I met a furry at my first meeting of I group I now attend regularly. It's a group completely unrelated to furries, and I'd never met another one before. Unfortunately he doesn't attend the group any more...
Uhh, I was twelve, and made my first fursona without realizing. Then I was sixteen, loved Pokemon, found a sort-of-hidden society in which most of the people were furries, and realized I am one. So basically it's always been there but it just took me a while to figure it out.
My fursona and spirit animal are totally different.
I'm a wolf. And he's a squirrel who, when I need help, visits me while I'm on the verge of unconsciousness and shows me which path to take. And likes to pelt me with chestnuts when I make a bad decision.