Today, you’ll get the opportunity to practice your English listening skills with a podcast that uses natural conversational English. The topic is about my pet cats and a trip to the veterinary service. You will pick up lots of useful vocabulary and get an insight into pet ownership in the UK.
Talking about everyday topics, in a natural conversation, is a great way for you to learn about life in the UK, a little about me while you improve your English listening comprehension and pronunciation skills. Training your brain to listen and understand spoken English is a critical part of making the move to speaking English.
If you can listen and understand a conversation in real-time, without translation. Then that will free up a lot more time for your brain to plan and say what you need to say when it comes time to speak. We all acquire language using listening skills, the way you learned your first ‘native’ language as a baby. The better you are at listening, the easier it will be to speak English.
A quick note about our move to producing videos and audio podcasts. If you are a regular listener and notice some changes in the audio quality as we move over to video and audio production, don’t worry. I noticed them as well. Having perfected the production process for audio only podcasts, it’s been quite a learning experience to produce video. I think these recordings are better than the recordings last week, and next weeks will be even better. Thank you for your patience!
Today, you're going to get some English listening practice. This is what I call a chatty podcast. So I'm going to talk to you just as I would a friend. So this is great practice in normal, everyday conversational English. And if you need the transcript, you'll find it on our website at adeptenglish.com.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
So I'm going to talk to you about a personal experience, and I'm going to link that to some observations about what's happening in a particular industry, to a particular type of business in the UK.
If you're an animal lover, you'll like it too. And don't forget wherever you listen to Adept English, please follow us or subscribe and rate us or write us a review. We really appreciate that. And it helps more listeners find Adept English.
Today's podcast is about going to the vet. That's V E T. What's the vet? Well, the vet is the animal doctor. So it's the medic trained to be the doctor to your animals. The full title is veterinary, which is spelled V E T E R I N A R Y. That's a complicated word. Even if you're a native, British English speaker, that's a hard word and it's even harder to spell.
So normally we just call it the vet. Now, if you've been listening to the Adept English podcast for a while, you might remember that I have two cats, two Siberian Forest cats. So they are Russian cats and they have Russian names. Vladimir and Misha. And yes, my Vladimir is spelled like Vladimir Putin, not Volodymyr Zelensky! But that's because they're Russian.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, it was time to take Vlad and Mish to the vets for their annual vaccination or their 'booster' as we call it. That means we 'boost' their immunity. We raise their immunity with the vaccination, to all the common cat illnesses and diseases that you don't want your animal to get.
So I booked my appointment at the vet and there was a bit of a palaver because Misha decided to go missing on the first occasion. So we had to miss that appointment and rebook. I collected both cats and took them to the vet and Vladimir was examined. They do a general health check as well and fine. He had his vaccination, then it was Misha's turn.
A photograph vet and cat on examination table. Improve your English listening skills and learn to understand what people are saying in everyday conversations with these easy-to-follow podcasts.
Now for Misha, there is a cat in our road called Jasper who he doesn't like and Misha had decided to have a bit of a fight with this cat. I don't know whether this was when he went missing the day before, but he'd had a fight and he had a little. Injury on his chin because he'd been fighting. So the vet said to me, 'Oh no, no, no, we can't do the vaccination. You need to have an anti-inflammatory medication. And then a week's worth of antibiotics'.
Great. So I went home and gave Misha his antibiotics and we booked again another appointment for the following week where he was examined again. And this time the vet decided, okay, we'll give him the vaccination.
The whole thing cost more than £200! A little bit expensive I thought, for a couple of vaccinations and I'm rather hoping we don't have to go to the vet again until this time next year, when they're due to have another booster. Thinking back to my previous podcast, it felt as though it 'cost an arm and a leg' to get the cats vaccinated.
So one of my experiences recently going to the vet is yes, I'm concerned about my animal, but I find myself also a bit worried about 'How much is all of this going to cost me?'. I don't think I'm the only one who feels like this. Two different people. I know have told me that what's happening in the UK at the moment, is that the tradition of small, either family run....or practices, veterinary practices that are run by a number of senior vets....they are being bought up by big businesses. So apparently there's a very high percentage of the vets, veterinary practices in the UK are owned by just six huge companies.
When this happens when there's a big takeover and a large business, a large company takes over the running of a practice, they don't necessarily change the name. And people may not realize that there has been a change of owner. But the practices are run slightly differently. So it becomes much more about targets, much more about profits, much more about trying to fit in as many appointments and consultations in a day as you can.
And of course it becomes about charging higher fees. So I think that this is quite widespread in the UK. So the cost of owning an animal is going up and up.
Also I read online on the British Veterinary Association website, about how much a problem it is, vets being abused by their customers - verbally abused, I mean. So when we talk about verbal abuse', that means when someone's shouting at you or calling you names or criticizing you in a way that's unfair. That's 'verbal abuse'.
And apparently vets have a really difficult time because of the amount of verbal abuse that they receive from their clients. Now there's a little article here. I'm going to read you part of it. There is a crisis in veterinary services at the moment.
"Veterinary services across the country have faced unprecedented pressures in recent years, due to the combined impact of Brexit, COVID and the boom in pet ownership".
The boom in pet ownership means just more and more people got pets during the pandemic. A 'boom' means a big increase.
"New figures show that the impact of online abuse can be significant. Vets who had experienced online abuse in the past 12 months were more likely to report that they will have left the profession in five years' time to pursue another career."
That seems a real shame. My friend's daughter is currently studying veterinary science at a university in the UK, and she works really hard and it's a long course and it's difficult to become a vet. So it seems a real shame if people are leaving the profession because they're being abused by their customers.
So while I'm not condoning that abuse, it does make me wonder about the increases in fees and that sense that sometimes you may have at the vets where you want to be sensitive to the needs of the animal and you want to trust that the vet is giving you good advice, but at the same time you feel just that little bit ripped off, shall we say, by how much it costs?
If we use that term, either the verb 'to rip off' or 'a rip-off' is the noun, it's slang for when you feel like you've been 'taken for a ride', you've paid far more money for something than really is warranted. Something has 'cost you an arm and a leg', and it's not justified.
That's when you're being 'ripped off'. And I think often people feel a little bit like that at the vet. How much exactly is this going to cost me? It also makes me sad to think of cat and dog ownership becoming so expensive that it's almost a luxury, rather than something that anybody can afford. I think that would be sad.
Cats and dogs and other animals are often seen as members of our family. So it would be sad if it became something that was a luxury item or beyond the reach financially of ordinary people. We have, of course the 'cost of living crisis' at the moment as well, which is in the news all the time. So everything's become more expensive, our gas, our fuel, our petrol, our electricity, our food. So households are being squeezed and high veterinary fees is not going to help with this. Animals are not going to get the treatment they need if the fees are too high.
One of the other effects is that if you have pet insurance to pay for these things, if the fees go ever higher and higher, then it means that you're going to have to pay more for your pet insurance as well. That's not good. So, I guess this is me expressing a bit of a hope that some veterinary practices will remain in the hands of vets in partnership or be small family run businesses and will resist that pull towards being sold out to large companies, large businesses that need to run these practices to turn a big profit for their shareholders. I hope that doesn't continue to happen.
Let us know. Have you had experience of high fees at the vets when you've taken your animals? Are you a vet yourself? Is something similar happening in your country or not? Please let us know. We'd be really pleased to hear from you.
Just before I go, a reminder quickly to sign up for our course, free course, this is, 'The Seven Rules of Adept English'. This course will give you all kinds of tips on how to use Adept English material, like the podcast, to the best advantage for your English language learning.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
- Veterinary profession in the UK
- Vet speaks out over takeovers
- Vets exposed to online abuse
- Cost of Vet Care in the UK
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