7 Tips for Helping Your Lab Ray Pet
Your Faerie Aisha looks up at you, wide-eyed and innocent. She's chattering excitedly about the Poogle Race you're going to see later, and idly wondering why you went to such a dark and foreboding building. "You want me to go WHERE?" She asks, eyeing a white-haired, muttering Scorchio. You coerce her forward a little bit onto a large platform, and she starts to ask what all of the mysterious, barely-held-together equipment is for ...
and then ... ZAP!
She turns into a Mutant Moehog. The next day, she mysteriously and inexplicably becomes a boy. The day after that his level is reduced to one!
It can be rough on your pet to be subject to the whims of the Lab Ray Scientist, so here are some tips to get each other through the changes and tough times!
While it can be tempting to just shove them into the laboratory, hope for the best, and drag away whatever results, that can be pretty traumatic for a Neopet! Ask them whether or not they mind being zapped. Some pets don't! Others might need a bit of coercing, like a trip to the Slushie Shop in Happy Valley afterwards. The Lab Ray Scientist isn't the most welcoming of Scorchios (something about those dazed, swirling eyes ...), so walk in with them and mention that the equipment is perfectly sterile and safe (you think) and nothing too terribly bad will happen (you hope).
Keep in mind that some changes are physically difficult, too! My Lab Ray Pet, Nethalarion, went from an Ixi to a Grarrl. He kept knocking his head on doorways and tripping over his new feet (which were no longer dainty hooves, but large Grarrl claws!). We visited the Tyrannian Plateau and he spoke with some of the Grarrls there, which made him more comfortable in his new appearance. Constant species changes can make a Neopet feel self-conscious, so make sure you look out for him or her. Explain that no matter if they're a Royal Kougra or a Mutant Cybunny, you'll love them just the same.
Make sure you have an end point in mind, whether it's training statistics or a certain species and color. That way you have something to look forward to, and your Neopet can heave a sigh of relief when they emerge as an intended Chocolate Chia. Whenever they're feeling down about their appearance or are having second thoughts, remind them that it's for a good cause.
If you do decide to retire your Neopet from the horrors -- I mean, wonders, of the Lab Ray, try adopting homeless Neopets and zapping them to more popular appearances before returning them. It could raise their chances of a permanent home, especially with younger Neopians who haven't had the time to save for paint brushes and potions. (How to console your suddenly adopted, zapped, and then re-abandoned pet is another process entirely ... good luck!)
Keep a Lab Ray Log! These can be a fun way to track changes, and you can laugh nostalgically about the two weeks your Neopet was stuck as a Zombie Shoyru. You can keep it privately to spare your Neopet some embarrassment over the less glamorous changes, or slap it on their Petpage for the world to marvel at. Jellyneo has an automatic Lab Ray Logger, and Sunnyneo has a Petpage template for it as well! I like to keep Nethalarion's on his Petpage so I can easily edit and view it, and we can both see how far he's come.
Another thing that might aid a Neopet in need is an understanding companion. What I'm talking about is The Petpet Laboratory! There's a lot you can do to empathize with your constantly confused Neopet, but until they make a Neopet Owner Lab Ray, you'll never really know what it feels like. If your Neopet is up for it, try sending their little buddy to get zapped as well. They won't feel so isolated, and when they both come back mutated and level one, can console each other. Although, cradling a smoking pile of soot might be more upsetting than comforting to your Neopet, so keep that in mind.
Make the Lab Ray fun! For instance, the Lab Ray should never be a punishment. If your Lupe ate your Purple Chia Slippers, the result should not be getting zapped. (The result, instead, is that next time you probably shouldn't leave expensive Chia-shaped slippers out where a Lupe can get them! Or, you know, just ask your Neopet to please not eat your slippers.) And don't just neglect your Neopet's other needs and then toss them to science and madness -- keep up with their other goals and dreams, whether it's a visit to the Tyrannian Concert Hall or a cozy stay in the Neolodge. The Lab Ray should be a fun encounter, not a dreaded one.
Specifically, managing them! It's pretty rare to get a specific species and color -- at least the one you have in mind -- from the Lab Ray. There are so many possibilities that the odds are really against you. If you desperately want a Darigan Krawk, you're probably better off seeking other methods of achieving that goal. Don't endlessly zap your Neopet and discourage them when you don't get exactly what you want. It's okay to have a specific result in mind, but it might be better just to get those Battledome stats high and save up for a Transmogrification Potion in the meantime! Or keep some mystery to it, and stop zapping when you happen to reach a color and species you both like.
Lastly, always remember that your Neopet has feelings, too. If he or she looks a little silly in their new form, don't tease or poke fun. Take it as a learning experience for the both of you -- a way to discover different aspects of Neopets you never would've before.
Keep these tips in mind, take it one day at a time, and the Lab Ray can be an exciting experience for owner and Neopet alike. And, if all else fails, there's always support groups and Morphing Potions. Happy zapping!