Family pets.

put down                     taken to the vet and put to sleep so they don’t wake up

commitment              to carry on certain duties, to continue to do something

nurturing                    to care for

unconditional love    to love someone and not expect anything back in return

matted hair                all messy, in knots

enormous                   very big

SPCA                           The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an organisatin that cares for animals that no one else wants

intelligent                   clever

rugby                            a ball game a bit like football

companion                friend, to be with as a friend

Suzie our dog sitting on a barbeque table in our back yard

A faithful dog is a wonderful companion.  More and more Chinese families are getting pets now, and there are enormous benefits from having a pet in the family.  It teaches youngsters responsibility as they realise that pets take a long term commitment.  They need feeding, walking, brushing and if they get sick they need nurturing.  They can also be wonderful companions for an only child in a Chinese household.  In return they will be terrific company, give unconditional love, and stay faithful to the end.

In the West, most families have pets, cats, dogs, birds etc.  If you lived on a farm you also had horses, sheep, goats, pigs, and other animals that became part of the extended family.

Our family had many pets over the years, mostly cats dogs and birds.  My favourite pet was a little gray poodle called Suzie.  We got her from an SPCA home.  She had long matted hair, needed a bath and hair cut, but had such a beautiful face.  I took her home, bathed her and clipped all her hair back to reveal the most lovable little dog.

Poodles are very intelligent and she was too.  She learned to recognise the sounds different cars in our household made.  She knew when my father’s car was coming down the road, and would run around madly barking then rush out to the front driveway and sit there waiting for him.  She also seemed to know when people were upset and would jump up onto their laps and sit there cuddled up as if to give comfort.

After a couple of years we thought it would be nice to have some puppies.  A friend had a very handsome male grey dog.  She had two lots of puppies, but they were all black and white spotty things.  There must have been some genetic mix up somewhere.

We could take Suzie anywhere.  As long as she had one of my shoes or slippers to cuddle up to, she would stay there until we came back for her.  She was my faithful companion for 13 years before she got so sick we had to put her down.

Suzie on our bed cuddled up to my slipper.

It is said that people own dogs, but that cats own people.  Cats can’t be trained like dogs; they come and go at their leisure and being nocturnal animals like to be out on the tiles at night.  One of our cats was called Dusky.  This was a most unusual cat.  It would follow us all round the streets when we went for a walk.  It would also sit up the top of an old tree close to the back fence.  On the other side of the fence were the playing fields of a High School.  She would sit up there for hours, head moving from side to side, watching the children playing soccer and rugby.

Dusky the cat often sat at the top of this tree looking over the back fence into the school playground where the students would be playing different ball games.

Another cat was called Misty.  This cat, like many, had a very aloof attitude.  It would cuddle up to the children in bed, purr and be a normal loveable cat, but from time to time it would just sit there, sort of smiling, as if it was living in its own little world.  When Misty had some kittens, (baby cats), she shared the caring with Suzie.  Together the poodle dog and this white cat cleaned and played with all the kittens, keeping an eye on them, sometimes all cuddled up together in front of the fire.  Cats don’t need as much care as dogs, because they don’t need the daily exercise routines, but they can still live a long life, giving love and companionship to the family.


Misty the cat.

For many people living alone, having a pet is a wonderful thing, it’s like having a friend in the house with you. For a family, it teaches children how to care for animals and gives the children much happiness as they play with them.


Questions for review.

1. Who was Suzie?

2. Describe what Suzie looks like.

3. What can you see in the first photo, describe what you can see.

4.  What did Dusky like to do?

5. Where did Dusky sit?

6. Who was Misty?

7. Describe Misty, especially the colors on her face.

8. Do all cats look the same, yes or no? Explain your answer.

9. Do you think it is good to have a pet?  Why?

10. Talk about some of the animals you have seen or touched.

11. If you have a pet describe him/her and talk about how you help to care for it.



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