A Petpet In The Pound: Part One
I watched the activities from my cage with interest. Today was special. The pound was renovating, and instead of individual cages, we would get cage-mates. I flicked my main and snorted. I wish they would get on with it already; I wanted to talk to and meet my new friend.
At least, I assumed we would be friends. I usually made friends quickly. I was a female blue Uni, common yet still beautiful. My name is Reroyo195, but I always introduced myself as just Reroyo.
The pound staff was hectic, trying to serve customers and still get ready for the renovation. I watched as Dr. Death filled out abandonment forms, and Rosie the pink Uni tried to show off the pets to potential owners and move cages at the same time.
I huffed and settled down to watch the people. People-watching was my favorite activity in the pound. I loved to imagine what my life would be like if I went home with this person, or that person.
I saw an adult Male Neopian walk into the pound. He had a nicely trimmed beard and was wearing designer sunglasses. I noted his shiny watch and expensive shoes and realized he was rich. If I went home with him, I thought, I would be painted an expensive color, then probably traded for a better-named pet. I flicked my wings and tried to imagine what exciting color he would paint me. Halloween? Maraquan?
The man walked off in a different direction, and I turned my attention upon a new person. This one was a young girl, maybe six or seven. She had a dress on and a pink bow in her hair. If I went home with her, I'd be covered in bows and frilly pink things. I snorted; definitely not the home for me. I hated frilly pink things.
I had caught the girl's attention, though, so I stood up and smiled at her. "Pretty pony," she cooed, and reached in her pocket to pull out an apple. She held it out in her hand between the bars of my cage, and I gently picked it up. Even though I was ravenously hungry, I ate it slowly to be polite.
I thought she would adopt me, but then she got distracted by a Usul and scurried off. I licked my lips and finished the last of my apple before lying back down. I didn't really want to be adopted by a little girl anyway.
I saw the man again, leading a Faerie Aisha. I whistled in appreciation; that was a lucky find.
A teenage boy walked in then, leading a crying Red Zafara. I frowned and turned around in my cage, preferring to stare at the wall instead of watch the scene outside unfold. I had seen it many times before.
I didn't remember my old owner. I barely remember the day I was abandoned. I did cry, though. I remember that...
I shook the unhappy memory from my thoughts. Believe or not, I liked the pound. I mean, sure, I wanted to be adopted by the right owner as soon as possible, but in the mean time, I was not unhappy. I got to see so many interesting people and pets here. I wished that I had more of a chance to talk to the other pets in the pound, but that was why I was so excited for the renovation.
I dozed off for a while, but then a voice woke me.
"Excuse me? Miss?" someone called. I lifted my head towards the sound of the voice. One of the Pound workers, a female Blue Aisha, was at her cage.
"Yes?" I replied.
"I'm here to move you to your new cage. If you would please come with me, I'll show it to you."
I stood up as she opened the cage. She held a leash at her side, ready to use it if I decided to bolt for the door. It wouldn't be the first time a pet tried to make a run for it. But I just kept on walking, and she seemed grateful that I hadn't caused her any trouble.
She led me to a cage larger than my last; big enough for two pets. There were two thin mattresses with two thin blankets, but no other occupant. I turned to the Aisha expectantly.
"Your new cage-mate will be here shortly," she promised, before locking the cage and scurrying off.
I sighed and went over to the two mattresses. I sniffed one, before walking over to the thinner of the two mattresses and laying down on it.
A half hour later, the Aisha appeared again, leading a Blue Nimmo. She smiled at me before opening the cage and motioning him inside.
"Hi," I said, standing up. "My name is Reroyo."
"Hello," he smiled shyly. "I'm Chrysanthemum."
"Chrysamnethu... Chrystansenum... that's a hard name," I said, stumbling over the letters.
He smirked at me. "Not has hard as Reroyo." Then his smirk turned into a smile. "Tell you what, let's give each other nicknames. You can call me Chris."
"Okay," I agreed. I thought my name over. "What's a good nickname for Reroyo?"
"How about Ray?" Chris asked.
"Ray," I said to myself. Then I grinned. "I like it."
I noticed the small bundle of blankets he was carrying. "What's that?" I asked.
"Oh, this is my petpet." Chris smiled and gently placed the bundle on the ground. The blankets fell open to reveal a very pretty Warf. "Her name is Mary."
Mary yipped happily and wriggled free of her blankets. She bounced over to me, smelling my hooves and wagging her tail. She barked excitedly.
"Hello, Mary," I replied, laughing. I never thought Warfs were that special; they always seemed like shapeless blobs of dough to me. But instantly I knew Mary was different. She was slightly longer than the average Warf, and her fur shone with unusual brightness.
Chris beamed. "Here, girl," he called, and Mary yipped and ran to her master. He scooped her up in his arms and cuddled her close to his face.
"To be honest, I was worried when they told me that I'd have a new cage-mate," he admitted. "I was afraid I'd get stuck with someone who didn't like petpets."
"Well, I love petpets," I reassured him. He placed Mary on the ground and sat down on his mattress. Mary ran over to me and I started to pet her.
"Ow!" I said suddenly, pulling my hoof back. I stared at it; a tiny Blechy was biting my skin. I carefully pulled it off and held it between my hooves, watching as it squirmed back and forth.
"Oh, yeah," Chris replied, grinning apologetically, "she has petpetpets."
The tiny creature triggered a memory. "I wanted to be a petpetpetologist," I said.
"Really?" Chris asked. "I've always wanted to be a chef. In any case, you don't want to study those petpetpets. They're pests, not pets. There's a larger species of petpetpet which are much more friendly."
I took one last glance at the Blechy before shoving it through the bars of the cage. It bounced off to find some new host to feast upon.
"So....," Chris looked at his hands, before asking awkwardly, "Why were you abandoned?"
"I don't remember why," I answered honestly.
"Oh," he looked almost relieved. "I don't really remember either."
"How long have you been in the pound?" I asked.
"About two weeks," he replied. Then he frowned. "It's weird how much I've forgotten. I can't remember anything about my old owner, or if I had any siblings, or if I—" He broke off suddenly. "I'm sorry. What about you? How long have you been in the pound?"
"A few months," I said with a shrug. He looked aghast. "It's not that bad," I reassured him. "There's always something interesting. The worst part is the hunger, but people come in with food sometimes."
I went back to petting Mary and we continued talking about our interests; it turned out we both loved collecting cards and playing Key Quest. We stayed up late, overjoyed to have found a friend in each other. Finally, we each fell asleep on our beds, Mary snuggling close to Chris.
I discovered the next week that, if you have a petpet in your cage, people were more inclined to give you food. Chris and I got many tidbits as people stopped to "ooh" and "aww" over Mary. I was grateful for the extra food, but I gave most of it to Mary; the poor petpet never seemed to get enough food. She was always hungry.
Even though she was Chris's petpet, I loved Mary. In one short week she improved my life greatly. We took turns holding her on our laps and playing with her, and I'm embarrassed to say that, when she was wagging her tail and gazing adoringly at Chris, I was jealous.
I watched the pound staff, especially Rosie run frantically although the week, even though the renovation was done. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I called to Rosie when she went by our cage for the fifth time that day.
"Rosie, what's going on?" I asked, catching her attention. Rosie skidded to a stop, a bundle of papers balancing precariously in her arms.
She sighed and leaned against the wall. I noticed that there were circles underneath her eyes.
"It's just... well, do you know why we decided to put two Neopets in one cage?"
I shook my head; I didn't know, although I had assumed it was so that we'd all have someone to talk to.
"It's because more pets are being pounded now than ever before, but the adoption rate has not gone up at all." Rosie pushed her hair away from her eyes. "We didn't have enough room for them all. At least with two pets in each cage, we have a bit more space."
I thought about it for a bit, before deciding to ask, "Well, what are you going to do when you finally do run out of room?"
Rosie sighed again. "I don't know. We can't just turn pets away, nor can we set them loose."
A Neopian waved at Rosie then, trying to get her attention so that he could abandon a pet. "I've got to go. Bye."
"Bye, Rosie," I said, but she was already talking to the man.
Chris came over to stand by me, and Mary followed close behind him. "What they really need is some sort of Adopt-A-Pet day," he mused.
I shook my head. "It wouldn't work. How would it be any different than a regular day at the pound, besides the banners and such? Unless they had reduced adoption fees or something, but I don't think that I'd want to be adopted by someone just because my adoption fee was less."
"I guess you're right," he said, but his eyes still followed Rosie and I could tell he wasn't done thinking.
To be continued...