This week we are going to look at family pets and how they have infiltrated our daily lives. The first thing we should look at is that every animal, whether it be a pet or a wild animal, has a different name for their young. For example, a baby dog is called a puppy. A baby cat is called a kitten. A lot of baby animals are called cubs. For example, tigers, lions, bears, etc.

We also have many phrases that we say every day when we have pets, especially dogs. So let’s have a look at some of them now.

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Take for a walk – We always need to give our pets, especially dogs, some exercise every now and again. The easiest way to do this is to take them for a walk. In fact, we take them many places. We take them to the park, to the vet (short for veterinarian where we take them when they get sick), to the beach and lots of other places where they can have some fun. Maybe the vet is not as fun as the others though.

Feeding – We always have to feed our pets. The food is unsurprisingly referred to as pet food. We feed them either tinned food or dried food which is normally in the shape of little balls.

Doggy door/Cat flap – This is for your pets to have easy access to your house without you having to open the entire door. It is usually a small door at the bottom of your back door that allows your pet to go in and out of the house when you are not there.

We also have a number of animal idioms that are in common use in English. Let’s look at some now.

A dog is man’s best friend – This one is pretty self explanatory. Everyone loves dogs and in return they give us unconditional love.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush – This means that what you already have is worth more than what you could possibly have in the future if you take a risk. For example if you are gambling and you win, there is a temptation to play again and try to win more. But perhaps a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, because you could end up losing it all.

Black sheep of the family – This is a disreputable or disgraced member of the family. You would probably describe your uncle who is in jail as the black sheep of the family.

Let the cat out of the bag – This means to tell a secret. Sometimes a news organization will let the cat out of the bag when they publicise some information that a company might not want disclosed to the general public.

A Night Owl – A night owl is someone who doesn’t like to go to bed early. They stay awake until all hours of the morning and then sleep until closer to noon than dawn. I myself am a bit of a night owl.

In future editions, we will have a look at some more animal idioms.


K. Charles

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