Hi! Lori here, welcoming you to another episode of Real English Conversations from betteratenglish.com.
In today’s conversation, which is part one of four, my British friend “Michael” and I begin by talking about whether we are “dog people” or “cat people.” Then we move on to discuss the social etiquette of dog walking – particularly picking up after them in public places.
As always, you can find the full transcript of this podcast and vocabulary notes on our website, www.betteratenglish.com.
OK, here we go!
(Note: Words in bold are featured in the vocabulary list [PDF])
Lori: Would you consider yourself a dog person or a cat person?
Michael: Oh, I’m a dog person, I can tell you straight away.
M: Absolutely, 100% confirmed, dog person. You bet.
L: [laughter] Dog person… Have you ever had a dog?
M: Yes, I have. Yes, I had — let me see, this would be about 10 years ago. I had my own doggy; I had a Norwegian Elk Hound.
L: Oh, was he cute?
M: He was very cute; he was painfully cute. He was great. But I don’t have a dog nowadays, but I have…I walk my neighbors’ dog.
L: Oh right, yeah, Bertie.
M: That’s right, I was telling you the other day. They’re a lovely old couple, who I’ve known for years, but they’re getting on a bit and they’re not so active, so I take their dog out for a walk quite often.
L: OK! Do you have a law in England or in your city that you have to pick up the dog poo when you’re walking your dog?
M: Well, I think it depends on the council, the local government. Because if you go to certain areas, they have signs up and it will say, “Don’t let your dog foul the footpath!” and they will actually tell you that there is a fine of fifty pounds or whatever. I think it can be a lot more than that, actually. But I don’t know whether it’s a blanket law, you know, I don’t know if it’s a law for everywhere. I think it’s more down to the local authorities.
L: OK. Do you notice that people are good about picking up dog poo when they’re out with their dogs? Do you find a lot of, you know, doggy doo?
M: I still see quite a few dog turds on the pavement, I’m afraid. And unfor- I’m sorry to say, and not nearly as much as in the seventies. That was part of my childhood. I remember.
L: Oh, stepping in dog poo, totally, in the summertime when you’re running around barefoot.
M: Oh when it squishes between your toes?
L: Oh. That is, oh, the worst. But at least if you’re barefoot it’s easy to wash off. It’s almost worse when you step in a pile with your sneakers on. It gets all inside the tread, oh man.
M: Oh. Right. OK. Like the Adidas trainers that used to have the ridged soles as well. So it would get.
L: Yeah, or any hiking boots or anything at all that has a, you know, a pattern and ridges and texture on the sole.
M: Well, my parents actually had a special stick and a scrubbing brush which was specifically for getting dog poo off your shoes.
L: Yeah, ’cause…that’s, oh, it’s such an annoyance. But I, you know, I have to say that here in Sweden I think it is some kind of law that you have to pick up after your dog. And when people go out walking their dogs they have little…special little plastic bags, little black bags…and there are actually special garbage receptacles for depositing the dog poo. And people are pretty good about it, I have to say.
M: Well we have those bins here, at least the area that…you know, around here where I take Bertie for a walk. There are quite a few of these special dog bins, these red bins, and there’s a picture of a dog on the front of it. So that’s never a problem. But, for me, still you find that people just let their dogs foul the footpath, even though there are these bins around. And I don’t know, I guess it’s not, it hasn’t quite caught on.
L: Maybe people think it doesn’t apply to them, or whatever.
M: Well, who knows? It’s no fun. I must admit I don’t relish…
L: No, it’s not nice.
M: …picking up the dog’s mess, but…
L: But you pick up after Bertie?
M: Absolutely I do. Yeah.
L: Do you have special little bags?
M: No, I just use my Tesco bags.
L: [laughing] Tesco bags?
M: Yeah, Tesco are great. You know how I feel about Tesco, but…
L: Yeah, maybe it’s almost like I feel about Google.
M: Yeah, Yeah. [laughing] It’s almost to that level. But the problem with that actually is because they’re typical plastic supermarket bags, you know, and so they’re actually perforated.
L: Oh, dear.
M: Yes. If you don’t hold the bag in the right place, then there can actually be contamination, and that’s not so nice. So…
L: Oh no. Oh dear. Well, are they…? That sounds like they could be big as well, so it could be a bit unwieldy.
M: All right. Quite. They’re quite big.
L: You should just take some little plastic baggies with you.
M: Well. Yeah. Yeah. I suppose so. But I manage OK with the Tesco bags. You know?
L: I could send you some from here…special plastic doggy-poo bags
M: No. That’s OK. We do have them here in England you know. But…
L: I hate to think of you getting contaminated. I think Bertie would probably hate it too.
M: He’s very cute. But I’m afraid, you know, his poo does smell. So it’s… you wouldn’t think so to look at him, but..Yeah.
L: Well anyway, we’re digressing. Enough about dog poo. What do you think the best thing about doggies is?
…hear the answer in part two!
Thanks for listening. We’ll be back soon with part two. This is Lori from BetterAtEnglish.com signing off until next time. Bye for now!