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Source: Voice of America


Now, the VOA Special English program "Words and Their Stories".


Americans use many expressions with the word "dog". People in the United States love their dogs and treat them well. They take their dogs for walks, let them play outside and give them good food and medical care. However, dogs without owners to care for them lead a different kind of life. The expression, to lead a dog's life, describes a person who has an unhappy existence.

treat them well: los tratan bien; for walks: a dar paseos; let them play outside: les permiten jugar afuera; medical care: atención sanitaria; however: sin embargo; without owners: sin dueños; who care for them: que se interesen por ellos; lead a different kind of life: llevan una clase de vida muy diferente; to lead a dog's life: llevar una vida de perros;


Some people say we live in a dog-eat-dog world. That means many people are competing for the same things, like good jobs. They say that to be successful, a person has to work like a dog. This means they have to work very, very hard. Such hard work can make people dog-tired. And, the situation would be even worse if they became sick as a dog.

dog-eat-dog world: mundo competitivo (un perro muerde a otro perro); like good jobs: como los buenos puestos de trabajo; to be successful: para tener éxito; to work like a dog: trabajar como una bestia (como un condenado, como una mula, etc. según cada país); very hard: muy intensamente; such hard work: el trabajo tan intenso; can make people: pude hacer que la gente se sienta; dog-tired: rendido, exhausto; would be even worse if: sería aún peor si; sick as a dog: muy enfermo;


Still, people say every dog has its day. This means that every person enjoys a successful period during his or her life. To be successful, people often have to learn new skills. Yet, some people say that you can never teach an old dog new tricks. They believe that older people do not like to learn new things and will not change the way they do things.

still: a pesar de todo; every dog has its day: todos tenemos un momento de gloria (cada perro tiene su día); enjoys: goza de; new skills: nuevas habilidades, destrezas u oficios; yet: no obstante; you can never teach an old dog new tricks: adaptarse a las nuevas tendencias, cambiar de costumbres (enseñar nuevos trucos a un perro viejo); will not change: no cambiarán; the way they do: la forma de hacer (las);


Some people are compared to dogs in bad ways. People who are unkind or uncaring can be described as meaner than a junkyard dog. Junkyard dogs live in places where people throw away things they do not want. Mean dogs are often used to guard this property. They bark or attack people who try to enter the property. However, sometimes a person who appears to be mean and threatening is really not so bad. We say his bark is worse than his bite.

compared to dogs: comparadas con los perros; unkind: poco amable, descortés; uncaring: indiferente; meaner than a junkyard dog: más feroz que un perro guardián; throw away: descarta; mean dogs: perros feroces; to guard: custodiar, vigilar; bark or attack: ladran o atacan a; who try to enter: que intentan ingresar a; mean and threatening: perverso y amenazador; his bark is worse than his bite: perro que ladra no muerde (su ladrido es peor que su mordedura);


A junkyard is not a fun place for a dog. Many dogs in the United States sleep in safe little houses near their owners' home. These doghouses provide shelter. Yet they can be cold and lonely in the winter.

junkyard: galpón, depósito de chatarra; fun place: lugar divertido; safe little houses: casetas libres de riesgos; their owners' home: en la casa de sus dueños; doghouses: casetas para perros; provide shelter: dan protección; can be cold: pueden tener frío; lonely: solos y tristes;


Husbands and wives use this doghouse term when they are angry at each other. For example, a woman might get angry at her husband for coming home late or forgetting their wedding anniversary. She might tell him that he is in the doghouse. She may not treat him nicely until he apologizes. However, the husband may decide that it is best to leave things alone and not create more problems. He might decide to let sleeping dogs lie.

doghouse term: palabra "perrera"; angry at each other: enojados, enfrentados; might get angry at: podría enojarse con; wedding anniversary: aniversario de bodas; might tell him: podría decirle; to be in the doghouse: estar castigado, no ser bien visto; she may not treat him nicely: es posible que ella no lo trate bien; until he apologizes: hasta que se disculpe; to leave things alone: dejat las cosas como están (esperar que pase la tormenta); and not create: y no generar; to let sleeping dogs lie: no hurgar en la herida (dejar tranquilos a los perros que duermen);


"Dog" expressions also are used to describe the weather. The dog days of summer are the hottest days of the year. A rainstorm may cool the weather. But we do not want it to rain too hard. We do not want it to rain cats and dogs.

the dog days of summer: los días más calurosos y más largos del verano; the hottest: los más bochornosos; rainstorm: tormenta; may cool: puede refrescar; to rain too hard: llover intensamente; to rain cats and dogs: diluviar, llover a mares.