Episode 01

LearnEnglish Podcasts is back! Join Adam, Tess, Ravi and a new presenter for Series 4 as they talk about pets and whether it's true that the British are crazy about animals. Please join us, and let us know what you think!


Jo and Adam – Welcome back!

Adam: Hello! I’m Adam and I’m happy to say ‘Welcome’ to Episode 1 of the new series of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts. Yes, that’s right – we’re back! With all your favourites, too – Tess and Ravi, Carolina and her friends – and, of course, more of your comments to share. But first, let me introduce you to someone. This is Jo.

Jo: Hello everyone!

Adam: Jo’s going to be helping me with this series of Elementary Podcasts. She’s an English teacher, like me, and together we’re going to talk to you about some of the language that you hear in the podcasts.

Jo: That’s right. And I’m quite excited about it! I’ve been reading all your comments from the last series, and I think I’m going to enjoy working with you all.

Adam: Great to have you here, Jo. Now, if you remember the last episode of Series 3, Carolina, Emily and Jamie visited a city farm and had fun making animal noises. And Emily told them that she’s going on a first date with Jamie’s friend Cameron. So we asked you what noises animals make in your country and, also, where you think Emily and Cameron should go for a first date. Let’s start with a few animal noises! And I hope I get the pronunciation of these right!

Tanya Klimova from Russia said ‘A dog barks “gaf-gaf”, the sheep bleats “beeee”, a pig says “hru-hru”.’

Jo: (laughs) That’s a funny one!

Adam: Chihirochan89 from Vietnam says ‘In my country, dogs usually say “go go”, goats say “be be”, cows say “muz muz”.’ And in Turkey, according to M Nur, ‘dogs say “hav hav”, donkeys say “ai ai”, and sheep say “meee meee” ’.

Jo: So dogs can say ‘woof woof’ or ‘gaf gaf’ or ‘hav hav’ – they’re all quite similar. But then in Vietnam they say ‘go go’ – that’s completely different. In Spain, where I live, they go ‘guau guau’.

Adam: ‘Guau, guau’! And where to go for a first date? Most of you said a restaurant or the cinema. Hassan from Egypt would choose a restaurant because you can’t talk in the cinema, but if you are shy you can always talk about the food in a restaurant. Fred09 from Brazil thinks a restaurant is ‘too fancy for a first date’ and would choose the cinema. Yenson from Venezuela went to the cinema for his first date with his wife, but unfortunately it was a horror film and she was so scared that she dropped her popcorn! But she married you, Yenson, so it wasn’t a complete disaster!

Jo: That’s a good story!

Adam: And a lot of you left comments about how much you like the podcasts and how much they help you with your English and how much you wanted to hear Series 4. It’s important for us to hear that you like what we’re doing, so thank you very much to everyone.

Now it’s time to hear from Tess and Ravi. If you’re new to Elementary Podcasts, let me explain that Tess and Ravi always talk about something that people think is typically British – like the Royal Family or drinking tea, or even the Loch Ness Monster. Let’s hear what it is this time.


Tess and Ravi

Tess: Hello again, everyone. My name's Tess.

Ravi: And I'm Ravi.

Tess: And, as usual, we're here to talk about Britain. The things that you know about it …

Ravi: … and the things you think you know. We've already talked about a lot of different topics – things that you think are typically British. And today we've got something nice. Tess, how's Oscar?

Tess: He's fine, thanks. Why?

Ravi: I'm introducing the topic, Tess. Pets.

Tess: Ahh. Very clever.

Ravi: Oscar is Tess's cat.

Tess: And a member of the family.

Ravi: Hmm ... A lot of people believe that the British are crazy about animals. We're often called 'a nation of pet lovers'. But is it true? To begin with – do we have more pets than anyone else? So I did a bit of research. And yes, a lot of people in Britain have pets – 49 per cent of British homes – that's nearly half – have an animal.

Tess: Is that a lot?

Ravi: That's nearly 30 million pets – cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, parrots – but not including fish! That's a lot of pets. But there are a lot of other places with as many pets as Britain, or even more ... the USA, New Zealand, some countries in Europe – 62 million homes in Europe have pets. Britain isn't that unusual.

Tess: And it depends what you count as a pet.

Ravi: Well, yes, that's true.

Tess: Cats and dogs are the most common pets in Britain, right?

Ravi: Well, actually, they now think that the most popular pets in Britain are ...?

Tess: Well, if it isn't dogs or cats … um … I don't know. Rabbits?

Ravi: Nope ... Give up? ... Reptiles. Snakes and lizards and iguanas and things. And insects – spiders are really popular now.

Tess: Yeuk. I'm not sure I could love a spider.

Ravi: Nor me.

Tess: Do you want to know something interesting?

Ravi: Erm, yes.

Tess: Well, Britain was the first country to have an organisation to look after animals. The RSPCA. That's the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It was started in the nineteenth century when things were bad for animals in Britain – for horses, dogs, all of them. So some people started the RSPCA. But – and this is the important thing – there were no organisations or charities at that time to protect children or babies or people at all. And life was really hard in the nineteenth century.

Ravi: Wow.

Tess: So people started to say that the British care about animals more than people.

Ravi: But don't you sometimes think it's true? That the British like animals more than people? We give more money to animal charities, like the RSPCA, than to charities for people. That's a fact. And there are lots of programmes about animals on television and stories in the newspapers.

Tess: I know. It's true. And do you know, people who ask for money on the street, well, if they have a dog with them, then they get more money.

Ravi: Ha! Is that true? Money for the dog, but not for the person?

Tess: Yep.

Ravi: So we are crazy about animals. It's true. You'll have to go home and tell Oscar.

Tess: I think he already knows.


Jo and Adam

Adam: Do you have any pets, Jo?

Jo: We’ve just got some goldfish. Have you got any pets, Adam?

Adam: No, I don’t. We had dogs when I was living with my parents, but not any more. I’d like to in the future, but I think it’s a lot of work to care for a dog properly.

Jo: Yeah, I live in the country now, so it’s fine to have some dogs around. But when I lived in a big city, the dogs used to annoy me a bit. I don’t think that big cities are good places for dogs to live.

Adam: What about where you live? Are people kind to animals? Do people keep pets? Write and tell us. The address is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish. And now it’s time to talk about some of the language that you heard in the podcast.

Jo: That’s right. Today we're talking about ways of saying how things are the same or different. Listen to Ravi. What does he want to know?

Ravi: A lot of people believe that the British are crazy about animals. We’re often called ‘a nation of pet lovers’. But is it true? To begin with – do we have more pets than anyone else?

Jo: He’s asking about the number of pets the British have compared to other countries. Listen again. What’s the question?

Ravi: A lot of people believe that the British are crazy about animals. We’re often called ‘a nation of pet lovers’. But is it true? To begin with – do we have more pets than anyone else?

Jo: He said ‘Do we have more pets than anyone else?’ ‘More than’.

Adam: You can say ‘He's got more money than me’, or ‘I like London more than New York’.

Jo: Now listen to the next comparison. British people have a lot of pets ...

Ravi: But there are a lot of other places with as many pets as Britain.

Jo: ‘There are other places with as many pets as Britain’. ‘As many as’. Britain has a lot of pets – but other countries have the same number. We use ‘as many as’ when the thing we’re comparing is countable – pets. But we use ‘as much as’ when we’re comparing something uncountable.

Adam: For example ‘I want to have as much money as Bill Gates’ – I want the same money!

Jo: Now listen to the last way of comparing things.

Tess: Cats and dogs are the most common pets in Britain, right?

Ravi: Well, actually, they now think that the most popular pets in Britain are ...?

Jo: Yes – ‘the most common’, ‘the most popular’, ‘the most’. Cats are popular, dogs are popular, but reptiles are more popular than cats and dogs – so reptiles are the most popular pets in Britain.

Adam: There are exercises on the website to give you practice with this, and other things, too. And please send us your comments about animals in your country.

Jo: And about your pets.

Adam: We’ll read some of them out on the next podcast. See you then! Goodbye!

Jo: Bye!

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Submitted by YehiaF201 on Thu, 06/01/2022 - 12:47


Dose this tell you what your lvl in ielts or dose it help me for ielts ? like if I got them all correct or just a few mistakes means i can get good band in listeing in ielts ( like band 6.5+ ) , or not ? please give me answer

Submitted by Ahmed Hesham A… on Mon, 05/04/2021 - 20:14

Hey everyone In my country, the most popular pets are cats and dogs.

Submitted by jmajo on Mon, 25/01/2021 - 19:11

I feel good about animals, I like them because we need them for lots of people whom are alone and need some company, for instance those persons whom have some sort of disease and need help of a dog or the blind people. I've never been to Britain, so I don't know if what Tess and Ravi said is True or not. It's very common to have a pet in my country, most of the people have dogs or cats for pets but some people have other kind of animals like spiders or birds, I used to have a dog when I was a child but I don't like to have pets anymore because there are pets everywhere nowadays in the city where I live and not all of the owners are good owners, I mean there's a really problem here of overpopulation of dogs and cats and not all of the owners behave responsibly with them and it's common to have attacks and accidents with dogs on the street and in the parks. Lots of people leave the dogs alone all day inside a house when they go out to work and the dogs start barking when they feel alone. But when I lived in the countryside I used to have a horse and a dairy cow and I really like having them. It's true that people care more about animals than persons whom are living in the streets, here charity non profit organizations dedicated to the care of animals always get more money than those that care for people, people here spend a lot of money buying pets and taking care of them. Thanks for the episode. Great site!!

Submitted by Nurdan Merve Polat on Fri, 06/11/2020 - 08:36

Hi guys I am from Turkey and ın my country people treat animals well. I have a bird . Where I live there is a lot of pets. And also people feeds street animals.

Submitted by Mazoon AL.Ghssani on Sat, 10/10/2020 - 10:37

Hi For me I dont like animals at all because animals husbandry is very disgusting.

Submitted by Marey Saad on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 19:54

In my country, we don't have pets because we find them disgusting, espicially pigs which considered to be filthy animals and it's even Haram to eat their meat. Thanks

Submitted by Omran Shahrour on Tue, 22/09/2020 - 16:28

could you publish another series for higher level advanced for instance

Hello Omran Shahrour,

Thank you for the suggestion. We'll certainly keep your request in mind when we plan future materials.

In the meantime, you can find higher level listening materials on our listening page:



You can also use the search facility. Just enter the level you want (C1, B2 etc) and look through the results.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Abdulhamid on Tue, 14/07/2020 - 21:48

Hi I can’t listening the podcast and I don’t know why? All podcasts it is error. Please help me and thank you.
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Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 15/07/2020 - 06:56

In reply to by Ahmed Abdulhamid


Hello Ahmed Abdulhamid,

There is a technical problem with our audio. I'm sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for telling us. We are working on a solution and hopefully the audio will be working soon.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Tea

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Fri, 15/05/2020 - 01:54

Hi everyone! Thanks for another series.Here in Brazil,dogs and cats are the most popular pets we have. Unfortunelly,because of the Covid19,many people are abandoned their pets.They think that the animals can infect them with the disease. I wish all the best for all animals around the world.

Submitted by clauvera2016 on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 09:42

Hi there! I think there's a little mistake in the task 4 at the last sentence: "It's is long and thin and hasn't got any legs." There's "is" and its short form ('s) in the same time... Can you check it ? Sorry about my remark... Maybe I didn't understand well... Thank you very much for all your work here ! For me it's very helpful ! I love this site and this section (podcasts) ! Bye !
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Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 14:26

In reply to by clauvera2016


Hello clauvera2016

Yes, you are right! Thanks for pointing that out -- we'll fix it as soon as we can.

Best wishes


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Israa Moha on Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:01

The most popular animal here is camels, it is ties with traditions. Also there is some people use watchdog in their farms or in big houses. In my personal opinion, I do not prefer to have a pet, because I am afraid of her and I do not like to touch me firmly. But I really good viewer of the animal life programs.
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Submitted by kamicounciler on Wed, 08/01/2020 - 14:53

although the overall opinion about animals in my country(iran) is not likely but people are starting to love them and even accept them as a member of family.there has been a noticeable change in how people here view animals during the last years.

Submitted by parisaach on Mon, 20/05/2019 - 10:29

In my country people are very different . maybe we can put them in three categories according to their behaviour to animals In the first category there are relegious people , they usually don't like animals they say dogs and pigs are unclean and muslims shouldn't touch them. In the second gategory we can place people who think we shouldn't feed animals and talking about their rights while we have many hungry people in the country. On the other hands in the third category we can put people who like animals they feed them, keep them at home, and protect them . Anyway I guess I am in the third category I like animals maybe I don't do any special thing for them I also don't have any pet at home, but my mother keep goldfish and I see them every day. My mother always feed birds in our balcony . and there is cat with her little kittens in our street sometimes I give it some food. I don't do anything for them but I hate people who hurt animals .

Submitted by Meysam1369 on Mon, 13/05/2019 - 08:31

Hello The Audio of the 4th series is so low quality. Please upload a higher quality for that.
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Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 14/05/2019 - 09:35

In reply to by Meysam1369

Hello Meysam1369 Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry about that. I'm afraid we won't able to upload higher-quality versions, but the good news is that later this year we'll be publishing a new series related to LearnEnglish podcasts. It won't exactly be a fifth series -- it will be something different -- but it's similar in many ways to what you can find here. All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nikoslado on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 19:07

It's very fun all this discussion about animals' ''language'' or- better - their voices.However, speaking seriously,the really important item here is first, how the human ear and brain themselves can hear, listen to, and record the different sounds and natural voices, and second , if our human languages have the neccessary tools to reproduce all these natural stuff in written words...Finally, we have to admit that all the same animals all around the world ''speak'' the same natural voices, but we- people -do hear and do write them differently.Anyway, this is very funny when reffered to the animals' voices ,but unhappily very serious when reffered to the people' ones...It reminds us of Babel.

Submitted by ali aiad ali shanan on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 21:38

I love animals and in my country the most common pets are dogs and birds

Submitted by cuneyt on Sun, 25/11/2018 - 22:09

Hi guys, I enjoy animals. I prefer to live in their natural environment. I have a budgerigar but it can't as speak as parrots. I irrelevant. against it nowadays. at first I was respective .İn fact it is my opinion buy a budgerigar. it is hen and I guess it want to pair. we need a cock for it. I will buy from pet shop. I can buy a siberian husky if I have a seperate house Because I don't let to stay it in the house. I think it is mistake. the house isn't as outside. Perhaps. this is not good idea anybody. This is as my rules. I like every pets. Some people will missunderstand me. I buy a box milk for cats. when I see hungry them. I like animals.

Submitted by simon lin on Sun, 28/10/2018 - 14:13

When I was a boy, I like dogs more than cats, but now I'm feeling I begin to love cats a little bit. Cats are more indepentant and elegant. they like youre friends more than your pets.

Submitted by not funny lol on Sun, 28/10/2018 - 10:56

In Estonia we have animals in the zoo. The most common pets are dogs and cats. I like dogs and I don't like cats, dogs are better than cats because you can play with a dog and it's happy all the time. It's very common to have a goldfish in Estonia. I don't have any pets, but I had one, it was a spider in the toilet, its name was Алексей (Aleksei) Actually I'm doing this as my English homework so please correct me if I made mistakes

Submitted by Pfeiffers on Wed, 17/10/2018 - 16:50

Hello, How can I download these podcasts? Thanks
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Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 18/10/2018 - 06:02

In reply to by Pfeiffers


Hello Pfeiffers,


I'm afraid the podcasts are not available for download. However, you can listen to them on a mobile device whenever you wish via our podcast app.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by COMBIER on Wed, 10/10/2018 - 14:51

I have a cat , it always sleep in my house
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Submitted by krig on Sun, 26/08/2018 - 07:52

In my country the most common pets are dogs and cats. Budgies. hamsters and domestic rats are popular also. Unfortunately many dogs and cats live in the street and sometimes dogs can be agressive. Many pigeons live in the cities and they don't afraid people at all.
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Submitted by Ingeburg on Tue, 10/07/2018 - 07:06

I love animals, especially cats and dogs. I'm Brazilian, but I currently live in India. My two pets, a cat and a dog are in Brazil.

Submitted by alexito1969 on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 15:47

Nowadays in Mexico, is more common than the past people have a pets. The government have built hospitals for pets. The rates are very cheap. I think the most popular pets in Mexico are the dogs and the cats.
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Submitted by Adriel Oliveira on Mon, 25/06/2018 - 23:18

he in Brazil the people love pets too, especially dogs and cats. But unfortunately, there are a lot of dogs living on the street. I'm a pet lover! I have a dog, a German Shepherd. He is very smart!
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Submitted by Shamsunnahar Seba on Sat, 09/06/2018 - 19:03

I am from Bangladesh. People of my country like pets but usually don't keep them at home. It is most common in our country that pets like dogs, cats are wondering in the streets without having any owner. They manage their food by themselves. Usually none care about their housing, foods, medicare.
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Submitted by Matias Santos on Mon, 21/05/2018 - 23:04

When I was a child, I had lived at a little farm then I had a duck as a pet.

Submitted by Shiiya on Fri, 18/05/2018 - 12:45

Hi , In my country pets become popular too , specially for dogs and because this pet industry are grateful , the pet industry are one of the most profitable nowadays , unfortunately some people prefer to buy a dog rather than adopt one , even worse some people abandon them . people would have known the big responsibility to owner a pet . So if you intend to get a pet first ask to yourself : have I got Money ? Have I got time ? Have I got patience

Submitted by MohamedAlshafaie on Tue, 15/05/2018 - 13:35

Hi, Why the Audio file does not work. The audio files for the magazine articles also do not work. Thanks, Mohamed
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Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 15/05/2018 - 14:08

In reply to by MohamedAlshafaie


Hi Mohamed,

I'm sorry that you are having trouble listening to the audio files. I've just checked the recording on this page and could find no problem. Could you please try it again?

Sometimes our users in some locations are temporarily unable to listen to or download our audio files. If that's the case for you, I'd suggest trying again in a couple of days. If you find that they work, you might want to download as many as you can so that you will have them if the problem occurs again.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Frenando Trenes on Thu, 05/04/2018 - 12:57

We have 4 cats and a small dog at home. We've even reached the number of 7 cats, in addition to the dog, not long ago. To tell the truth, I think it's not a good idea to keep so many pets in a flat, because they can get to bother each other. And veterinary expenses become excessive, too. I love cats in a very particular way. They're so elegant when moving from one side to other! Besides, they are very clean animals and, contrary to some people believe about them, they also can be very tender and loving. Anyway, I think people in general must always be respectful and careful with all kind of animals. They're our mates on Earth!
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Submitted by jesus.iturralde on Thu, 22/03/2018 - 14:27

I like dogs but I don´t like cat. I'm agree about have animals at home in adequate conditions.

Submitted by Josep Anton on Fri, 16/03/2018 - 19:34

Hello, In Spain really there are a lot of people that have pets. The most populars pets are dog, but this produce a great problem of cleanliness in the streets because the animals have a shit and piss on the sidewalks and doorways of houses. Some people, that don't have any pets, complain that the owners of the dogs don't pick up the shit of theirs pets. There are about fifty percent what owners of pets that they yes pick up the shits.

Submitted by tryon on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 14:14

hello everyone! i'm a beginner. would you like Interactive with me?. i hope you help me to improve my english. my email is ----------@-------. about pets. i had a dog. when i was a pupils. i bought it from my neighbour. its intelligent and friendly. those were such happy time of childhood

Hello hathe,

It's great that you are so keen to practise your English. However, please remember that our House Rules ask users not to ask for or share personal contact information on the site. This is because we may have some users who are under eighteen years of age and must be careful with regard to data protection, privacy and so on.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Tomoaki Hachiya on Sun, 18/02/2018 - 19:14

I have a sad memory on a pet. I once had three finches in my house, and it was a cold winter morning. I forgot to bring the bird cage into the house the night before, and I found the two of them already died, the only one young finch was still alive and I hurried to bring it into the house and with my both hands, I held it and put it near the heater, but it beat its wings fiercely once and died after all. Since then, I never had a pet because having a pet means to take responsibility for its life, I don't have a qualification for that...

Submitted by mahmood alrawe on Mon, 05/02/2018 - 19:01

Hi, i'm new here. I'm stare with this episodes, and i want very much for this podcast, it's very useful for me. yes, i have a lot of obstacles but i'm study very hard to improve my language thank you for everyone here

Submitted by Dreeaml on Sun, 04/02/2018 - 21:45

Hey! I have never been in Britain but I would like to meet their way of life and pet's likes. In my country is very usual have a dog or a cat as a pet, they are the most popular. Personally, my favorite animal is the dog and I love all of them but my favorite one is the Golden Retriever. I live in an apartment so I can't have a dog... I hope in a future I could live in a house with a big garden to have a beautiful Golden.
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Submitted by alberto bastos on Mon, 05/02/2018 - 14:06

In reply to by Dreeaml

Hy Dreeam! I thinks is not necessary live in Britain For have a pet. They are usually sweet and our love for them don't have limits. I love pets. Minion( my elder cat)teach us love, attention e responsability and today i became a people friendly. I hope in the future which you have others Goldens. Bye.
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Submitted by alberto bastos on Fri, 02/02/2018 - 16:42

Hello! I have two cats. her name is Minion and "menina"( girl). They are incredible, and truly sweet. With them I am having to work hard that is loving. But it not easy. the Men need pay attention with te animals when these are pure and friendly the men destroyer the world. I have a question. What are the beast? The men or the animals? Alberto.
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Submitted by Saharamini on Thu, 01/02/2018 - 00:32

People in my country love animals and like to keep some animals as a pet. Dogs and cats are popular pets that people keep.My favorite pet is a pomerian dog that’s lovely cute and clever.I’m going to buy it next week.

Submitted by a.stockholm on Wed, 31/01/2018 - 09:02

my favorit pet is dog. I Think, they are really beautiful and loyal. But my son loves rabbits more than dogs. We have a White rabbit. the majority of people likes dogs here in Sweden.

Submitted by OlgaTi on Tue, 30/01/2018 - 19:38

I can't say that I am crazy about animals. I had a hamster and a parrot in my childhood. For me these animals were only as toys. My parents took care about them. I became older. I have a son and he dreamed about dog. Of course I bought a labrador for him. His name Buddy, he is only four month puppy. Buddy is a member of our family. But as for me it is very difficult and expensive to have such a big dog in a flat. You have to walk with it in any weather, you can teach and play with it, think about it health and so on. But my son happy and it is wonderful. Buddy is his best friend.