Volunteering at the Neopian Pound
What you don’t know about the Neopian Pound...
Hi, my name is Zed. I volunteer at the Neopian Pound. Actually I prefer SUP (Shelter for Unwanted Pets). Anyway, I've seen some pretty sad things. Not that the Pound is bad; I mean, we do our best to make everything homey, but that's hard when you don't have a home.
I adopted my Gelert Sunnyrise. That is what first got me hooked on volunteering. When Sunnyrise would tell me of tales of life in the Pound I knew I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of those unwanted pets.
See, when people want a neopet, a person usually is expecting a mature independent friend. What they don’t expect is the patience and time required to help raise a new neopet. Like all living things, neopets start out as babies, and they need all the attention and care that goes along with the lifelong friendship. Sadly, when things don’t work out in the home, people come to us. You know that scary Techo Dr. Death with the major bad hair-do and white lab coat? He does experiments on the abandoned pets. Only, you’re probably thinking he’s like Dr. Sloth. He’s not. He is wacko, though. Yeah, um, no one is supposed to know, but his secret dream was to be a professional hair stylist. Only thing is, he flunked the test for beauty school. So now he practices his new ideas on the pets that come in, hoping to strike it rich with some amazing new style, when hard working volunteers like me are having enough trouble trying to get a pet adopted without having to explain why 1/2 of the Peophin's fur is shaved off in the letter P. Ugh. But until he succeeds, we are stuck with crazy hair stylist Dr. Death.
But working with the Neopian Pound had quite a few ups too. Like that pink Uni you see when you come to adopt a neopet. She can be a bit snippy now and then (what Uni isn’t?) but she is really nice most of the time. She has quite the story herself, y’know. She came in to the Neopian Pound in Year One and has stayed ever since. I bet the person who gave her up never knew what she would be later! She has taught me everything I know. You can’t visit for an hour and not learn something new. From basic emergencies to how to clip Gelert claws, she’s the gal to ask. You can't be around her for an hour and not learn something. She's amazing.
Now that I have described our two main staff, I’m going to tell you about what we do with the pet once they’ve had their “haircut”. When a pet comes in, there could be many reasons why it was abandoned. We always ask the owner for a reason of abandonment, but sometimes the ex-owner will not cooperate and will just leave after paying the fee. In any case, we first comfort the pet as much as possible. He or she always comes first. Imagine if your mom or dad just gave you up one day without warning or explanation! I, for one, would be shocked. I can’t imagine what it must be like. So we have to be gentle and kind and veeery patient. Once the pet has settled in as much as expected, we do a health check. This is just a basic checkup where we find out if anything is wrong. Usually, you can tell a pet is sick just by looking carefully for the usual symptoms, but if something is in the early stage... you can’t always tell. Because of this our med-check team has to do a full checkup before contact with other pets. We cannot risk having something like Neomonia running rampant.
The good news is the green Gelert doctor at the Neopia Hospital sometimes donates sample medications and other necessities for a well run Pound. I mean, he may look loopy but I’ve never met someone so sharp! Anyway, if the neopet is healthy, then he or she may join the other pets waiting for a home. If he or she is ill, then he/she is set up in a small kennel by her/himself until the medication has kicked in. Then, all we can do is wait until he or she is feeling better. By this time, they should be halfway settled in to the idea that they are in the Pound. Now, when you come in and look at a pet to adopt, you see a card with information about each pet. Characteristics, health, intelligence. We have to find all of this information. And while the neopet is with us we have a school program to help a pet stay active so far as thinking goes. I’m afraid the Pound would be dreadfully boring if we didn’t have SOMETHING for those poor unfortunate pets to do... So we invent games that make pets think. Sometimes we'll get a book or two as a donation and all the pets will gather around to listen to anything about love and family, things that these love-starved pets want so badly if only someone would adopt them.
The last thing I want to tell you about is how excited a pet is when he or she discovers that he or she is being adopted. We always have a Good Luck ceremony. This is just when pets can give little memoirs and trinkets they may have. Once, I was helping with a Good Luck ceremony and 2 pets (I cannot say names- courtesy to the pets themselves) who had become very close during their stay, came to say good-bye to one another. One was so happy that the other one got a home and so sad that this involved leaving its best friend. The pet who was leaving was having the same problem. Just when they started hugging and exchanging last vows never to forget each other (I’m afraid these particular pets were a bit emotional) the lady adopting the one pet asked if she could take the other one as well. The two pets were so happy they almost got sick! The joy on their faces was indescribable.
THAT is why I volunteer. Helping change the lives of so many people just gives me such a warm feeling inside. Volunteer your time and help make a difference. And if you can't find time in this busy world of ours, donate some NP or medicine or even beds. Come on, give me a break. If you've ever tried to get Grarrl and a Lupe to share a bunk, you'd want more beds around here too.
Well, that wraps it up, thanks for reading.