You are here

Alberto's new neighbours

Alberto took one look at his new neighbours and knew that his life was going to get more difficult. There they were, two of them, as big and as noisy as their car – and smelly and stupid as well.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the story and do the exercises.

Alberto took one look at his new neighbours and knew that his life was going to get more difficult. He watched them arrive in their big, noisy car and watched them get out. There they were, two of them, as big and as noisy as their car – and smelly and stupid as well.

'Terrible!' he thought. 'How am I going to put up with them?' He went to tell Mimi. Mimi was the friend he lived with.

'Have you seen the new neighbours?' he asked her.

'No,' she said. 'Who are they?'

'Two of them. The ones we don’t like. Big and noisy and stupid and smelly. Just like they always are.'

'Oh no,' said Mimi. 'How awful! Still, I suppose we can just ignore them.'

'I suppose you're right,' agreed Alberto. 'We'll just have to ignore them.'

For a few days, then, Alberto and Mimi tried to ignore their new neighbours. When the neighbours went out for a walk, Alberto and Mimi didn't say hello to them. When the neighbours were in their garden, Alberto and Mimi went inside. This was OK for a few days, but, perhaps inevitably, things didn't stay this way …

One day, Alberto woke up from his sleep to find one of the neighbours in his garden. 'Mimi!' he shouted. 'Have you seen this!? He's in our garden!!!! Look!'

'How terrible,' said Mimi. 'Let's call our staff and make sure they get rid of him immediately!'

Mimi went off to call their staff. Two minutes later, Alberto and Mimi's head of staff was out in the garden trying to get rid of the unwelcome neighbour. 'Go on!' he shouted. 'Get out of here! Go home!' The neighbour didn't say anything but gave Alberto and Mimi's head of staff a dirty look, then he went back into his garden. Alberto and Mimi felt better and then asked their head of staff to prepare their lunch for them.

However, it wasn't enough. Over the next few days, Alberto and Mimi often found one or other or both of their new neighbours walking around their own garden. It was terrible. To show how they felt, Alberto and Mimi went into their neighbours' garden at night, when the neighbours were inside, and broke all the flowers.

The next morning one of the neighbours came to talk to Alberto.

'Hey!' he said. 'Hey, you!' Alberto ignored him, but he continued talking. 'You came into our garden last night and broke all the flowers!' Alberto didn't say anything but gave his neighbour a dirty look. 'Now I'm in trouble!' continued his neighbour. 'They think I did it!'

'Who are "they"?' asked Alberto.

'My owners, of course,' replied the neighbour.

'Owners!?' said Alberto. 'You have "owners"?'

'Course we do,' said his neighbour. 'Don't you?'

'Oh, no,' replied Alberto. 'We have staff.'

Alberto went to tell Mimi that the neighbours didn't have staff but owners.

'That's not a surprise,' said Mimi. 'That explains everything. That's why they're so noisy and smelly and stupid. We need to make their owners become staff.'

The next day, Alberto and Mimi were actually very friendly with their new neighbours. They tried to explain how to make their owners become 'staff'.

'Listen,' said Alberto to them. 'It's very easy. First, understand that the house is your house, not theirs.'

'And second,' said Mimi, 'make sure that you are always clean.'

'Make sure they give you food whenever you want!'

'Sit on the newspaper while they are reading it!'

'Sleep as much as possible – on their beds!'

'And finally, try not to bark but to miaow instead.'

But it was no good. The neighbours just didn't understand. After a week, they gave up.

'It's no good,' said Mimi. 'They'll never understand – dogs have owners, cats have staff.'

Chris Rose



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


Although the purpose of this story to practice language, its message is not as good as its aim. There is no owner of owned between human, we need each other's' services and help and when we are doing so we exchange and benefit each other's interest.

"Dogs have owners, cats have staff."
The narrator is a cat he's clean and has staff who serves him, but on other side his neighbor is a smelly dirty dog because he hasn't staffed he has just the owner.

First, I was difficult to understand the story. But when I understand, it was a great story and got many lesson learnt.

It's a great text. You shouldn't judge the other person without knowing. Such behavior can cause negative consequences. In addition, you must ensure that the other person can see your work in order to make your own wishes. But if you can't show your work properly to the other person, you will always be secondary.

It was an interesting text. We shouldn't think badly about people without knowing them. We should give the opportunity to get to know them. It is wrong for people to misbehave to other people for their own benefit and tell others that it is a good thing. People revert to their old behaviors because it is not easy to change themselves due to their personality.

Cats have owners and dogs have staff! Nice story!

Story is cute.First,I thought there were people who don't like their neighbours.But,in conclusion dogs have owners and cats have staff.It was the clue to understand the story.It was between cats and dogs.

At first,I really understand the meaning of this story.After reading until three times, I understand and smile heartily.This stories gives about the nature of pets.This is so lovely!

Very nice and funny story. I really enjoy it.

While I was reading at the beginning I just said to myself what a mess of neighbors, people live like they like, but at the end when mimi said “dogs have owners and cats have staff” I just laughed, that was a super funny and enjoyable story.