You should be an interesting person to follow, given that I am a furry myself, at least technically speaking; however, I do not understand why people want to study this hobby of ours as if we literally are of a different species. :)
The article you posted is interesting, but I do feel as if we are not being seen as human beings. It is as if we are alien creatures and you "regular humans" are studying us. For example, the article stated, "Results revealed that furries are a complex, distinctive and diverse group of people." Of course. That is what happens when a large group of people get together. They tend to be diverse and complex.
Of note, I do also find it interesting that primates are rarely selected as alter egos in the furry subculture. I know of a few, but not many!
Again, this will be interesting to follow. However, I think this is a bit silly, such as studying a group of people who like to collect stamps. :) Maybe I am just seeing what you are doing in the wrong light?
As for Furnal, I will not be attending personally. I have little time to attend furry conventions; although, my favourite convention is FWA in Atlanta.
On a personal note, kudos to you for rescuing three of your dogs. As a foster (for cats mostly, though I recently fostered an American Bulldog/Pit mix) and rescuer myself, I commend you on that.