I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

What are some basic tips for caring for a dog or cat (e.g., feeding, grooming, house training, etc.)?

HELPFUL TIP: Think twice about buying a pet for a family member as a gift for a birthday or other occasion. Many times, such animals have to be returned because the child and the pet aren’t compatible. Rather, give the family member a gift certificate for an animal, and he or she can pick out the pet on their own in person.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. What is one of Shawn’s concern about the dog?

A. It can be somewhat aggressive.

B. It eats too much food at one time.

C. The dog might mess on his carpet.
2. What is Shawn supposed to do between 3:00-4:00 p.m. for the dog?

A. Take the dog for some exercise with a Frisbee.

B. Feed him an afternoon doggie treat for a snack.

C. Let the dog watch a program on television.

3. Which point is NOT true about the cat?

A. The cat becomes a little moody at times.

B. The cat enjoys listening to classical music.

C. The cat will run away if it gets outside the house.

4. What can we infer from the conversation on the snake’s reaction to Shawn?

A. The snake appears to warm up to him.

B. The snake doesn’t care for Shawn at all.

C. The snake is extremely shy of Shawn.

5. What is Shawn’s final response to Norman?

A. Norman should seek someone who is well-trained with animals.

B. Norman should take his animals to the zoo for special care.

C. Norman agrees to watch them for a lot of extra money.

Score =
Correct answers:

Norman: Hey, neighbor. How’s it going?
Shawn: Fine. How about you?

Norman: Okay. Huh, by the way, my wife and I are going out of town this weekend, and I was wondering if you could take care of some of our animals while we’re gone. You know our dog, Jaws, don’t you?

Shawn: Yeah. My leg still hurts from the last incident.

Norman: Hey, he’s just a playful little beast.

Shawn: Right.

Norman: Hey, he likes to bark a little, and his bark is worse than his bite.

Shawn: Oh yeah.

Norman: Just feed him a can of dog food a day, and make sure he has plenty of water in his dish. [Oh] And then, take him for a walk around the block.

Shawn: Well, how about if I just throw a Frisbee over the fence to give him some exercise? Wouldn’t that work?

Norman: Ah, and then, he likes to watch the 3;00 soap opera on Channel 4 [What?] . . . and brush his teeth after you give you some doggie treats around 4:00.

Shawn: Man, you really pamper your dog.

Norman: And, then brush his fur for about twenty minutes. He tends to shed this time of year. [Ah, what?] And then scratch him around the ears. Otherwise, he feels neglected.

Shawn: Is that it?

Norman: Well, and then there’s Claws.

Shawn: Claws? Who’s Claws.

Norman: Oh, he’s the cat we adopted from the animal shelter, but he’s a little temperamental.

Shawn: What do you mean “temperamental”?

Norman: Well, he has mood swings [Mood swings?], but he’s been doing better since he’s been going to the animal therapist.

Shawn: A therapist?

Norman: So, be sure to feed him a half cup of cat food two times a day [What? A therapist . . .], and don’t forget to put out (on) some soft classical music during his nap time at 2:40 p.m. But don’t let him out of the house because he might run away and chase the neighbor’s dog.

Shawn: You have some high-maintenance animals.

Norman: Not really. And, don’t forget to change the cat litter daily, or he might have an accident on the carpet. [Oh, great.] And finally, there’s Buttercup.

Shawn: Buttercup? Who’s Buttercu . . . ? I’m afraid to ask.

Norman: Ah, she’s a sweetie [What?] . . . if you know how to handle her right. [Oh, great.] Wait. Let me get her for you. Here you are.

Shawn: That’s . . . That’s a snake . . .[Hold her.] That’s a big snake with big fangs. Does the snake go to a therapist, too?

Norman: Of course not . . . just an anger-management class.

Shawn: Oh! What?

Norman: I’m joking. Buttercup is a very docile creature, and she never bites anyone she likes. If she doesn’t, you’ll know because she starts hissing and staring at you . . . . kind like what she’s doing now.

Shawn: Well, I’m leaving. You must be going out of you mind to think I’m going to watch a zoo full of misunderstood animals. You’d better hire some professional help ’cause I wouldn’t watch them even if you paid me a million dollars.

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • incident (noun): a situation that occurs, sometimes serious
    – There was an incident today involving a dog biting a young boy.
  • bark (verb; also noun): making the sound of a dog
    – The neighbor’s dog barked all night, and I couldn’t get any sleep.
  • pamper (verb): treat a person or an animal in a special way
    – My parents really pamper their dog by allowing it to sleep on their bed and watch TV.
  • adopt (verb): take into one’s family
    Adopting a dog from an animal shelter is one way to save the lives of unwanted pets.
  • temperamental (adjective): changing feelings or moods
    – My brother can be a little temperamental at times, so try to be understanding.
  • handle (verb): take care of, hold or touch with your hands
    – Please handle the lizard with care. It is a very delicate creature.
  • fangs (noun): long sharp teeth from an animal such as a snake
    – If a rattlesnake bites you, and its fangs break your skin, you should seek medical attention immediately.
  • docile (adjective): easy to work with or handle
    – Although a rat looks like a scary creature, it is a very docile animal.
  • go out of your mind: go crazy
    – She’s been going out of her mind ever since her cat was hit by a car.