid. Those two are a total power couple.
Toggle: So, everyone’s just… OK with the king ummm… dating a horse?
Soldier 2: Are you going to go up to the great King Alexander the conquerer and tell him that fucking a horse grosses you out?
Toggle: Gosh, I guess not.
Soldier 1: It’s not really a big deal. He’s conquering the world in the name of Macedonia. No one really cares who he fucks. And he’s fuckin’ everyone out here. He likes him his handsome young men, too, so watch yourself, kid.
Toggle:(blushes) Oh, well, you know, I don’t mind so much about that. I guess I don’t really care about the horse, either. I just thought it was kind of strange and remarkable.
Solder 2: If you don’t eat your food, someone else is gonna eat it for you.
Soldier 1: Yeah, less talk, more chow. We’ve got a lot to do tomorrow, and you’re gonna need everything you have. You ain’t got no big brave stallion standing behind you, ready to save your ass when it’s needed, and service it when you’re needy, so you best get your shit together like the rest of us mere mortals and stop daydreaming about King Alex and Bucephalus and what they’re probably doing right this very moment in the general’s camp.
Toggle: O-oh, uh, yes, sir!
Interview with Doodle Donkey
(transcript to follow)
Zooey Welcome back to another, exotic, erotic, egregious episode of Ask Zooey, the go-to cross-species sex advice show for the zoo’s who & even a few others, to boot! I’m your Great Dane with a great mane – yes, ladies, these locks are real! – Zooey!
Toggle: And I’m the rat whose googles joggle when he’s boggled, Toggle!
Zooey: We’re so excited that you’re back for our fifth episode working with Zooier Than Thou! After the last episode, we got a flood of human submissions that we’re really excited to tackle! Remember, folks, you can send submissions through the form at zoo.wtf, or – if you swing that way – contact us through our twitter account @AskZooey, that’s A-S-K-Z-O-O-E-Y.
Toggle: That poor account seems a little neglected, Zooey.
Zooey: Honey, it’s all about keeping atop what comes first and twitter serves me, not the other way around. Well ok… I’ll own up to being a bit less than obsessed with twitter-tastic efforts at outreach and I know we can do better. So let me encourage everyone to send in even your simplest questions on twitter – I’ll find time in the day’s adventures to share a thought or two when it counts.
Toggle: Alright, up first, we have a big question from Unsure in the UK.
Zooey: I do so love a British accent, so honey, before we go one step further, you feel free to call me any-time, mmm?
Toggle: Unsure writes, “My boyfriend and I have a very comfortable relationship. We’ve been dating for a number of years, and as much as I love taking his massive, canine cock, sometimes I want to be on top, but I’m not sure how to approach this question with him, to make sure it’s something he’s comfortable with. Beyond that, I’m also not sure how to even go about it if he says yes. In short, Zooey, I wonder if you could explain how to have mutually enjoyable, consensual anal sex with my beloved companion.”
Zooey: What a question. I think it’s safe to say this question is on a lot of people’s minds. Safe, consensual, and mutually enjoyable are definitely the key words – as always! Pushing a bit deeper into the subject, handsome, let’s take a closer look at some of the brass-tacks details.
Toggle: Before we get into the tacks, brass or otherwise, let’s step back and remind ourselves off the bat is that sex – all forms of intimacy, including sex – requires trust, and listening, and understanding, and care. As to the tacks in question, here’s where things get specific: it’s a simple, sexy fact that not everyone – of whatever species – is going to be interested in anal sex. Straight-up, it goes without saying (though we’re saying it, just to be triple-clear) that respecting those boundaries is absolutely the first and second and third inviolate rule when it comes to such matters. No exceptions, no hesitation, no prevarication: no means no, and that’s an answer that isn’t subject to debate.
Zooey: First, second, third, AND fourth – that rule rules the roost, just as dear little Toggle says in that sexy squeaky voice of his! That bottom-level basic premise set solidly in stone, let’s get into some of those sharp brass points of truth, when it comes to things related to bottoms… it should come as no surprise to you, if you’re a gay man, that making sure things are clean is a must. However, no douching. A simple walk in the park should really do the trick. And another no-brainer as a male familiar with anal sex, you’re going to want to use lots of lube. Our experts don’t recommend condoms, simply because they can be a little uncomfortable for the receptive party, but if you feel condoms are necessary, more lube is necessitated as well.
Toggle: If you plan to play with fingers, mind your nails and claws, folks. Personally, as a rat, I don’t like fingers in my butt for precisely this reason. Your partner’s rumps are soft and sensitive, so it’s incredibly important to be mindful of your callouses and nails.
Zooey: Actual entry requires gentle coaxing – after she or he has let you know in no uncertain terms that it’s a green-light to sink a bit deeper into the topic. Your partner does need to be relaxed, which, again, as a male who’s had things stroked passionately into his all-but-begging butt, you should be aware of. Orgasms are actually great for this — an orgasming boy of any species naturally clenches and relaxes his sphincter rhythmically. Timing is very important for this technique of entry, but it’s almost inevitable that you’ll be able to slide in. This technique works with the ladies, as well, so long as she’s relaxed enough and she’s not so full of spunk that she ends up wiggling away from things in her ecstasy.
Toggle: Apart from catching things mid-orgasm, if you help your booty-begging boy to relax, and you’re very gentle and persistent and generous with the lube, you can apply a little bit of pressure to help him ease onto your cock. Slow and steady, and remember to pay attention to your partner. As always, even if he or she has said yes to entering, they can change their mind at any time: you, it goes without saying but we’re saying it anyway just to be triple-sure, will always and forever respect that.
Zooey: Oh honey… this really is an activity that requires trust, and you can very well lose that trust if you don’t absolutely and immediately respect your partner’s desires. One of our experts confessed that in a moment of heated passion, they lost that trust with their partner permanently, even after years of mutually enjoyable penetrative sex. It only takes one moment, so consider this when you and your partner are deciding what sexual activities work best for your relationship. Is the potential orgasm worth the risk of losing a deep trusting bond you’ve fostered over years of your relationship? Not everything’s about sticking that thing someplace and moving about until things get sticky: there’s so much more, and so much on the line when you take trust in your hands… or in other parts of your anatomy, in shared pleasures like this.
Toggle: Always, always, always! listen to your partner; not just their voice, but their entire body, at all times. Some partners – mostly of the two-legged persuasion – may have a cultural taboo when it comes to the concept of “anal sex” – but that’s not universal amoungst everyone, and it’s certainly not as common when we move outside the tight bubble of human expectations. For lots of folks, what’s first and foremost is finding and sharing intimate physical activities that bring loving partners closer to each other: physically, yes, and also emotionally and spiritually. For the more… open-minded of our peers – however many legs they may have carrying them along the path of life – the measure of what’s a welcome addition to sex is whether it’s good for everyone involved: feels good, and also feels safe and closeness-encouraging for catchers & pitchers alike. Don’t assume that, just because some humans think “anal sex” is some big taboo that exists merely to be transgressed or challenged, somehow everyone feels that way! Not at all, not at all – that depends on your partner, and to answer that question you must be good at listening and respecting what they are saying, however they choose to say it!
Zooey: That was a fantastic question, Unsure. I hope this helps you and your partner decide what’s best for you! It’s really no different from any other sort of sexy good fun shared between the two of you: respect and consideration and listening and caring aren’t unique to anal sex, or to any kind of sex… or hell to sex at all! Stick with those basics, and wherever you two frisky folks are thinking about sticking things, you’ll cum out the other end with smiles all around! And, with that, here’s our next question from Is She Interested in Indiana: “Dear Zooey: I volunteer at a place with an absolutely gorgeous mule. I have a huge crush on her, but she sends me mixed signals. Sometimes, she’ll just ignore me when I groom or pet her, but other times she will go right up to my chest and nuzzle me. Also, whenever I walk her back to the paddock, she’ll pee while looking back at me, and then wink while she walks away. Do you think she wants to be more than just co-workers?”
Toggle: Oh, boy, this right here is a classic love story in the making!
Zooey: For those listening at home, we cheerfully confirm that, noooope, winking has nothing to do with batting an eyelash in a four-hooved lady like this.
Toggle: So the big question: Is she interested? Mules in general tend to have a certain inbuilt proclivity to gravitate towards humans, whether the interest is Platonic or perhaps a bit more. From what you’ve told us in your note, Unsure, we both think it’s clear that she likes you: after all, she’s quite clearly showing you affection. The real question is whether or not your more-than-Platonic turn of thought is to go requited or not. As to that, wooing her is quite simple: no more and no less, it’s all about sharing with her your extra time. Spend a little longer grooming her. Show her that you care. And most importantly, show her your intent. She may be ignoring you when you groom her because you haven’t been stallion enough to let her know you’re interested. Though, I have to wonder if you haven’t already made your move, since she’s giving you a wink. She’s talking, you’re listening… that’s always the right place to start!
Zooey: For those of you who are equine-illiterate, an amorous mare – whether horse or mule – will flex her vulva for potential suitors when she’s feeling the heat (whether in actual estrus or simply happy to receive carnal attentions at that point in time). This is called winking.
Toggle: When spending time together, pay attention to how she reacts to you. If she’s comfortable with you being near her hindquarters, and she’s raising her tail for you, those generally are ways for her to let you know that she sees you as a potential mate. If she pulls away or shows signs of discomfort at your advances, sorry big boy but – for now – you’re barking up the no-tree of polite refusal. Mules are proud, intelligent, and willful. She will absolutely let you know her intentions: basically, if and when things have moved a bit further and you show her yours, don’t be surprised when she shows you whether things are all-ahead-go or nope-not-now-fella.
Zooey: Thanks so much for showing us that you’re Interested. In our humble opinions, it does sound like your crush is likely already returned in kind by that big girl, and we wish you the best of luck if the two of you decide to go ahead and take that relationship to the next level! A wink like that is nothing to scoff at… oh no, not even a hint of a scoff.
Toggle: Our last question for the evening comes from I’ll Be In the Lab in Livermore. In the Lab writes: “Dear Zooey: My aunt has a beautiful chocolate lab who I’ve been taking care of since we were both just wee young pups. As we grew up together, our love blossomed deeper and deeper, and eventually, we took things to the next level. She’s truly amazing, and our sex together is just so spectacularly, consistently mutually satisfying. Despite all that, I find myself wracked with guilt after each encounter, since – well, in raw words, she belongs to my aunt. For all the usual reasons, I haven’t told my aunt about our secret trysts, since basically I worry she wouldn’t approve even though I don’t really know or not. My girl and I are madly in love, everything about our time together is just so great for both of us, but… should I really keep our relationship going, or should I put an end to it since she belongs to another?”
Zooey: With this question, In the Lab has oh-so-gently stroked a very hot-button issue in the zoo community. Right upfront, all of us here feel like we know the answer we’re supposed to give, buuuuut… after talking about it with all the zoos on staff ‘round here, we feel this question calls on us to dive a bit deeper, try a bit harder, expect more than the standard “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” kind of reply.
Toggle: First off, I am going to say that it’s very hard – pretty much impossible, if we’re going to stay honest and stay legit – for any of us at Ask Zooey, heck even anyone at Zooier Than Thou, to get up on our high horse (up on, not up in… geez!) and preach hypocritically that someone can only be in a relationship with someone four-legged whom they legally “own.” My first zooey experiences were with a relative’s dog – nobody I owned, at the time or at any time thereafter. Straight-up clandestine rendezvous-level shit, yep. Fausty and Kyon both had their sexual awakening with a neighbor’s dog – and they’ve both been upfront and honest about that in public for ages, and stood by those honest recollections. Not only are we not an unusual sample from amoungst zoos out there, but really we’re about as typical as the typical zoo gets in that regard; those who came of age with someone they “owned” are in a very small minority of zoos out there, and that’s simply empirical fact – no judgment, no ethical conclusion, just a fact to set the stage. As such, courting animals that don’t “belong” to us is absolutely a very typical – perhaps the single-most typical – part of coming of age physically and personally as a zoo. Sooo, I think that when we get into this semantic space, we’re reckoning with two very different judgment-deriving systems that are in such situations nearly always at odds with one another: on the one paw, we’ve got the zooey morality which recognizes animals as autonomous individuals with the right to choose their own partners for their own reasons on their own terms with no role for a slave-style “owner” stepping in to decide who gets to lick or mount whom and when. And then, on the other paw we’ve got the mundane legal system of judgment that governs animals as no more and no less than pure personal property. When it comes to zoos and the vagaries of youthful zoo “dating,” those two systems are rarely going to agree on what’s right and what’s not. Again, that’s a simple fact and it’s a good thing to set out upfront.
Zooey: Right, all that said and after we’ve done our work in consulting more than a few of our fellow zoos, we’re all lined up here with the ethical conclusion that there is nothing morally wrong with courting our four-legged friends who are – in legalistic terms – “owned” by another human. Nonhumans, after all, have not only the ability but much more so the inalienable right to make the choice to engage in physical, intimate terms with whomever they wish. Consider, if you will, a system in which humans are regarded as property, for the ease of understanding this conclusion. If you fall in love with a human woman, do you go to her owner and ask for permission to date your beloved lady friend? Perhaps, out of a sense of propriety… or because it’s safest (legally), or for some other reason outside of the realm of pure ethics. But… if her owner says no, do we recognize a moral imperative to honor that choice even though our newly-beloved says the exact opposite? No, we as zoos most certainly do not!
Toggle: When we put it in straight-up human slavery terms like that, it sounds pretty fucking barbaric, right? In the same way, if we recognize and indeed celebrate the reality of our nonhuman peers as autonomous agents, both willing and more than eager to make their own informed, adult decisions about their own romantic or intimate connections, then there’s just no way to make that fundamentally zooish recognition sit comfortably alongside some sort of moral requirement that we seek acquiescence from human “owners” prior to accepting intimate overtures from a nonhuman love interest. It’s wet, or dry – can’t be both, not at the same time, no how no way.
Zooey: Right then, we’re all in perfectly unanimous agreement that, looking at things purely from an ethical or moral zooish perspective – just that, no other sides brought into the mix! – not only is there nothing wrong with your relationship, In the Lab, but that to make such decisions based solely on the wishes of her “owners” would be a clear and troubling ethical failure on your part! In the land of pure ethics, it’s an open and shut case. Ah but, honey, none of us live in that pure land of ethics, and in this degraded old world of real risks and real consequences, we’ve simply got to mesh that purely perfect moral conclusion with the hard facts of living responsible lives: to ourselves, to our communities, and most of all to our nonhuman partners themselves.
Toggle: Even among humans, if you have a tryst with a young woman without her father’s permission, whilst we may all (nowadays) agree that what we’ve done is not morally wrong, we’re all also gonna face up to the fact that there could be consequences if he’s inclined to pull out his shotgun. And as backwards as it is morally, in our society nonhumans are – despite many efforts to break in new paradigms and less slavery-based models – legally recognized as property. So we suggest that while you shouldn’t feel bad – morally or ethically – about your relationship, basic precautions and practical considerations should be a co-equal concern of yours. She can’t balance that side of things – they’re human issues, and as the human in your relationship it’s 100% up to you to do so on behalf of both of you. Do NOT let your moral clarity cloud the practical responsibilities placed on your shoulders as a result of your wonderful relationship, ITL.
Zooey: Love has no bounds, In the Lab. It crosses genders, species, and sometimes, property lines. You have our blessing, as zooish examples in our own (earlier, younger) lives and as zooish folks always putting the views and interests of the nonhumans involved first and foremost. Buuuut… don’t be stupid or reckless, for both your sake and for your beautiful lab’s sake. We have a responsibility to our partners to keep them safe, and that always comes before our own needs and desires. Thanks for your very topical letter.
Toggle: We’ve got a number of excellent questions piling up from our listeners. If you haven’t heard your question answered today, don’t give up! There’s always more zooey advice in store for every single episode!
Zooey: That said, we are indeed out of time. We appreciate each and every one of our fabulous listeners for tuning in every month! We look forward to seeing you all again for more tales of cross-species romance!
Toggle: We’ll see you next time! Same zoo time, same zoo channel!
Fausty: Thanks, friends, for listening to Zooier Than Thou.
Toggle: You can subscribe to the podcast via our RSS feed: just point your favourite podcast client at rss.zoo.wtf and off you go.
Fausty: Our podcast’s website is, yep, zoo.wtf. Twitter @ZooierThanThou, and you can follow Zooey’s knotty advice @AskZooey.
Toggle: A reminder that we have a form that enables anonymous submissions to the podcast on our website, zoo.wtf! You can tell us all the intimate details of your sex life, Ask Zooey about the ethics of fencehopping, or scream new insulting epithets at us that we’ll then use to introduce ourselves at the beginning of each episode!
Fausty: You can contact co-host Fausty through his website, fausty.org, or use a messenger pigeon to contact him out in the wilderness of Pennsylvania!
Toggle: Zooier Than Thou has no DRM, so you can pirate each episode and burn them on a blank DVD to give to all your friends!
Fausty: All nonhumans on our writing staff got the consent of their humans to share their tawdriest, most erotic stories with our listeners.
Toggle: The most beautiful thing in the world is to share a relationship of trust and love with someone who outweighs you by an order of magnitude, who could kill you with a single kick, and yet who puts up with your silly human idiocy for reasons hard to fathom. That’s what it means to be loved by a horse, and there’s no experience that comes even close.
Fausty: Be nice to each other. It’s the sexiest, zooiest thing you can do. This is old man Fausty, getting ready to take a nap.
Toggle: And this is Toggle, the rat next door, and you’ve almost finished listening to Zooier Than Thou! Stay Defiant, fellow zoos! We’ll see you next time you feel like howling at the moon!