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Pet Spotlight

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- Today's Pet Spotlight -

Pet Name: Werol
Owner: Katani_Petitedra
Breed: Zafara

About Werol:

A warm breeze ruffles your hair as you walk down the street of Neopia Central towards the Pet Spotlight building.

Sidling through the doors, you find an empty seat in the audience and sit down. A murmur runs through the crowd as the curtains open.

A blonde girl peeks nervously around the edge of the curtain, then sidles onto the stage.

'Greetings, Neopians!' she says. 'I am Katani_Petitedra, and today you will be learning about Werol, my Zafara!'

The crowd applauds. Katani looks around nervously, and then says in a loud stage whisper, 'Now let me warn you, he's a little odd, so don't be afraid . . .'

Her voice is drowned out by a sudden pounding of drums from offstage as a yellow Zafara swings over the stage on a vine, yelling, 'NEVER FEAR, WEROL IS HERE! YEEEEEEHAAAAAA!!' Instead of dropping off the vine in the center of the stage, however, he overshoots and goes flying offstage. The sound of breaking glass and equipment is heard.

After a few moments, Werol pokes his head around the curtain with a silly grin plastered all over his face.

'I'm okay!' He says, and swaggers over next to Katani, who rolls her eyes and leaves.

Werol peers around the audience with big blue eyes and then says 'So I guess you wanna know about me, huh?'

There is a rippling effect as the whole audience nods as one. The Zafara grins cheerfully.

'Good! Well, before I start my story, you should first know a little bit about me. In appearance, I'm no different than any other yellow Zafara. Maybe a few more spots than usual, but that's it. No, what's different about me is in here.' Werol taps a paw against his chest. 'The thing that's unique about me is that I can make people laugh. Katani says that I could make even that old grump Dr. Sloth smile if I really tried.'

Here Werol pauses and eyes the audience. 'I know what you're thinking! You're thinking, 'Well, that's not so special. Lots of people can make others laugh. And that's true. But I'm different. I cheered my little brother Notaieo up when he had the flu, and I made Katani smile when she had a bad day at school. And I also saved someone's life.'

Now another murmur runs through the crowd. People are saying, 'What? How could *laughter* save someone's life?'

Werol waits for the chatter to subside before continuing. He clears his throat. 'I know you are all wondering exactly how I did this. I will start from the beginning.'

Violin music starts to play, but Werol frowns and waves a paw, signaling the players to stop. A few members of the audience chuckle appreciatively.

'It all started when I was abandoned at the pound. I don't remember anything about my original owner, only that he or she eventually grew tired of me and dumped me at that miserable place. I was distraught.

Neither the pink Uni or Dr. Death (who in reality is very nice) could do anything to comfort me, and I grew worse and worse in my state of depression.

I wouldn't eat, and I began to grow weak. Finally, on a sunny fall morning, the door to the pound opened and a blonde-haired girl walked in.

'I'd like to adopt a pet,' she said to the pink Uni.

'Of course!' said the Uni cheerfully, and she led the girl into the area where all the abandoned Neopets were kept. The Uni started to suggest a green Wocky that was nearby, but the girl had already seen me.

'How much is this Zafara?' she said. Before I knew it, the girl had adopted me and was taking me to her home. *My* home.

The girl's name was Katani_Petitedra, and I knew right away that she would never, ever mistreat or abandon me.

We arrived at a small, cozy little house. Katani smiled at me. 'We're home, Werol.' We went inside, and I immediately liked the place.

'Maerdin!' Katani called. 'Come meet your new brother!'

Down near the end of the hallway, a door opened and a surly-looking green Eyrie stalked out.

Well, I admit I felt a little apprehensive. I had always been a little afraid of large Neopets, and this one looked like a bully.

The Eyrie, Maerdin, prowled down the hallway towards us, then looked me up and down.

'What's so special about *him*?' she spat.

'Maerdin!' cried Katani, horrified.

'Hmph.' said Maerdin, and, ignoring her horror-struck owner, she turned and skulked back towards her room. 'I just hope you don't expect me to share *my* things with him.'

The door slammed shut loudly.

Though I was disheartened, I was not about to let this ruin my new life. I tugged on Katani's sleeve.

'What's the matter with her?' I asked.

Katani looked down and smiled sadly. 'Her old owner abused her, and even though we love each other, she has never really trusted me. Or anyone else, for that matter.' she added after a moment's pause.

Over the next few months, Katani and I grew very attached to each other. Yet Maerdin continued to hate me. She would go out of her way to tease or bully me, and even though Katani warned her to stop, she ignored it.

Though I hated the treatment she was giving me, I could not help but feel a deep sympathy for her. It wasn't her fault she was like this; not after what she went through. The only thing that had kept me alive during the long months at the pound were the cheerfulness and optimism that I'd had for all my life. I could only imagine the pain Maerdin must have gone through to become this bitter, hating creature.

Spring blossomed into summer, and Katani would take us to do all kinds of fun things; long days on the sunny beaches of Mystery Island, tours of the pyramids in the Lost Desert, and sometimes she'd even bring us to Faerie Land.

One day, however, we decided to stay home and spend the day lounging in the yard. That's when the accident happened.

Katani and I were sitting on the lawn and playing with some NeoQuest action figures she had bought for us earlier.

Maerdin was on the opposite side of the yard as us, playing with a beach ball she had unearthed from somewhere in the garage.

After awhile she became a little too enthusiastic and batted it hard, sending it bouncing across the road. She scampered into the street after it.

We never saw the car coming.

There was a screech of tires and a terrified squawk from Maerdin as the car hit. Katani screamed. The driver of the car got out, cussed at us, and then drove away.

Katani immediately ran to Maerdin's side, and screamed at me to call an ambulance. Dashing inside as fast as I could, I ran into the kitchen to where the phone was.

Nearly breaking the phone, I fumbled in panic to dial the number. As soon as I heard the receptionist answer the phone, I started spluttering out the story. I was talking so fast that it probably only came out a gibberish, but she seemed to get the picture and soon a squad of doctor Chias were loading Maerdin into the ambulance.

She was taken into the emergency room, but Katani and I weren't allowed to see her until the next day. It was the longest night of my life. Katani and I held each other and cried. Finally Katani fell asleep, but I couldn't.

How could this happen? I thought numbly, hardly noticing the uncomfortable chair I was sitting in, or the snores of the other pets and owners in the waiting room. Maerdin didn't deserve this, not after what she went through.

Finally morning came, and the Gelert doctor came out and told me that Maerdin wanted to see me. I was scared; what if I cried in front of her? What if I panicked?

Katani nudged me forward, and I slowly walked into the room.

Maerdin was there, lying on a clean linen bed. She looked so weak . . . I wasn't sure that I would be able to stand it. I went and sat next to her, taking her paw in mine. We sat there like that for a good quarter of an hour, in complete silence.

Finally she whispered, 'Werol? Am I going to die?'

I didn't know what to say to that. To be completely honest, I didn't think there was much of a chance for her. I felt tears forming in my eyes at the desperateness of her voice, but I blinked them back.

'What? Die?' I said, 'Never! Why, I'll bet that in a few weeks you'll be back home with us, and everything will be just like it was before.'

For the first time ever since I had come to live with her and Katani, I saw a smile twitch at the edges of her beak. It was a small smile, but a smile nonetheless.

For the next three hours I sat with her, telling stories and jokes, and talking about all the fun things we would do when she got out of the hospital.

After awhile she almost seemed to forget about her injury; she laughed at my stories and told some of her own. Finally the Gelert doctor came in and told me that I had to leave. Maerdin and I hugged each other and I left the room.

Katani, who had been listening to us, gave me a big hug and told me that I had done a good job.

For the next week Maerdin was still in the hospital. Things didn't look very good for her at all. But then, on the eighth day, she began to make a recovery.

She was able to sit up in bed and have more visitors. She even managed to get out of bed for a short time. Katani and I were relieved. She was going to live after all.

When Maerdin was finally able to come home, the Gelert doctor gave me a bouquet of flowers. When I asked him why, he told me it was because I was the one who had truly saved her life. Well, I was completely bewildered at this.

He knelt down and took my paws in his as he explained.

'Werol,' he said, 'Maerdin was hurt. Badly. There was almost no chance that she would have lived. She was already depressed, and she would probably have just given in to death if it were not for you. You gave her a reason to live, Werol. You showed her that, despite the anger she had shown towards you, that you still loved her. That's why she survived, Werol. Because she knew that someone cared about her.'

We threw a huge party for Maerdin when we got back; even all our cousins from Katani's other accounts came to welcome her back. Maerdin was no longer the bitter, hating Eyrie she was before, because now she knew that she was loved. That she had a family.

Even now, Maerdin and I still bicker and tease each other, but we do it as siblings, not as enemies.'

Here Werol stops and resumes his silly grin. 'So remember kiddies, even a silly Zafara like me can make a difference!' He turns and starts to walk away, but trips over his tail.

'I meant to do that!' he shouts, jumping up, and then strides off the stage.

Katani comes back on, and you see a glittering tear forming in the corner of her eye, but she brushes it away before it can fall.

'Thank you everyone, for taking the time to stop by and listen to Werol's story. But before you leave, here is the moral: 'Laughter is the best medicine.'

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