Tom grew up in Westchester County, New York, USA. He focused mostly on theater, writing, and music, spending three summers at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and three at other music camps. He eventually went to Oberlin Conservatory and University Of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, from which he graduated cum laude with a B.Mus in Composition in 1991. He worked for six months at the World Esperanto Association in Rotterdam before returning to his newly adopted city of San Francisco. He lived there until early 2009 when he moved back to Oberlin, Ohio. He returned to Rotterdam in 2016 and became a Dutch citizen in 2022.
He is a freelance writer and videojournalist and has also worked in print publication, public relations, real estate, and nonprofit administration. As a writer he counted among his clients The San Francisco Chronicle, Apple Inc., and The Chemical Heritage Foundation. He's written extensively about the content-management system Drupal, including a book and several instructional video series.
Jack became involved in the furry fandom in late 1998 and was active in Bay Area Furry events before moving to Oberlin, Ohio in the late 2000s, and then to The Netherlands in 2016. He is the founder of the furry club night Otterdance.
As a child, Jack had a special affinity for dolphins, and was deeply affected by the anthropomorphic characters in The Chronicles of Narnia. He first encountered the furry community in a room party at the 1993 WorldCon in San Francisco (ConFrancisco), but didn't get involved until reading the 26 August 1998 cover story in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He sought out the Bay Area Furry clan, started going to furry coffee at the old CyberCafes location in Sunnyvale, California, joined various online discussion groups, and participated in the first Further Confusion in January 1999.
In 2015 he created Jack Newhorse as an "After Dark" (sex-oriented) character; he eventually adopted that character as his main fursona. Prior to that his fursona didn't have a specific genotype, although he's been portrayed as a wolf, fox, and mouse. He took the name Tom Howling with no specific species in mind, thinking instead that many animals howl in one way or another. He's occasionally appeared under other names, most notably Veggie Fried Mouse, but only temporarily.
- Further Confusion - 1999
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