The Prancing Skiltaire

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The Prancing Skiltaire

The Prancing Skiltaire, also known as the Prancing Skiltaire or just The Skiltaire, is the given name of the furry house in the SoCalFurs region, specifically in Garden Grove, Orange County, California, USA.


The Prancing Skiltaire's house sign (closeup). Photo by (?)[who?]
Patches the cat lived at the Prancing Skiltaire, until her death in May 2012 (renal failure)

This private residence (est. 1980) was owned by furry fandom organizer Mark Merlino, and it is host to a group of furries that share their common interests in matters relating to the furdom.

It also hosts, or has been host to, a variety of public events in the past years such as annual holiday get-togethers, ConFurence and Califur staff meetings, filking concerts, and their monthly house parties (which for a time were hosted side by side with another furry house, the Rick's Café Terrestrienne, just located a few blocks east, until Rick and Tess Calhoun moved to the state of Washington in the mid 2005).


The residence's mascot (found on the house's sign and business cards), is the Skiltaire, a species created by Mark initially for a personally-made role-playing game (RPG).

House parties[edit]

The guests of the monthly house party, held on the second Saturday of each month from 02:00 PM – 10:00 PM, are asked to provide their own food and munchies,[1] while a barbecue station is available in the backyard (this is the residence's BBQ, not to be confused with the FurBQ, also known as the SoCal FurBQ, one of the largest informal annual gatherings of furries in the SoCalFurs area).


The house's name was modeled after traditional Old English naming traditions: e.g. "Red Lion Inn", "The Boar's Head", etc, which signifies a place of abode and commune to weary travelers.

The house is/was host to many furries and has been, in the past, a commune for those furs either displaced from their homes and given residence for rent or in exchange for apprenticeship in Mark's network communication company, Lantana, Ltd.

The five-bedroom house has a primarily furry-themed decor, with most of the walls and shelving space decked out with original and re-created animation cels of past furry movies, Japanese and Chinese manga, original artwork by various furry artists, an extensive collection of DVDs, CDs, music, and offbeat movies, a large collection of plushies, memorabilia, collectibles, and statuettes, among others.

Tiger's Den BBS[edit]

Tiger's Den BBS was a furry-themed bulletin board system (BBS) server located at the location, which ran from 1983 to 1996, before the popularization of the Internet. The servers were located in the far east wing of the house.

As a result of this and Mark's professional skills as a networking engineer, in 1999 the house was rigged with a more-than-adequate Ethernet network, which was ahead of its time for a personal residence before the popularization of residential Local area networks (LAN).

Firstlight Internet Services[edit]

The Skiltaire also has a history with Firstlight Internet Services, which was/is a full-service ISP, once primarily based out of Orange County (OC). Neil Whelchel, its owner, was a long-time resident at the house, and consequently, partners in maintaining the communication networks provided at ConFurence, along with Tigerden Internet Services.

Many of the residents of the house were given complimentary web space and email addresses. The ISP also hosted The Pride Lands MUCK.

The ISP went offline in the early 2000s and the website went defunct around 2009.


Owner/resident Mark Merlino passed on the premises while recuperating from a series of brain strokes while battling Stage IV liver cancer.[2] He passed away in his sleep during the early morning hours of February 20, 2024.[3]

His long-time partner Rod O'Riley is the current homeowner of the Skiltaire.

Residents over the years[edit]


  1. Party Rules page on the The Prancing Skiltaire's website. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  2. Help a True Fandom Original. post by Rodney Stansfield on GoFundMe. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  3. He's gone. post on The Prancing Skiltaire's X account. Retrieved February 20, 2024.

External links[edit]


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