Riding the Waves: A Quick Guide to the Neopian Pound
Close your eyes and think of the most desolate place in Neopia, the place where only the most unfortunate pets are forced to venture. While some stay for only a matter of seconds, others are bound into this dark oblivion for years, only hoping for the hero of their dreams to come and save them. Every Neopet has dreamt of this place, not after a sweet lullaby, but instead in a nightmare that leaves them shaking and fighting tears. No, I'm not talking about Dr. Sloth's lair. I'm talking about the Neopian Pound.
The Pound can be an extremely difficult place to travel. Only the strongest of Neopians can brave the Pound on a regular basis - others are instantly affected by the waves of depressed, lonesome pets whose eyes hold only the slightest trace of hope. Regardless of these mixed reactions, most Neopians will find themselves visiting the Neopian Pound at least once during their time spent in Neopia. It's an overwhelming place to visit and it always will be. That's where I come in. I am Moldier, a Neopian who has travelled through the Neopian Pound countless times and somehow, I'm still doing fine. I'm here to make your trip a little easier with a few pointers.
Bring some spare Neopoints
There is nothing worse than finding the pet of your dreams in the Neopian Pound and realizing that you're twenty Neopoints short of their adoption cost. This isn't Neopian Fresh Foods - the Pink Uni won't accept any bargaining. After all, these are pets you're looking at, not Edible Smelly Gym Socks. I'd recommend carrying at least five to ten thousand Neopoints in your backpack to ensure that you won't have to risk losing that dashing Royalboy Lupe to another Neopian as you sprint to the Bank. If you can't afford to carry large amounts of Neopoints with you, don't fret, you can still visit the Pound; just keep in mind that you might not be able to afford the adoption price that the Pink Uni will request of you.
Enter with an idea of the pet that you'd like to adopt
I would not recommend entering the Pound without at least the slightest idea of the Neopet that you'd like to bring home with you. You will be approached by hundreds, maybe thousands of pets that will try to convince you that they are the right pet for you. Don't allow yourself to be easily convinced - some of these pets have become excellent actors and actresses during their stay at the Pound and won't be the angels that you think they are once you return to your Neohome. Only you know what pet you want to bring home; make note of that before entering the Neopian Pound.
Run, don't walk
Don't waste time lingering before each wave of pets that approaches you. Not only will this tempt you to bring home a pet that might not fit into your family well, but it might also prevent you from bringing home the pet of your dreams. If you sit in a nearby bench and consider bringing home the lovely Maractite Usul that hopped up to you a few minutes ago, by the time you decide to bring her home, another Neopian might have already signed her adoption papers with the Pink Uni at the front desk. Although it might seem like you have all of the time in Neopia to spend here, this is usually not the case. Think of the Neopian Pound as the Poogle Races in Faerieland and move a little faster. Become the Poogle.
Every Neopet has a story; the stories of those in the Neopian Pound are most likely much darker than those of your own pets. Many of the Neopets that you will come across were abandoned by unusually cruel Neopians who gave them some hideous names. As difficult as it might be, try your best to avoid judging these Neopets by their names and instead consider their personalities and skills. If the only thing holding you back from adopting a Neopet is its name, take a leap of faith and sign the papers. Nicknames are always a possibility and you might be that Neopet's only chance of adoption. A name doesn't make a pet and unless you're looking to trade (which I certainly hope is not the case as this pet has likely already been through enough trauma in his or her life), the pet's name will not affect you in the slightest. Neopets have no say over their names; keep this in mind when getting to know them.
Know that you can't bring home every Neopet
Being approached by mass amounts of Neopets begging for a home can change a Neopian. If this is your first visit to the Neopian Pound, you will more than likely want to adopt every poorly named, cruelly painted, terribly unskilled Neopet that you meet. Unfortunately, you are but one Neopian and you can only travel with four or five pets. When you enter the Pound, know that you won't be able to help each Neopet that you meet. However, by bringing home one pet, you will change a life forever and provide new hope for all of that pet's friends. Encourage your Neofriends to visit the Pound and to bring home the pet of their dreams; perhaps they will go on to encourage their Neofriends to do the same and so on, eventually giving every disowned Neopet the loving home that they deserve.
There you have it: a quick, relatively simple, five-step guide to braving the Neopian Pound. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate such a sad, lonely place; however, I hope that this guide will prepare you for your own visit. I would recommend carrying a copy of this issue of the Neopian Times along with you to your visit, just to ensure that your trip runs smoothly. Have a nice day, and happy Pound Surfing!