[LIFE ★★]



(P1) Dear Graham Norton,

(P2) I recently lost a cat quite suddenly, and I am struggling to MOVE ON. I am very sad that this lovely little soul is gone, and am having A HARD TIME feeling better. Life doesn’t feel the same without my little friend.

(P3) Lots of people don’t understand why I feel so strongly about the death of an animal. They point out that I’m lucky it wasn’t a person that I cared about. Of course that is true, but I cared about my cat very much and put a lot of love into the relationship. I’m just finding it hard to GET MY HEAD AROUND the fact that my cat is gone.

(P4) Thank you for taking the time to read this.


(P6) Dear Anonymous,

(P7) Something you loved deeply has vanished from your life, so of course you are sad. How long the GRIEVING process takes is very VARIABLE, so the sadness may last for a while yet. We love our pets differently from family members or friends and part of that is because we know they will probably die before us. Our time with our dogs or cats is precious precisely because we understand it is short.

(P8) As humans, we go through most of life understanding our own MORTALITY. But animals don’t. We are the keepers of that secret. We know each sleep may be our last, but a dog, perhaps fortunately, can’t comprehend that.

(P9) Of course, living a life UNENCUMBERED by thoughts of death means that our pets, in general, lead very simple, happy lives. It’s one of the reasons they are such a joy to be around.

(P10) You are, of course, correct when you say that many people don’t understand your grief, so don’t talk to them. Share your feelings with LIKE-MINDED souls. I’m sure a simple search online for pet BEREAVEMENT will reveal many sources of SOLACE and practical advice for moving on.

(P11) And, when you are ready, you can welcome another animal into your life and through something as simple as a wagging tail or a purr, you will know happiness again.

(P12) Sincerely, Graham Norton

WORDS: 358



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you ever lost a pet? Was it difficult for you?
  3. Do you prefer dogs or cats? Or do you like both?
  4. The writer of the letter is having a hard time finding people who understand him. Have you ever had that problem?
  5. Graham Norton is a British TELEVISION PRESENTER who is WELL-KNOWN for his love of animals. Who are some famous television presenters in your country?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Move on
  • A hard time
  • Get your head around
  • Like-minded
  • Television presenter
  • Well-known

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