The Pound: Whether the Species Matters
Whenever we and our beloved Neopets go for a stroll around Neopia Central, talking excitedly about Nigel and the Stock Market and Key Quest and the rumour of the uncovering of the solution to the Chef Bonju avatar, we pass that secret corner of the Neopian society. Alright, it’s not exactly a secret; more like a hated and much-feared place, especially by Neopets.
Yes, mere mortal. I am talking about the Pound and Doctor Death.
Ever since the Pound got renovated, I can’t even count on all my fingers and toes the articles that have been written about it. We’ve got pieces about the pros and cons of the Pound, why not to pound your Neopet, how to console a pounded Neopet’s sibling, whether a name affected the pounding risks of a Neopet, etc. Yet what I was interested in was whether the species played a role in Neopet-pounding.
So I set off with my Tatty Notebook and Flexible Pencil. The pink Uni with the sweet smile greeted me at the door of the pound. Once I entered, I sat down on the Simple Blue Chairs that were spread around the Waiting Room of the Pound. So I accepted a Coffee Milkshake from the Uni, thanked her, then settled down to do some fieldwork about the Neopets that had been unfortunately abandoned.
The Neopets Came in Three by Threes: Primary Findings
The Neopets were ushered from their little dormitory rooms by the Uni in trios, most bleary-eyed and looking rather tired. I wondered secretly whether the pink Uni and her gang of voluntary helpers fed the pounded Neopets well enough.
I saw 20 batches of Neopets in total, equating to 60 Neopets. There were 6 Grundos, 4 Lennies, 3 Usuls, 3 Lupes, 3 Eyries, 3 Kougras, 3 Tuskaninnies and 3 Skeiths. There were 2 of the following species: Kacheeks, Gnorbus, Xweetoks, Peophins, Wockies, Pteris, Kyrii and Nimmos. Finally, there was 1 Ogrin, 1 Zafara, 1 Blumaroo, 1 Flotsam, 1 Quiggle, 1 Meerca, 1 Chia and 1 Mynci.
Amongst these 60 pets, two were of Level 5, 1 of Level 7 and 1 of Level 8. Three were painted, a White Grundo, a Purple Grundo and a Christmas Yurble.
All of the Neopets had a maximum hit point of 15 or below. All looked so lost and frightened and desperately wanting a warm smile and a plushie to play with.
My heart went out to these poor Neopets…
Examining Sloth’s Ex-Slaves: Too Many Grundos!
As we have seen from the above findings, Grundos are the most abandoned species. There were 6 of them amongst the 60 Neopets, forming 10% of the Neopets that I had seen in the Adoption Agency.
Why is that so? Are all Grundos under the risk to be abandoned? Should those lovely Neopets that live in your homes cower under their Glowing Kreludor Sofas and fear for the day they’ll be taken to Doctor Death?
As we all know, in the Virtupets Space Station bobbing above the Neopia planet, there is a little booth with a banner that says “Adopt A Grundo”. Going to that blue Grundo behind the booth will result in your bringing home an adorable new pet with large eyes and handsome antennae. These Grundos were once Doctor Sloth’s minions, and now they are just hoping for a normal life with a loving owner. You can choose to adopt a Grundo of the four basic colors (Blue, Red, Yellow and Green) or the “coveted” paintbrush colors (Brown, White, Purple).
I personally think the reason why Grundos form a large portion of the abandoned population is because so many Neopians adopt Grundos impulsively, on a whim while exploring the Space Station. Adopting a pet should be a process in which the owners and any existing pets discuss the pros and cons of having a new family member, and talk about sleeping arrangements or other “necessary” conditions.
Grundos, according to the notice at the Adoption Booth, slobber horribly and cry at night. Is that a biased view, since this notice is at the Space Station and could have been influenced by Dr. Sloth? We don’t know, but what I do know is that many Neopians see the Adoption sign, feel an urge to care for these sad ex-slaves, and therefore bring one of the little cuties home.
However, since these Grundos are created on a whim, they often aren’t given a warm welcome in your Neohome. Your Gelert doesn’t want to share his favourite Stone Armchair with the new sibling, your Acara doesn’t want to lend the new family member her Super Soft Lulu Plushie, and you just don’t know where to let the Grundo sleep! Without preparation, fights will certainly arise, and this can lead to your abandoning the poor Grundo in the midst of a temper.
Of course, since the Grundos weren’t created with a lot of thought, their names wouldn’t have been carefully thought out either. And as I’ve mentioned, there has been a lot of study about how names affect the probability of Neopets being adopted once they’ve been abandoned.
Also, there are newbies who just want a Painted Neopet OH SO MUCH!!! And for these newbies, they might be just cruising around the tip of Terror Mountain one day and decide to drop by the Virtupets Space Station. And then decide to adopt a Grundo. And when they see the choices for the supposed “paintbrush” colors (white, brown and purple) they just can’t help themselves!!! Immediately they adopt a lovely Grundo.
But of course, just months or even weeks later, they realize a “painted” Grundo isn’t that rare. And they realize Grundos aren’t worth the attention (because of the slobber and crying and all that). So with the Grundo trailing behind, these inexperienced Neopians go off to Dr. Death, drop off their new family member and go on their merry way.
Leaving behind the Grundo, of course.
Popularity vs. Pound-ability: Does Popularity Matter?
Referring to the Neopets popularity chart, Shoyrus, Kacheeks and Kougras are first, second and third respectively. Yet, all three “most-popular” species are amongst the 60 sample set of Neopets that I investigated in the Pound!
Are popular pets under a higher risk of abandonment?
I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that out of the eight most popular pets, only the Uni wasn’t represented within the sample set in the Pound.
I believe that, like the above Grundo phenomenon, there are several possible and plausible explanations for this.
Firstly, a Neopian might create a Shoyru, for instance, out of mere delight in seeing that little creature flit about with their pretty wings. So after the Shoyru was brought home, happy as a Snorkle in mud, the Neopian realized that the Shoyru is the most popular Neopet in Neopia.
Neopia is a place where creativity is highly valued. You’ve got the Customization options, new furniture for Neohome 2.0, User spotlights, Pet spotlights and the list goes on and on. Individuality is a trait that is much encouraged. Most Neopians want to be people with “great” reputations, and these include (usually) unique pets painted in interesting colours and customized beautifully.
I don’t know whether you find my logic a bit off the track, but if I were those good-reputation-seeking Neopians, I wouldn’t want a Shoyru. Too many people have Shoyrus/Kacheeks/Kougras etc, thus creating an overflow of popular Neopets in the Pound.
Another explanation could be the Impulsive Theory. This is the opposite of the theory above. Neopians browse the Most Popular Page and see that most people like Shoyrus/Kacheeks/Kougras. So these Neopians decide to jump on the bandwagon and get a taste of being an owner of the Most Popular Pet (or second most popular or third most popular, but you get the idea). They get a new Shoyru/Kacheek/Kougra, but after a while, since they created these Neopets on a whim without much thought, they get tired of these impulsive Neopets and decide to drop them off.
At the Pound.
It’s not a big surprise that popular Neopets are often found dumped, is it? I don’t know whether these theories are true, but what I know is this: there is a slightly higher chance of Neopians abandoning popular Neopets. Not a very big chance, but at least a slightly higher one.
Conclusion: So. What’s all this about?
I lean back on my chair in the waiting room of the Pound and thank the Uni when she comes back out, obviously exhausted after ushering Neopet after Neopet in and out of the room. Then I leave the Pound and go off to the Rainbow Pool to think. As pink Cybunnies and Royal Aishas and Mystery Island Flotsams and Halloween Boris go past me, I can’t help feeling rather sad for those poor Neopets.
Whatever the reason was behind the abandonment, you can’t deny that those poor darlings rotting away in their little dormitory rooms in the Pound deserve a loving home, just as every other Neopet in existence.
I read in a past issue of the NT about a scheme for Pound pets. It was mostly about adopting a Pound pet, feeding and playing with it until it’s nice and bloated and happy, healing any diseases and then buying the pet a petpet. Afterwards, the volunteer would pound the Neopet again, but this time, with the petpet, the Neopet wouldn’t be so lonely in the Pound by itself.
I totally agree with this; I think it’s a very workable scheme and something everyone should try. Maybe NT readers could try this: once a week, or once every two weeks, make the effort to help at least one pounded pet. As they say, giving is better than receiving. Helping others will make you feel better about yourself.
Another suggestion I have is that any lucky Neopian who has access to the Secret Laboratory can adopt a pounded Neopet and zap him/her until the pet is painted into a more interesting color (a non-basic one). Then this Neopian could either pound the pet (rather cruel...) or transfer the pet. I’m sure, with a new painted coat, the Neopet could find a loving home in no time. This makes us Neopians sound rather shallow, doesn’t it? But you’ll have to admit: we all judge a book by its cover at times, and a painted Neopet does look better than a basic color one on our lookup, no?
In conclusion, Grundos and popular Neopets are under higher risks of abandonment, but with a little help from all over Neopia, I’m sure we could help the poor Neopets in the pound and find them all better homes!