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Epiphanies: Connecting to Your Pet


by 7splat52

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My pets might as well live in the Neolodge.

And I know that this is the case for most of us. We don't hand-feed our pets. We know of some sort of convenient Pet Page where we can click links to do our dailies. We don't go to the Map of Neopia and click each individual land and go do each daily, do we?

We don't click toys in our inventory and play with our pets. At best, we go for a few rounds of Hide and Seek so we can have the satisfaction of having happy pets.

Why? It's just easier. It's just easier than buying one of our little darlings a Cybunny plushie from the toy shop in Neopia Central rather than looking for a deal on the Shop Wizard. But you need to really connect with your pets. Maybe you don't care. But if you do, ask yourself what you'd do for your Neopet. When is the last time that you bought your pet a concert ticket and saw their favorite band with them? Probably not since you were a bubbly small child, new to the exciting world of Neopets.

How are you EVER going to be able to really care for your pet if you're just stuffing them in the Neolodge all month? I know you might not have the time to feed them every day, but just pull your pets out of the Neolodge for five minutes. Pull five thousand Neopoints from the bank, and follow me. I'm going to help you build a relationship with your pet.

1. Exploring

I remember when I was younger and, every now and then, I'd grab some Neopoints and go to the Deserted Fairground. I'd play games. I'd go to Terror Mountain and buy a scratchcard, or do a Snow Faerie Quest, or pop into the Shop of Mystery.

When I first realized the lack of relationship I had with my pets, I decided it was time to find the little kid I used to be. It's the simple things that let you actually connect with your pets and appreciate them. It's not the shiny coat of paint, and that's what it used to be for me. So spend ten minutes with each pet. Or even five. Just spend some time exploring. See a concert. Buy a slushie. I, personally, like to go to the Hidden Tower. (If you haven't found it yet, go look for it. It'll be another bonding experience for you and your pet! :P) Read the Neopian Times. Maybe even treat yourself to a dessert from Kelp. (For penny-pinchers like me, a dessert is a great alternative to a whole meal at Kelp.) Talk to your pet.

No, seriously. Pretend to talk to them, if you don't want to be caught having a conversation with your computer screen. Be like that little toddler whispering secrets to her teddy bear. It took me a while to figure out that pets should be treated like companions, not cute little stuffed animal things.

2. Personality

This will really help you to see your pet more like another person. Come up with a personality. If you're having trouble, grab some paper and a pen. Write down character traits in a column (traits like studious, diligent, generous, etc.) Randomly circle five. And now you have the framework of your pet's personality. My oldest pet, Bella, has some of my character traits. So if you can't think of anything, pick a few of your traits and use those to create a personality for your pet. Roleplay your pet. Come up with a story for him or her.

3. Your Pet's Pet Lookup

Once you have a personality for your pet, artwork or stories can help bring them to life. If you don't like to draw or write, get some custom artwork or an adoptable, or briefly describe your pet on their Lookup. Nothing fancy. Just try to come up with a quick paragraph or sketch for your pet's lookup, and maybe get a layout, too. If you are good at writing or drawing, enter the Beauty Contest, or the Pet Spotlight. Enter the Customisation Spotlight. If you don't think you can do any of these, just read your pet some Booktastic Books or work on a Gourmet Club trophy. When you put this kind of time into showing how much you love your pet, you really will find yourself caring genuinely, and more deeply, for him or her.

4. Painting Your Pet

Yes, I KNOW I've been saying the paint doesn't matter. But when you spend the time saving up to get your dream pet, that pet has a story behind him or her. For example, whenever I look at my Poogle, I remember the little kid desperate for a Faerie Poogle. I remember creating a pet that I already loved so much. But then I worked SO hard to morph her. And so, every time I look at her, I remember that. There's a memory behind my pet, and that's why she's special. Or you could adopt a pet from the Pound. I adopted several of my pets from the Pound, and it's really special when you care so much about a pet you see in the Pound that you decide to give them a new home. Finally, you could trade for or adopt a pet from another user. Again, the effort you put into applying for/trading for this pet puts a memory and a story behind him or her.

Conclusion

And thus ends my rant. :) I really hope I've helped you connect with your pet. I hate to see people look at, say, a faerie pet and go, "Is it UFA?" Pets are people, too. Why do people say, "I love my pet to much to ever trade him... unless a better pet comes along down the line." Why doesn't anyone ever adopt a pet just because they've fallen in love with that basic Uni? Just because they know there's a sweet little Neopet, and all he or she wants is some love?

Sometimes the answers are only too simple.

 
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