I was sitting in a small cage, somewhere in the Pound. The cage on the left was empty.
In the cage at the right sat a small Green Aisha. He had told me his name once, but it was just some random numbers and I had forgotten it. A lot of pets in the Pound had weird names.
The Aisha had told me his name was the reason of being Pounded and not being adopted again.
I sighed. I wished I could just spread my wings and fly away, to finally have my freedom again.
I would love the see the Haunted Woods or maybe visit Terror Mountain. The Lost Desert and Mystery Island sounded nice too. I had never seen those places, but I had heard stories about them. It all sounded so interesting. If I would get out of the Pound, I wanted to travel all over Neopia. If I ever would get out of the Pound. I didn't know how long I had been here. I think it hadn't been very long, but in the Pound you lose every awareness of time. I didn't even know if it was day or night. It seemed like I was in a more quiet part of the Pound. Not many people were here to look for a pet. I had lost the hope of being adopted already. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.
It was a warm autumn day, in the month of Collecting,when my owner, Dieter, and I were wandering in Neopia Central. We came across a building I hadn't seen before.
A sign said: 'The Pound'. I asked Dieter what this so-called 'Pound' was.
'The Pound is a place where people bring their unwanted pets,' he explained. 'I haven't been there before, but I heard people talking about it. They said it is a horrible place.'
'Why is it such a horrible place?' I asked.
He looked sad when he answered my question.
'I heard there's no food in the Pound, nor toys. The only thing pets sometimes keep are their Petpets. They say there are pets that have been in the Pound for years, for various reasons. I heard some pets are pounded one week after they're created.'
'But that's horrible! Why would someone do something like that. How can someone be so cruel?' I replied. 'Can't we do anything about that? Can't we adopt them?'
'Well, I guess, we could adopt a pet, but I'm not sure if we're both ready for a new family member,' he said.
'Please? I'm sure I can handle it,' I told him.
'If you're sure...' and he walked into the Pound.
When I stepped through the door, I came in a sort of a hall. It wasn't very big and it was crowded with people. On the other side of the hall were three doors. The one at the right was a dark blue and it was covered in cobwebs.
A small cardboard sign said: 'Abandon'.
'I am certain we shouldn't be in there,' Dieter said, pointing at the dark blue door.
The door in the middle was made of steel.
A sign, also made of some sort of metal, said: 'Transfer'. I was sure we shouldn't be there either.
The last door, the door at the left, was pink and covered with colourful flowers.
On a white paper, there was written 'Adopt', in a bright pink font.
My claws tapped at the stone floor when I walked to the pink door.
In the room behind the pink door was a Pink Uni, sitting behind a small desk covered in papers. She seemed to be busy, but looked up when we entered the room.
'Welcome,' she said, 'I assume you are here to adopt a pet?'
'Please follow me.'
The Pink Uni brought us to another door. I wondered how many doors there were in the Pound. The Uni opened the door.
'Just walk down this stairs and you'll find all the Pets who are waiting for a new owner,' she explained. My owner nodded again and walked down the stairs. Hastily I followed him.
I woke up. I had such a great dream. In my dream I had a family. Together with an owner and another pet, I lived in Faerieland in a beautiful Neohome. I had a Petpet and lots of toys to play with. Everyday we would eat gourmet food. The dream had been so real. My stomach growled. I was so hungry... I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten something.
My Aisha neighbour was gone. Instead there now was an Ogrin sitting in the cage next to me. She looked confused and sad. She probably was just pounded. It didn't seem like she noticed me. It is hard to make friends in the Pound. You can only talk with the pets in the cages next to you and they often adopt pets out or they move to another cage. It's lonely in the Pound.
My first impression was that the Pound actually was a giant maze.
There were cages everywhere. We started walking in a random direction.
Left, right, left, left, right. After some time I didn't even keep track of it anymore.
There were hundreds, no thousands of pets in the Pound. They all looked sad and hungry.
I just couldn't get it. Why would people pound their Pets?
'Dieter, why do people pound their pets?'
'Because they often don't like the name of the pet.'
'Why don't they like the name?'
'Because there are numbers in it.'
'And that's the only reason?'
'It's the most common reason.'
'What are the other reasons?'
'Sometimes people don't like the species of their pet anymore and pound them. And sometimes an owner decides it's time to leave Neopia forever. To give their pet a chance on a new home, they bring them to the Pound. But most owners try to find a new owner themselves when they decide to leave Neopia.'
'D-do you think you would pound me if you didn't like my species anymore?'
'What makes you think something like that? You know I would never pound you!'
I don't know how long we were walking through the Pound, but I suddenly noticed a friendly looking White Ruki.
'Maybe we can adopt him? He looks like he is a nice pet.'
'No, he's painted; he won't have very much trouble finding a new owner soon. I would rather adopt an unpainted pet. They often have to stay in the Pound for weeks, some of them even for months and if they have a bad name sometimes even longer.'
It seemed like we were in a quieter part of the Pound now.
There weren't many pets here. Most cages were empty.
I looked in a cage I thought was empty, but inside there was a small Yellow Korbat.
'Euhm, hello?' I said.
The Korbat didn't respond. I walked back to Dieter.
'I think I've found someone, but she doesn't say anything.'
Dieter followed me to the cage with the Korbat.
He bent over so he could look the Korbat in the eyes.
'Hey, I'm Dieter. What's your name?'
'Go away!' the Korbat said.
'That's an... unusual response on such a common question. Why do you want me to go away?'
'I know you're not real. I'm just dreaming that someone adopts me.'
'We ARE real,' I said.
This was one of the weirdest conversations I had ever had. How could I prove we were real?
'If this was a dream, when would you discover it was just a dream?' I asked.
'I would wake up when someone adopted me...'
'So, that means if we adopt you and you don't wake up, this is real.'
The Korbat didn't say anything.
'I think we should go,' my owner said. 'She won't say anything and we can't adopt her if she doesn't want to. We can't force her...'
We walked away.
I was sure this was one of those dreams again. Although it seemed all very real.
I didn't want to get disappointed again. I didn't want to wake up to see everything had only happened in my head. I didn't want to see I was still here, in the Pound.
But... maybe... this was not a dream... Maybe I should.... But what if?
There was no time to hesitate.
'My name is Lherise!' I yelled.
The Bori turned back to me.
'I think... I think you're real,' I said.
'So, you want to come with us?' the Bori said.
My new owner opened the cage and we walked to... I wasn't sure where we were going to, but the further we walked, the more crowded it got.
I didn't say anything, but I felt happier than ever before. I was leaving the Pound! I still couldn't believe it.
We came into a little, completely pink, office. A smiling Pink Uni approached us. 'Do you wish to adopt Lherise?' the Uni asked.
'Yes, I wish to adopt Lherise,' my, now officially, new owner said.
'Please sign here.You will have to pay a small adoption fee and then you can go.'
My owner signed and handed the Uni some neopoints.
'You have successfully adopted Lherise,' the Pink Uni said. She handed my owner a paper. 'On this paper is more information about Lherise. Have a nice day.'
We walked out of the building. The sun was shining and somewhere I heard a Beekadoodle whistling his little song.
I couldn't believe it. I got out of the Pound. I finally got out of the Pound!
And I would never, NEVER go back!