Animals
In the 8th episode of our podcast, Maria and Rory talk about animals - allergenic and hypoallergenic, wild and domesticated, dogs and cats, sharks and alligators.
Vocabulary
  • Mammals (noun) - any animal of which the female feeds her young on milk from her own body. Most mammals give birth to live young, not eggs.
  • Dog person (noun) - a person who keeps dogs as pets.
  • Domesticated (adj.) - (of an animal) tame and kept as a pet or on a farm.
  • Color scheme (adj.) - an arrangement or combination of colours, especially one used in interior decoration.
  • Fur (noun) - the short, fine, soft hair of certain animals.
  • Portray (verb) - describe (someone or something) in a particular way.
  • Wander (verb) - walk or move in a leisurely or aimless way.
  • To pet(verb) - stroke or pat (an animal) affectionately.
  • Captivity (noun) - the condition of being imprisoned or confined.
  • Allergic (adj.) - caused by or relating to an allergy.
  • Hypoallergenic (adj.) - (especially of cosmetics and textiles) relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • Therapeutic (adj.) - having a good effect on the body or mind; contributing to a sense of well-being.


Questions and answers
Maria: Do you like animals?

Rory: I love animals, particularly mammals, because they’re the closest to us, relatively speaking. I think they’re quite cool.

Maria: Rory, what’s your favorite animal?

Rory: Oh, I’m definitely a dog person. I really love dogs. Just in general. And of course, they’re domesticated animals, so you can always keep them quite close to you, and that’s really good as well.

Maria: What wild animal do you like the most?

Rory: I love big cats. In particular — Tigers. They really stand out with this color scheme on their fur. And then, of course, they also portray the sense of majesty and power as well when they are moving. It’s really interesting to watch.

Maria: Have you ever seen any wild animals before?

Rory: Yes, actually. I used to teach in a school in Africa, which was quite close to a riverbed. And so sometimes crocodiles would just wander into the school grounds, which was always very exciting.

Maria: Crocodiles at schools?

Rory: Yes, absolutely.

Maria: Oh. Have you ever pet a crocodile?

Rory: No. I don’t think you’d ever want to do anything like that.

Maria: Well, what would you like to do that?

Rory: If it was a domesticated crocodile and maybe…

Maria: Could a crocodile be domesticated?

Rory: I think you could maybe domesticate just about any animal.

Maria: Rory, do you like to go to the zoo?

Rory: I used to like going to the zoo more as a child. I think we still have that sense of wonder when we’re children. Whereas now, it’s kind of a double edged sword, because you can see the animals, which is great, but you are also quite sad because they’re in captivity, and that’s also quite sad. But what’s the alternative if they’re in the wild and they don’t have this protection?

Maria: Are people in your country fond of animals?

Rory: Oh, yes, definitely. The United Kingdom has this reputation as being a nation of animal lovers. There’s lots of different bodies which are dedicated to the protection of animals and helping them when they’re sick, like the RSPCA and the RSPB. It’s definitely accurate to say that people are fond of animals there.

Maria: Have you ever kept a pet?

Rory: I haven’t personally, by myself. No. Because I work a lot and I’m kind of allergic as well. So I’d need to find something that’s almost hypoallergenic, really. But when I was younger and I lived with my parents, then, yes, we kept pets.

Maria: Why do some people keep pets at home?

Rory: Lots of different reasons, really. I think one of the main reasons is because they’re cute. Of course, all of these domesticated animals look lovely. But in addition to that, they have some utility as well. Like dogs, for example, are kept as guard dogs to protect your property. But it’s not always about defense. People also keep cats and even goldfish for therapeutic purposes, for example. So there’s lots of different reasons, really. But I think those are the main ones, though.
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