Bonding with a Neopet from the Pound
If you're anything like me, you've gone to the Pound and browsed guiltily through the abandoned pets, wishing you could adopt each one and give them all the love and plushies that you bestow upon your own Neopets. After considering important factors like your budget, the size of your Neohome, and your other Neopets' needs, you may consider adding a Pound pet to your Neofamily. Before you take the leap and bring one of those cuties home, though, you should know that adoption poses some unique challenges. It can be more difficult to forge a bond with an older pet, especially one who may have been poorly treated by their previous owner.
I recently added a second pet to my Neofamily. Oumius is the first Neopet that I have ever adopted from the Pound, and I expected him to be as excited to be my pet as I was to be his owner. I was certainly surprised when he sulked off to his own corner of the house, avoiding any contact with his new brother and me. At first, I took his disinterest personally, but I soon came to realize that I needed to approach my relationship with Ouimus differently than I would if I had been his human from birth. It has taken some effort from both of us, but I have developed a strong friendship with my adopted pet. Here I have put together some tips that I hope will help other adopters.
1. Give your new Neopet some space.
I understand that you will be tempted to get to know your new pet as quickly as possible, quizzing them about their favorite petpets and preferred color schemes for their new bedroom. Resist the urge to do this! It will take time for your Neopet to adjust to life outside the Pound and to find their place in your Neofamily dynamic. Give them a safe, cozy and private space, such as a bedroom, so they can spend some time alone when they need a break from family life. Do not worry if your pet wants to be alone more often than they want to be with you. You are not failing if you two do not become best friends immediately, and your pet will appreciate a little independence.
2. Make them feel safe and comfortable.
If your pet spent any time in the Pound, chances are they have not been taken care of properly in the past. Your pet will wonder why they were abandoned and worry that it might happen again. Naturally, it will be difficult to gain your Neopet's trust. Prove your trustworthiness by making them feel secure in your home. This can be accomplished in numerous ways, but for Oumi and me, all it took was a toy. The first time he relaxed around me was after he discovered his favorite plushie. Though my other Neopet, Palaca, offered to share all of his playthings, Oumius was only interested in an old Discarded Tuskaninny Plushie. Like a baby blanket, the raggedy toy comforts him. Oumi wouldn't admit it, but he still snuggles with Tuskie every night as he falls asleep.
3. Find a mutual interest.
For a while, Oumius avoided speaking to me more often than he needed to. Our conversations were mostly one-sided until I asked him if he was interested in the Battledome. He suddenly had plenty to say, happily gabbing about his favorite fighters and lecturing me on the importance of Neggs. I knew that this would be the key to befriending my pet. Since Palaca is more interested in books than battling, Oumi and I are both beginners, and we are learning to battle as a team. The quickest way to bond with a new friend is to find something you're both passionate about. Your pet may be interested in stamp collecting, silly hats, or eating more jelly than any Neopet in history, but whatever their hobby is, find a way to enjoy it together.
4. Make sure they get to know their siblings.
Things were tense at home for some time after Oumius arrived. It was difficult for Palaca to adjust to having another Neopet in the house, especially one who was so different from himself. He was offended when Oumius declined to proofread his latest poem, which was several hundred pages long and, in some sections, written in Pig Latin. Oumius, meanwhile, was annoyed by Palaca's constant shedding. The two of them had nothing in common, except that they were both owned by me. Palaca and Oumi would never have been friends (or even met) if it hadn't adopted Oumius, so I felt obligated to help them learn to like each other.
It took some time, but I finally found an activity that the two of them could both tolerate: Poogle racing. Oumius appreciates the swift athleticism of the Poogles while Palaca enjoys calculating each competitor's odds of winning. Though they still bicker, the two brothers now enjoy spending time together at the race track. Find some common ground between your pets and encourage them to get to know each other. This is crucial if you want your Neohome to remain a peaceful and happy place.
5. Spoil them!
If all else fails, you could always shower your Neo with gifts and affection. I'm not saying you can buy their friendship, but wouldn't *you* like someone who bought you a Chocolate Coated Pretzel a little more than someone who didn't? Take your pet to the Bazaar to pick out a new outfit, or treat them to a fancy dinner at Kelp. Though it may seem shallow, spoiling your pet a bit will prove that you're committed to earning their friendship. (Also, just a reminder: Chocolate. Coated. Pretzel. Seriously, it can't fail!)
It hasn't been long since I met Oumius, but our relationship has come a long way since I first led him out of his dank cage at the Pound. He no longer fears being mistreated or sent back to the Pound because I earned his trust. Despite our uncomfortable beginnings, Oumi and I have been able to forge a strong bond. I am sure that with enough patience, your adopted Neopet can become one of your very best friends. You can't build a perfect friendship overnight, but with dedication, love and trust, any Pound pet can become a full-fledged member of your family.