The Pound - Uncovered
The Pound. Those two words are enough to strike fear into the hearts of all but the most egotistical Neopet. But what do we really know about it? If you think about it, not much. It can be summed up in 6 points.
1. You can adopt a Neopet, via the adoption centre run by a pink Uni.
2. You can transfer a pet, once a month, with the help of a robot Hissi.
3. "Abandon" or place your pets into the pound by paying a fee to the Techo known as Dr Death.
4. Lutaris will always run away from the pound.
5. Owners with accounts of less than 4 months age cannot adopt certain pets due to the colour they are painted.
6. Magma pets will revert to red when placed in the pound.
Considering we know so little about the pound, I decided to commission a series of investigations of the pound in an attempt to shed some light on the true inner workings of the place.
This week, one of our investigative reporters was fortunate enough to receive an inside tour. The following transcript is their report.
Greetings, Neopia! Special reporter Ibililly reporting! I'm just about to take a tour of the Neopian Pound, the first of its kind! Truly an all-access pass into everything that happens behind the doors of doom and despair. Or are they... ?
Before I tell you of everything I saw and heard on that fateful day, for those who have never seen the Pound before, let me paint you a picture of this horrifying place. A tall, somehow grey rusted barbed wire fence surrounds a medium-sized building of a stucco colouring, red tiled roof gleams as the sun (Part of this transcript has been removed. Reason – Unnecessary indulgence of architectural/design hobby).
My tour started with an introduction by the Pink Uni who runs the adoption department, who refused to give her name.
"The Neopian Pound is home to many pets whose owners, for one reason or another, have decided not to have care over them. The Pound does its best to care for all the pets under its roof, but sheer numbers and lack of funding mean we cannot even feed everyone once a day."
She gave me a funny look.
"No need to look like that. It's not our fault we can't even feed everyone."
Oops. My bad?
We went to the adoption centre, which also holds records of all the neopets who have ever been in the Pound. The room was painted a soft baby pink, with shiny (Part of this transcript has been removed. Reason – See other removal note).
"We have all our files on computer," the Uni explained, showing me. "And we also have hard copies." She gestured to the rows of thousands of large filing cabinets.
"And approximately how many pets have been in the Pound all together?"
"Well..." She paused to think for a moment, then said, "If you count every time a pet has been admitted to the pound as one pet, then about as many pets as have ever been created."
The transfer centre was next on our tour. The metallic (Part of this transcript has been removed. Reason – Do I really need to explain this?). The pets that are being transferred from one account to another have their own rooms, and are looked after quite well. "1000 NP goes a long way."
Nothing could have prepared me for the abandoned pets' cells. The realisation that the bad conditions we see when adopting are a thousand times better than where they actually spend most of their time is like having "Drain Life" used on you. The cells are tight, most are off the ground, stacked on top of each other, so high up the ceiling would be impossible to see but for a giant window on the roof – the only source of light. Pets are sorted by species and colour, those with wings living in the topmost cages. It's as clean as the pets can manage, although wall to wall, floor to floor concrete is hard to remove stains from. Most are crying, complaining or desperately asking to be moved with family. The Uni didn't say a word the whole time.
She led me to the mess hall, where literally hundreds of blue Meerca were lined up for their food. They were given jelly, omelette or... actually, I don't even know what that was. I asked them when the last time they were fed was.
"Before I was pounded," one answered miserably.
"They're new. I've been here a few years, and I'd say about once every six months," another replied. I didn't know if the actual things he was saying or the matter-of-fact tone in which he said it was worse.
"And what about exercise? Getting out of your rooms?"
"This," he swept his arm to indicate the mess hall, "is it, mostly. Sometimes they'll let us out to visit other pets in the pound, and the pets that can fly give the rest of us rides up to the window." It's depressing, frankly, to see pets look up with hope at the mention of that window, lost in memories of the closest thing to happy times they've seen in however long.
On the way back to the adoption office, for a final Q&A, I asked to see the quarters of the pets that were painted rare colours. Were all the royal pets put in the same cell? How many faerie Chias had to share?
"I'm afraid I can't show you that."
"You're too young. Your owner-" she reiterated, seeming to react to something on my face, "is too new to Neopia. He or she may get ideas that they can simply swan in and adopt a royal pet in their first days of life here. It's not fair."
On a related note, our reader of the week question happened to concern this pink Uni, and my editor decided to keep costs down- I mean, to increase employee efficiency by asking me to ask her. This week's question: What happens when someone wants to abandon, adopt or transfer a pet and you are asleep?
"We, that is, Dr. Death, the transfer Hissi and I, have motion sensitive sensors outside our offices. Before we go to sleep, we turn them on, and when someone enters our office an alarm sounds in our room."
It was at that point I had to take my leave, but my memories of what I saw at the pound that day will probably never leave me. I have never been more grateful my owner loves me and would never do such a thing to me. This is Ibililly, signing off.
Look out for our next article, in which we interview some so-called "Trading Pets". Got a question for them? Neomail our PR department (Kaanana) with your question, and your question may get answered.
I'm planning to write more of these, so if you actually have a question, neomail me and I'll answer it for next time. :)