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Man's best friend

A story of idioms focussing on love, affection and emotions

Season 2, episode 3
16 min / Published

Learn idioms about emotions and how to express these feelings with the correct phrases.

Oliver is a adorable little dog loved dearly by his family.

Find out about his charming personality and BIG secret.


Show notes

Man's best friend

Language focus: Idioms

one in a million - a person or thing that is very unusual, special, or admired

crept straight into my heart – when something or someone has become very special to you.

Turned heads - attract a great deal of attention or interest

had words with – have a serious discussion or argument

trace your roots – researching your family origins or ancestors in your family

From the very first day I laid eyes on him, I knew he was one in a million. This cute little brown and white fur ball crept straight into me heart. He was adorable and the best part was, he knew it too. He was the runt of the litter and when the litter was born, he was given a very small chance of survival. Oliver, as he is now called was then known as Endeavor as it was quite a challenge for Pat, his breeder to help delicate him. He was weak, fragile and struggled to take his first few breaths. Pat was an experienced doggy midwife and instantly knew this doggy was something special and he deserved a fighting chance to survive.

Fast forward 5 years and the little timid, fragile and helpless puppy had turned into a healthy, happy and content little scoundrel. He had a new family – two cats (Sam & Cassie) a loving mommy (Stephanie) a human sister (Ella) and a devoted dad, me... Oliver (Ollie is he was now affectionately known) went everywhere with us – he never stayed home alone and holidays without his wasn't even in the cards. He preferred the couch and our bed to his doggy mattress and was more like a child in our house than a dog.

This young man turned heads wherever he went – most people wanted him and most dogs wanted to be him. He didn't like the attention, he love it and thrived on the adoration. He would look at me when he was being gushed over, so as to say – see, this is what I was put on this earth to do.

This dog wasn't just close to me, my wife basically imprinted on this K9 and true to her animal-lover-nature, this is exactly how things should be. Ella, my eldest now, but only child then) didn't understand that dogs and humans weren't exactly alike, and had words with anyone who dared disagree.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not overly renowned for superior intellect, they are far too cute and beautiful to have people waste precious compliments on brains and agility when there was so much handsomeness to praise. Don't get me wrong, Ollie wasn't stupid – he simply had too much swagger that it overshadowed every other aspect of his personality.

We spoke with Ollie and not to him. Much the same way as we would address a child and later on like we would chat to one of our adult friends. We had a bond with this Blue-Blood hound. True story, this Blue-Blood talk – Regal Endeavor Of Kavakin (aka Ollie Waldeck) can track his roots back three generations to quality stock from the UK... Remember those paintings of Kings Charles with his brown and white lapdogs? Ollie's ancestors were among those, make no mistake...

Okay, so now that Oliver's pedigree is beyond reproach and you've had a small glimpse of his royal existence in an unmistakable middle class, suburban family, maybe it's time I get to the point. This is going to sound downright crazy, but I'm going to tell you anyway. My daughter Ella has a bad case of the night terrors – always had and it's still to this day. This isn't as much a problem as it is a slight inconvenience... She has a nightmare, wakes up, walks to our bed, tells me to move over and makes herself comfortable slap-bang between the missus and I... I have protested and complained, but it has fallen on deaf ears – this arrangement is here to stay... Ollie doesn't even wake-up when she gets into bed, he just kind of grumbles in his sleep...

Lately though these grumbles have been sounding a lot like mumbling, you know, the mumbling of a human being. At first I thought I was imagining it but last week I clearly made out a muffled word. I sat up in bed and moved my ear right up to Ollie's mouth, and there it was again. He “said” the word “our”. He was clearly having a dream as I could see his hind leg twitching as if he was chasing something in his deep slumber.

The next day as we were having breakfast, I mentioned to my wife what I believe I heard. She is not a morning person and I am, so she thought I was playing a trick on her. “Please let me have my coffee before you start your nonsense” she said. “I'm not joking” I protested, “I genuinely think he spoke in his sleep”, I said again. “Whatever you say”, came the swift reply. I suddenly knew how silly it all sounded, but I had to be sure before I dismissed it completely.

My day went by without anything exciting happening and I had all but forgot about what I thought I had heard the night before. We went to bed, Ollie came to our room a little while after we went to bed and at around 11pm my eldest daughter swapped her bed for ours. That night my allergies acted up and this caused me to snore, more than was normally the case. Before long I was banished to the guest bedroom where my wood-sawing wouldn't bother anyone. Ollie saw that the men in the room were outnumbered and he dutifully followed me down the hall.

I was tired, so I fell asleep almost instantly, Oliver didn't waste anytime either and before we knew it we were harmonizing like two hibernating bears. Somewhere during the night I a noise woke me and I slowly opened my eyes. It took me a while to register where I was and what was going on. When my eyes finally allowed me clear focus, I found my dog staring at me – his nose inches away from my face. To say I freaked out, would be an understatement. But somehow I managed not to scream.

I tried to gather myself as I said to him, “hey boy, are you alright?” He continued to stare at me for a brief moment more and the turned away and fell asleep instantly. I wasn't sure if I was the one dreaming, so I got up, went to the kitchen and made myself a coffee. Upon returning to the bed, I found Oliver fast asleep, snoring away without a care in the world. I convinced myself that my imagination got the better of me again. Within minutes I drifted away to dreamland.

I woke up again suddenly at around 3am with something bumping my leg. It was Ollie having one of his chasing dreams again, so paid no noticed and just turned on my side to go back to sleep. Then I heard it, clear as day and no louder than a whisper... “little”. Oliver had uttered the word “little” and this time there was no denying it - he said it and I heard it. My mind was racing and I didn't know what to do or who to tell.

When my youngest daughter came into the kitchen and sat down to have her breakfast cereal, she could see that something was bothering me. She asked what it was and I said that it was nothing. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “if you look like that, it cannot be nothing!” I decided to tell her what I think happened and how I believe Oliver spoke in his sleep. Without batting an eye she said, “I believe you daddy, Ollie has always had lots to say”. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Had my daughter actually just confirmed that Ollie could speak and if so, why would she say that?

I asked her straight-up, “have you ever heard him speak?”. She didn't even look up form her bowl of cereal she said, “just two words...” “How?” “When?” “Where?” This time she looked up and simply said, “I dunno daddy, he just said the words and I heard them” “One night he said “our” and the following night he said “little”. I was stunned, as I had not told anyone which words I heard Ollie say, so there can be no doubt that she heard him say them too.

We hatched a plan to sleep in the guest bedroom with Ollie that night to see if we could hear him speak again. We settled in for the night and before long my daughter was fast a sleep. I stayed awake and promised to wake up my daughter up when I hear anything. As Ollie drifted off to sleep, he started snoring and before long I could see he was dreaming too. When he started kicking with his hind leg, I woke up my partner in crime and we both listened intently. The excitement was tangible and we could hardly contain our excitement.

After a minute or so, the grumbling started and then came the muffled sound we've both heard before... We sat motionless and waited. Suddenly he opened his eyes and said “secret”... We were stunned and happy at the same time. He has said three words and we have both heard him, there was no denying it... We were so happy and immediately wanted to tell my wife and other daughter... But then we realized why he chose those particular three words, “our little secret...” he wanted to keep it quiet and it was not our secret top share...

We woke him up and gave him the best cuddle he's ever had and promised that his secret was safe with us.

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A podcast by Sold on stories
Engaging & original stories supplying concrete understanding of idioms for Intermediate English learners
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