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There are many reasons why people decide to keep a dog and find themselves faced with the question: which kind of dog shall I choose ? They may be looking for a replacement for a lost, faithful and trusted housemate; they may need a companion because they live alone; they may want a playmate for their children and a way of teaching them responsibility and care for other creatures; they may seek a pet to share the life of a childless home; or they may wish to acquire a status symbol to compete with the lady next door who attracts so much attention with her strikingly fashionable dog. Whatever the reason for wanting a pet, no one should rashly rush into acquiring a dog. They should not only consider their own interests as prospective owners but, first and foremost, think of the happiness of their future companion.

If you choose your dog with care, your life will be enriched for years by a friend who will give much love and satisfaction and cause little annoyance. If, on the other hand, a dog is acquired without forethought or only because of its looks, you will risk being bitterly disappointed.

A dog placed in unsuitable, uncongenial surroundings will feel unhappy and will not show his true character. It may become sullen and start growling and misbehaving, perhaps even becoming so undisciplined and aggressive that it proves unacceptable to his new owner who will blame the failure on the animal or its breed instead of admitting that the fault lay in his ill-considered choice. In keeping a pet the owner is taking on a considerable responsibility, and if, for instance, the pet is only wanted as a status symbol, it would be best to think again.

The first question to ask yourself is whether your way of life and personal circumstances allow you to keep a dog. The time which you can make available for the dog is very important. It is necessary to be able to give it sufficient attention because no dog can do without it. You need time to prepare his meals, to give it its daily brush, to take it for a walk for at least an hour a day and moreover to let it out two or three times a day, which means going with him and not letting him loose on the street.

A second, no less important question concerns the attitudes of all the members of the family. Is everybody happy with the idea of having a dog ? Its arrival may give rise to friction. Children so easily promise to look after and take out their new companion, but as soon as the novelty wears off they forget the responsibilities they have undertaken. It is vital that the mistress of the house wants to have a dog, for it is she who, during the absence of her husband and children, will probably have most to do with the new house pet. She may have to cope with the less agreeable jobs such as cleaning up the mud which will be brought into the house in bad weather, removing dog hairs from carpets and furniture and coping with those other little mishaps which occur. The main burden of house-training the dog will fall on her if the dog is a young one. She will also have to look after it if it is ill.

If all the family are agreed that they want a dog there is another problem to consider. What is to be done with the dog during holidays ? Can it always be taken along ? If not, are there friends able and ready to offer hospitality, or will it have to go to a boarding kennel ? in the latter case you should not wait until the day before leaving to look around for a good kennel. As you might expect, boarding out your dog may prove quite expensive; expenses that must be added to the dog licenses, the unavoidable vet's bills and the cost of food which you should not economize on the quantity. Remember that any possession that brings joy also involves care and responsibility and the dog is no exception. If, after considering all these points, you still have an unquenchable desire to own a dog, you may then decide what kind of dog to choose.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. What educational value does a dog have for children ?
  2. What does the entire passage suggest prospective dog owners do before deciding what kind of dogs to buy ?
  3. What should dog owners consider as more important than their own happiness ?
  4. How are dog owners sometimes responsible for aggressive and unacceptable behavior in their pets ?
  5. Why is a person's way of life an important consideration in his decision to keep a dog ?
  6. Keeping a dog takes up a lot of time. How is it spent ?
  7. What could be a possible result if not everyone in the family agrees to have the dog ?
  8. Who usually ends up taking care of the dog ?
  9. What can people do with their dogs when they go away for holidays ?
  10. List some ways how dog owners spend money on their pets.
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Answers
 

1.

A dog teaches children responsibility and care for other creatures.
 

2.

It suggests that they first decide if they should keep a dog.
 

3.

They should consider the happiness of their dog as more important than their own.
 

4.

They have failed to create suitable surroundings in which the dog can be happy.
 

5.

He must consider if he has enough time to give the dog the attention it needs.
  6. It is spent cooking for it, cleaning it and taking it out for walks.
  7. if that happens, friction between family members may arise.
  8. The mistress of the house usually ends up doing that.
  9. They can keep them with friends or with boarding kennels.
  10. They spend money on pet food, dog licenses, vet's bills and boarding expenses.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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