A Pound Story: Part Four
Finally, the time was here. Using the pictures from the photo shoot, a campaign had been made to show everyone the great pets who were waiting to be adopted, and Ihae was pleased to note it seemed to be working. The pictures were the talk of Neopia Central, and everyone had seen them there and in the newest edition of the Neopian Times. It seemed her plan had worked!
Even on the way to the Pound, she recognized some familiar faces walking out – the first pets had apparently already been adopted out, and they were radiating with glee, obviously looking forward to seeing their new homes and meeting the rest of their new families. Still, there was one specific pet she was looking for, and she anxiously turned at every happy adoptee, every flash of blue, both hoping and dreading the adoption of her friend. She sped up, hoping she was not too late to say goodbye.
She burst through the door to the Pound, and was both relieved and disappointed to see Yvonne still there, rushing around to help the staff take care of all the work. It was much busier than usual, and there were even some users in the waiting room – something Ihae had never really seen in her time there. She wanted to stop and chat, but it seemed there was lots of work to be done.
"Ihae! Thank Fyora you’re finally here!" Rose rushed over to her. The Uni already seemed exhausted, but she was also beaming with joy. "I know it’s asking a bit much, but with how busy it is today, we’ll need you to lead the storeroom work today. You should know your way around by now, so I know we can leave it to you." Ihae was surprised, but before she could protest, the Uni gave her a sheet of paper. "That’s everything that needs to get done today. If you need help, ask the pets waiting. I’ve got to get back to the counter, though, so good luck!" And with that, Rose turned and went back to her work.
Ihae sighed and headed for the storeroom, glancing back to look for her friend, but Yvonne was already gone, busy elsewhere.
Ihae spent the rest of the day in the storeroom, worked hard and delegating what she could of the many tasks to the pets in the Pound. However, she was having a bit of a hard time. As she had gone to check on one of the pets’ work, a young Techo named Charlie, he was nowhere to be found – and he wasn’t the only one. A few of the other pets had disappeared, as well, leaving her to finish their jobs. She thought it was just laziness, but Charlie was one of the most hardworking and trustworthy pets in the Pound – he wouldn’t have simply left. Confused and somewhat annoyed, she went to look for the missing pets.
On her search, Ihae noticed the Pound was definitely much emptier than usual. Even though it was still early in the day, lots of pets had already been adopted out. She wondered if Yvonne was among them.
In the kitchen, however, Ihae found the Tuskaninny, getting snacks to bring to the staff up front, who had been working all day so far. It had been so busy they had asked the Nimmo who usually worked in the kitchens to help, so the two friends were alone in the kitchen. Yvonne didn’t even notice the Usul had joined her until she looked up to see her suddenly, obviously surprised her friend was there.
"Hey, I didn’t notice you there," she said, smiling. "How’s it going?"
"It’s going horribly," Ihae replied, sighing and leaning against the counter next to the Tuskaninny. "I got put in charge of all the storeroom jobs, and everyone I find to help keeps disappearing! At first, I thought they were just being lazy, but now Charlie’s gone, too." At this, Yvonne looked up.
"Charlie’s been adopted, Ihae. I went and got him a while ago. Who else went missing?" Yvonne asked. Ihae listed them. "Yeah, they’ve been adopted, too," Yvonne confirmed.
"Well, mystery solved." Ihae groaned. "I’m happy for them, but how am I supposed to get my work done when no one stays long enough to do it?" She paused, looking over at her friend. "Yvonne… I really do want to stay in touch once you’ve found a new home."
"So do I..." Yvonne murmured. But then with an apparent burst of energy, she swept up the trays with food for the staff on them, and turned towards the door. "I really do have to go back to help now. Hopefully I’ll see you." She was almost out the door when she stopped, and tuned her head to Ihae. "But really, I might not get adopted. I mean, at least then, you know where to find me, right?" She grinned somewhat painfully, and it sounded like her voice might break, but before Ihae could say anything, she was gone.
Sunday afternoon, as the weekend was wrapping up, Ihae was exhausted. Her continued attempts at delegating the work had failed – as on Saturday, whenever she found someone, they would soon disappear, having been called up to meet their new owners. The Usul had been left to finish most of the jobs.
The Pound was now nearly empty, and although she should have been ecstatic, she couldn’t stop thinking about Yvonne. The once steady flow of users was now starting to slow down, and Yvonne was still there, helping the staff adopt out other pets. It seemed somewhat unfair to Ihae.
Having finished her work, the Usul picked up her things and headed to the front desk. It wasn’t until then that she realized she was done – with this, the program was over. It made her somewhat sad, as she had enjoyed the company of the pets in the Pound, but she was proud of what she had accomplished in the past month, even if her pride was mostly overshadowed by the worry for Yvonne.
At the front desk, Rose was waiting for her, smiling. The Uni handed her the papers to prove she had done her job.
"We’re glad you chose to work with us, Ihae. It was great having you, and you’re welcome to come back, of course, although now there will be a lot less work for the time being, thanks to you. But before you go, I have something to give you." The Uni started to dig through the pile of paperwork now on her desk, remnants of the weekend that still had to be taken care of and sorted. She pulled a small slip of paper and handed it to Ihae, who looked at it, puzzled. The sheet had an address scribbled on it, as if the writer had been in a great hurry. It took her a second, but suddenly she understood.
"Is… Is this where she lives now?" she asked the Uni, who nodded.
This was it – finally, Yvonne had been adopted.
Ihae couldn’t contain her excitement. She hugged the Uni, thanking her and saying her goodbyes for the time being – she promised to be back to help out again as soon as she was needed. On her way home, she couldn’t stop grinning.
Later that week, Ihae found herself standing in front of a cute little house in Faerieland. It was somewhat out of the way, but it seemed peaceful and enjoyable. However, Ihae showed little interest in the area – she was here to visit the newest member of the household.
The Usul had spent the last few days worrying about her friend. How was her new family? Were they treating her well?
Was Yvonne even still here, or was she back in the Pound once again?
Nervously, she rang the doorbell.
A Faerie Tuskaninny opened the door, and it took Ihae a second to recognize her friend. Upon seeing Ihae, Yvonne ran out and hugged her tightly.
"You found me!" she exclaimed, her new wings fluttering.
"I said I would, didn’t I?" Ihae laughed. She couldn’t believe the incredible relief she felt – everything had worked out, and it looked like Yvonne was doing great.
"Come on in, let me show you around and introduce you to everyone!"
That evening, Ihae stayed over at Yvonne’s new house. She had been able to finally put all of her worries to rest that day – her friend’s new family was great and Ihae was sure she was being treated well. Still, she was incredibly glad to see Yvonne again, and hadn’t wanted to leave her just yet.
"I’m so glad you came up with the idea for that campaign!" Yvonne sighed happily. "If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here now, Ihae. Thank you so much."
"Don’t be like that." Ihae shook her head. "It would have never worked out without your help. Either way, get up, we have work to do," Ihae said, getting up and reaching out towards her friend. Yvonne was confused.
"What for?" she asked.
"Don’t you remember?" Ihae replied. "We’re going to make you a model."