Why is it that so many owners leave their pets in the pound to starve and never see daylight again? Some people say it's because people don't realize that a yellow Ruki with the name SFwaie4 isn't going to be adopted for a while. Some people say it's because they expect their pet to be treated by others as they treated it. Some people say it's because it can be easier to pound surf for hours on end than to work hard and save up for that rare paint brush. Those may all be true, but there's one reason I think is very important: users nowadays put too much value on special paint brush colors and rare species.
"Ooooo, it's Poogle Day tomorrow!" users shout. "I forgot! Sorry, SFwaie4, I've gotta take you to the pound now! I need a Poogle!" Now, don't get me wrong. It's perfectly fine and very respectable to dream about getting a certain pet species or color. I dream about Maraquan Cybunnies and pirate Poogles all the time. But y'all Neopians aren't getting the point. Just because it's Poogle Day and you want a Poogle doesn't mean you should cast aside your precious, loving pets as if they're old and broken toys. Because they're not. Pets aren't just for Christmas or spring or whatever. They're for life. And your pet loves you and never wants to leave you. So basically you're throwing your loving, trusting, sweet pet into the pound so you can have the chance to create a Poogle, or something like that. That's not okay, people! If you're really that pumped about Poogles, make a side account! Or get a morphing potion! Your pet loves you very much, and you should be able to say the same. I mean, it's great to have a desert Cybunny. They're wonderful, cute pets! I certainly don't blame you, I'm CRAZY about Cybunnies. But don't go too far. There's a fine line between loving certain pets and thinking certain pets have "ranks." You may have a pretty red Aisha with a lovely, quirky personality who has been your pet for a very long time, and an unknown desert Cybunny isn't "better" than your sweet Aisha.
Now, I do understand that in the matters of "penny trading" and other pet trading, it is, I suppose, alright to give "ranks." But there's a thin line. Maybe you zapped your red Aisha Darigan and somebody else, whose dream pet is a Darigan Aisha, zapped their Cybunny desert. Maybe she puts up something on her pet's pet look up saying: "This is (name here) the desert Cybunny, who is currently up for trade! She's intelligent, beautiful, attentive, and generous! She's sweet and she's loyal, too. If you'd like her, please send a neomail to (username here) saying why you'd be a great owner to her and, if possible, what pet you'd trade for her. I'd really like a Darigan Aisha, so if you could offer that and a loving family, you can automatically have her!" That I am fine with. The user not only describes the pet's personality as well as her color, but she also says that she doesn't just want a Darigan Aisha, but she wants her pet going to a loving owner as well. That way, everybody's happy! Here's another example: "This is (name here) the desert Cybunny. First Darigan Aisha=auto!"
This seems to me a cold offer. Clearly the user does not care much about the pet. The description here is similar to Trading Post wish lists. In other words, this user is offering her pet like an item. Not so great. :( Here's another example: "Desert Cybunny WHAT IT'S WORTH!!!"
Ouch. These words disturb me. Not only is this user clearly giving an item value to this poor Cybunny, but she calls her an "it". Disturbing, right? Okay, so let's say that you see the first example offer and respond with a neomail. You say you will give her a loving home and trade her a Darigan Aisha. That's great, and good for you! You've got your dream pet and so does the other person. But what if you said: "Darigan Aisha, what you asked for, initiate trade please!"
That is cold and mean. Do you see what I mean by the fine line? Another thing I wanted to speak about was the meaning of the "value" of a pet. I believe that the value of a pet shouldn't just be because of color or species. What about the stunning personality you've created for them, what about their riveting life story? What about their friendliness and loyalty? What about their intelligence? How about their stunning art? Yes, though pet value isn't something I encourage, the real value of your pet really has to do with their character. But still, a value like that is a value you should treasure yourself and keep your own treasure. Who would want to part with a pet who has an amazing story or personality? Nobody. So why decide that your green Acara isn't "worth" anything and throw it in the pound when you could be making a personality for them, a life for them? I don't know. Pets are priceless. So don't advertise them like items! But some people, I guess, need some pointers on how to get their pet's personality started. So here are a few tips!
1. Submit a story! That's right, a story about your pet in the Neopian Times! Looking for starters? Try thinking of three or more things to describe your pets personality. For example: quirky, friendly, generous, fickle. Notice how one is a bad thing and the other three are good? That's a way to start. And here's a story forming in my head about the character those words were describing. Do you see it? Princess Vastorina was extremely generous, but she had trouble following through her plans. When she decided to move to Faerieland so she could help out the faeries, she should have known her fickle ways would kick in. Vastorina ends up stranded far from Faerieland when she decides to use her last coins on a carriage to the Haunted Woods, where she wants to help the people in Neovia, but then she leaps off on the way to see if anyone lives in a ramshackle old cottage somewhere north of Faerieland and ends up in lots of trouble. See? It's easy once you get started!
2. Artwork is a great way to get to know your pet. Try adding something that puts character into your pet--a scar on the paw, or oddly colored eyes, or paws that are differently colored than the rest of the body. You may just come up with a story behind that difference!
3. A poem about your pet's life may suffice if you're a good poet. Be free and loose and read your poem aloud afterward to see if the lines work.
Those are three reasons, and I hope you find them useful! I suppose this whole article leads up to one thing, however. Pets are not items and do not have value like items. They have a precious value of their own that you can unlock for yourself and keep for yourself. Pets are not like clothing or plushies or food, and I think Neopia has to learn this. Thanks for reading!