Dr_Death On Life
Author's Note: Names have been changed or left out in order to protect
the history of the pets and/or Owners mentioned in Dr_Death's narrative. Other
than that, the story is reported exactly as Dr_Death himself wrote it originally.
Just once, every Neopian should visit the Pound. Even
if you never intend to adopt a new pet into your family, you should still make
the trip. Let Merideth (commonly known as "The Adopt Uni"), take you into the
back to see all the pets that have been abandoned. Look into their sad faces
and remind yourself how lucky your pets are that you care for them.
Think about how many so-called owners carelessly
stop by the Pound and drop off pets that they created. Their reasons are almost
always one of three things; "I can't afford to feed it anymore", "I just wanted
it so I could get an avatar", or, my personal favorite: "I don't like its name
anymore". I see it every day and every night. I listen to those owners say the
words that used to make me cringe, but now I barely bat an eye as I take down
their information and escort the unfortunate abandoned pet back to the holding
areas. How could I possibly stand it every day, you ask? Who am I?
I'm Dr_Death. And I was once one of the very
pets that I now care for.
It wasn't very long after Owners first began
creating Neopets that I found myself in what I assumed was an ideal home. I
had an Owner who fed me and seemed to care for me. He'd given me the name Dr_Death
as some sort of inside joke with one of his Neofriends, but I didn't particularly
mind. It was fun to introduce myself to other pets and see their surprised looks
when I told them my name. Everyone assumed that I would be mean with a name
like that, but I never was.
I loved to read, and eagerly awaited every new
book my Owner would bring me. I played with Techo Toys and Lupe Plushies. I
had all the Omelette I could eat, though I didn't actually know where my owner
was getting it. I found out later that ignorance of that sort can actually be
bliss. Had I known where my main food supply was coming from, I don't think
I would have eaten it quite so eagerly.
Then, one day, I was shocked to discover that
the other Techo down the street who I'd been playing with since I was created
was suddenly gone. His Owner now had a Lupe. No matter who I asked, no one would
tell me what had happened to my friend. All the other pets said that I should
just forget about him, but I couldn't. I had to know what had happened to him.
Then one day, my Owner finally gave in.
"He was taken to the Pound, Dr_Death," my Owner
I didn't understand. "What's a Pound?" I was
worried. "Is it going to hurt him?" Until then, the only 'pound' I had been
aware of would be the literal meaning of the word. Such as to pound one's fist
on a table. If someone was pounding their fist on my friend, then I would have
to do something to stop it, and right away.
"No, of course not," my Owner reassured me. "It's
just a place where Owners can take pets they don't… can't care for anymore."
I was still confused, and after some convincing,
my Owner agreed to take me to this Pound and let me see my friend. "If he's
still there," my Owner said. "The Pound is also a place where new Owners can
adopt the pets that others have left there, you see."
The next day, I walked along quietly beside my
Owner as we headed for the Pound. I was nervous about what we would find when
we got there, but I was excited about seeing my friend again.
On the way, we passed the Daily News area and
my Owner stopped for a moment to check out the newest happenings in Neopia.
"Hey, look!" he said excitedly. "A new species has been discovered. The Zafara…
It looks so cool…" He turned and looked at me, and I swear I saw a shadow pass
over his face for an instant. But then it was gone and I was certain that I
had imagined it ever being there.
We started walking again, but instead of talking
about the Pound, all my Owner wanted to talk about was the new species. It excited
me as well. I hoped I would get to see a Zafara soon. New species were always
amazing to me. Especially when I tried to figure out how no one in Neopia ever
seemed to have seen them before. It was as if they simply appeared out of thin
Finally we found ourselves in front of a building
that seemed rather foreboding. Unlike the other buildings in Neopia Central,
which tended to be rather whimsically shaped to indicate the wares they sold,
this building was a solid grey monolith. It had very few windows, and those
that there were seemed as if they hadn't seen a window washer since their installation.
The look of the building from the outside was enough to send a cold shiver down
my spine. And for a cold-blooded Neopet like a Techo, that isn't an easy thing
Despite my apprehension, my Owner boldly opened
the door and I walked in with him. He went up to talk to a rather frazzled looking
Uni behind the desk, while I wandered over to look at the pictures and plaques
on a wall.
"The Neopian Pound is not designed as a holding
place for Neopets to allow an Owner to move them from one home to another,"
one of the plaques said. "If you attempt to use the Pound in such a manner,
there is a chance that you will lose your pet. Due to limited containment space,
we are required to adopt pets to the first new Owner who shows interest in them
and can afford the modest adoption fee."
None of this really meant anything to me, but
it was interesting to read. I moved on to the next plaque.
"The Neopian Pound, Established 199-". It was
strange that the last number on the plaque seemed to have been scratched off.
Almost as if someone or something had grabbed the plaque in an attempt to stop
themselves from being taken somewhere. In fact, the wallpaper near that plaque
seemed to be a slightly different color than the surrounding wallpaper. I reached
up to move the plaque, and barely had enough time to focus my eyes on what appeared
to be… Claw marks? Claw marks that went deep into the wall beneath the wallpaper…
before I heard my Owner call to me.
"Dr_Death? Come on. This nice Uni is going to
take you to visit your friend."
I forgot about the strange marks on the plaque
and on the wall quickly, as I jogged over to the desk and smiled at the Uni.
She appeared sad, and that seemed strange to me, but I was too excited about
seeing my friend again to pay attention to her expression for more than a split
second. "He's still here?"
My Owner patted me on the shoulder. "Go with
the nice Uni, Dr_Death. She'll take you to him."
I grinned and followed the Uni behind the desk
and into a large hallway. The door closed behind us and I heard a lock click
into place, but I ignored that sound. I was going to see my friend.
The Uni turned to me as we walked along, and
introduced herself. "Dr_Death, my name is Merideth. If you need anything at
all, please let me know, okay?"
I just smiled at her. "Nice to meet you, Merideth.
But I don't think I'll be here long enough to need anything. I'm just gonna
visit my friend, and then I'll be going home with my Owner."
There was a stricken look on Merideth's face
and she stopped in her tracks, looking at me. "Dr_Death… This is always difficult
to explain, but…" She sighed. "I can't believe your Owner didn't even tell you…
Most Owners at least have that courtesy." She sighed and regarded me slowly
with her deep blue eyes. "Dr_Death, you won't be going home with that Owner
today. He signed the forms that officially turn you over to the Neopian Pound."
She offered me a little smile. "However, I'm sure that a new Owner will be along
to pick you up in no time."
I froze. Abandoned. I had been abandoned. But…
why? Why would my Owner abandon me to the Pound? He'd created me… Numbly, I
trailed behind Merideth as she led me to my new quarters. I felt a little better
when I discovered that I would be sharing the small room with the Techo I had
thought I was coming here to visit. But that didn't take away the sting of what
had happened to me. And I felt it anew the next day, when, as I looked out the
window of the little room I shared with my friend, I saw my Owne- my former
Owner walk past… With a newly created Zafara by his side.
Days passed into weeks, and weeks into months.
My friend, who was a Starry Techo, was adopted within the first two weeks. But
I was left alone. No one wanted a plain yellow Techo. Especially not one with
a name like mine. The name I had enjoyed introducing myself by had become a
curse. And as everyone knows, a Neopet cannot change their name once their Owner
has named them.
The only Neopet who remained in the Pound long
enough for me to get to know was Merideth. And after some weeks, we had become
rather close friends, and she no longer required me to stay within my room as
most of the other abandoned pets were required to do. I helped her care for
the abandoned pets, and over time, she taught me everything that needed to be
done to man both the Adopt and Abandon desks.
I watched Merideth, day after day, as she escorted
the new arrivals back to the rooms and introduced them to their new lives in
the Pound. And I saw that same sad look every time. It broke my heart that Merideth
had to be the one to handle the reports, the adoptions, and the abandoned pets.
After some consideration, I finally came to a decision. I wouldn't let Merideth
handle the Abandon desk anymore.
At first, she told me that it would be wrong
for me to take over all the Abandon Desk duties. "Dr_Death… I can't let you
do that," Merideth said to me quietly as we had lunch together in the exercise
yard behind the Pound one day. "If you took over the Abandon desk, it would
mean that you wouldn't have any time to put yourself in lineups anymore." She
looked at me and said, softly, "You would be giving up the chance to ever find
I nodded. "I know, Meri. But I want to do this…
It's more work than one Neopet can handle, and you know it." My voice softened,
"And I don't like how it hurts you to see the new pets coming in. You can run
the Adoption desk, and I can handle the Abandon one. You've already taught me
everything that I would need to do." I put a hand on her head and let my fingers
run through her mane. "Let me help you, Meri. Please."
She looked at me for a moment, and ate a couple
of bites of her salad. When she spoke again, she wouldn't look at me, and her
voice was so soft that I could barely hear her. "I never told you how I came
to work at the Pound." She looked at me then, with the same pain in her eyes
that I was so used to seeing when she took a newly abandoned pet back to the
holding areas. "I was like you, once. My Owner wanted a new pet, and couldn't
afford to take care of us both. The Pound had just opened. I was the first pet
to be dropped off." She took a deep breath, and I couldn't stop the gasp at
"Meri… I had no idea…"
She shook her head. "Please, Dr_Death… Don't
stop me. I might never get the rest of this out if you do." Another deep breath.
"The Faerie who had been taking care of the Pound disappeared very suddenly…
I don't think she could handle the influx of new pets. I heard later that she
had opened some kind of Soup Kitchen in the Bazaar, to try and offer food to
those owners who couldn't afford it. I think she hoped that her efforts would
make the Pound unnecessary… It didn't work, obviously, but I bear her no ill
will for it." She paused for a moment, then continued, "I had nowhere else to
go, so… I took over. I vowed that I would never abandon the Pound… Those pets
who are left here have already been abandoned once. I care for them too much
She swallowed and looked at me. "And that's why
I can't let you run the Abandon desk, Dr_Death… If you give up your chance of
ever finding another Owner, I don't-"
I placed my hand on her shoulder. "Meri, it is
my choice. My decision. And this is what I want to do with my life. Please,
let me help you."
Merideth watched me carefully for a moment, then
finally nodded… and smiled. "Thank you, Dr_Death. Thank you for reminding me
why I took this responsibility in the first place."
I smiled back. I knew I had made the right decision.
And so, this is where I've been for several years
now. I run the Abandon desk of the Neopian Pound. I take care of pets that have
been abandoned by their Owners, and, with Merideth's assistance, I find them
new ones. This is my life now. And, to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other