Feeling election stress? Today's stories about a man and his dog may help.
Timothy Braun was on a run through the Texas heat. When he stopped at a local animal shelter for a drink of water, he was taken by a dog who stared at him with pointy ears and mismatched eyes — one brown, one blue. He had no intention of adopting a dog, but “out of curiosity, or God knows what” he looked into the dog’s folder. It said that he'd been abandoned by an old woman. Her reason? “Dusty keeps following me around the house.”
On today’s episode, we follow Dusty and Timothy’s relationship through two stories, seven years apart.
- “Four-Legged Reason to Keep It Together" and "She Wanted a Man With a Good Job Who Was Nice to Animals" by Timothy Braun
Timothy's stories story were recorded by Audm. To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Yeah, yeah yeah,
what my dog Rico!
It doesn't sound like a happy sound, but it's not a happy sound.
Sounds like someone and pain sorted. It sounds like he's in pain or something but he's actually like you,
nurse's hat outfit, set up moment of pure bonding in July
and how I go as long as we go out.
No one more
I have sent now thank you for sharing that sure, so
Today we actually have two essays by the same author. Timothy Braun in
What about his relationship with his dog?
Have you ever had a dog?
No I've actually never had any pets, really no pets at all. No, I had I had goldfish, but I can't say I was particularly close to any of them. I don't remember their names. They didn't serve as like
sort of a rallying, you know a central focus of the family or anything at all. They were like a gross spectacle in their tank.
Well, our dog Rico, our he started
serves as the glue that holds our family
gather when things when we went.
I'm getting a law or irritating each other and during the pandemic. Theirs.
Plenty of that and it's nice to have this sort of
creature in the house that everybody can love equally and sort of removes
the stress from the situation,
Verizon that's, really lovely and makes you
Be in the moment, I guess in a way that few things do
do that for a lot of people. They just become sort of absorb and expel love effortlessly,
so here's tombs first essay, four legged reason to keep it together. It was published
August, twenty twelve
Second, essay is called, I don't want to give anything away, but it was seven years between the two pieces and second essay is called. She wanted a man with a good job who is nice to animals.
Both essays are read by warder by the rainy
When I met the dog, he was sitting in a cage to my left as I entered
local animal shelter near the running path. I frequent in downtown Austin Texas. I had no intention to adopt a dog. I only stopped for a drink of cold water. I don't run to stay healthy. I run to stay thin and lately to blow off steam.
has engaged to be married and the relationship with my fiance was getting frosty.
With a lot of yelling and blame being tossed around the volunteers. The shelter was, it was overcrowded with a high kill ratio the highest in its history. I was told.
as patrons walked into the caged areas, the dog and their immediate left was next on the chopping block. If no one adopted the dog after that was next and so on. He's half husky, half australian shepherd a girl.
Is the dog in the second cage looked at me with one blue eye and one brown eye while wagging his tail.
From my run, Texas HEAT, I got a cup of water
and sat under a tree with the dawn. He was friendly, but didn't listen to a thing I said set. I said, and he liked my face come I said and he walked away.
After a few minutes, he curled up next to me and put his nose against many. I thought maybe he would be a good running partner.
I'm a low rent playwright and professor, I travel.
I have little time or money for a pet, but out of curiosity or God knows what I took a look at the dogs file.
It been abandoned by an old woman. Her reason
as keeps following me around my house.
at least he wasn't dangerous. I place too
cold and dusty. While I thought about how much damage he could cause my life, I need a pet deposit for my apartment, chew toys, food dishes and shouts forum. I teach twice a week in San Antonio, so I would need a dog walker for those days someone I could trust with a key to my place. The dog was nice, but having a dog would be like having a child. Again, I thought maybe he would be a good running partner. The next day came and I had an important deadline for a grant and better things to do like buy food. The dog would find a home. I went to the grocery store only a mile from the shelter and promised myself. I would drop by his cage, only to say goodbye
I, when I picked him, he was curled in a ball on a rubber card sleeping and shaking as he dreamed, but awoke quickly with one blue eye and one brown eye. He looked at me stay here. I said
I'm getting you out, he didn't turn out to be much of a runner
to eat every dead burden. Piece of trash she could find around my complex. His favorite was pizza, crusts one they got sick
What is a sweet smelling, brown substance in my rug and then passed a Snickers bar wrapper that night.
People in my neighborhood would ask if he was a wolf
a men walking peoples to too many people asked if he fights he seemed fearless. So I started calling him danger.
Days later I met my friend John, at an all you can eat. Indian buffet Jon had had a trying week. He had bought a house, his wife was pregnant and their dog was gravely ill after eating a tennis ball that was now stuck in his stomach. An operation to save him would cost thousands.
Our lunch date was the first time I'd left my new dog alone and my imagining
She began to run wild. I decided to start a bank account for doggie emergencies, medication
Surgeries or any unforeseen tragedy I called at his college fund, but I came,
I'm. A Finn letter was in the mail. A grant I'd been awarded a grant. I needed to pay. The bills had been taken away for a lack of funding. I wanted to drink and punch the walls, but the dog didn't care. The dog wanted to go outside smell things, poop and play with me. He licked my face as a crime
I gave me some peanut butter snuggled with them in front of a television that night I couldn't drink in front of him.
I couldn't drink in any case because he needed me to get up early, so you could walk and it pizza crusts. The dog kept me grounded
I went through my.
Insane? I were fighting by railways, fighting
but she invited me to her family home near Houston. Mary fully
with Massa hoping our relationship will get better. Her mother asked that we keep
the dog confined to a room with an uncomfortable white tile floor, because
this. We used every excuse. We could to take the dog to the only dog park within thirty miles,
beyond, and I never fought around the dog or the dog park
of Christmas morning. I realized I forgot to get the dog gift, but we escaped to the park and he played
older german shepherd that limped owned by an old russian man every Chris
is Sasha, and I come here to have bones. He said she is my best friend
She is my only real friend Andrew
exactly what he meant.
I imagined he was a former russian spy or Ex soviet scientist who defected here during the Kennedy administration to make miracles and build rockets to the moon. Here you take this said the russian pulling a bone from his coat pocket. It is a Christmas present from me and Sasha. She is too old for bones now, danger come and thank him.
I said they ignored me while wrestling with SARA. Two days later we got back to Austin and I bought a bed. Since I was thirteen. I'd always slept on a futon mattress I threw on the ground. I went to IKEA and
And something low to the ground, so my dog could get in easily, even when he is old, like Sasha. This was compensation for that tile floor. He had to sleep on.
A year later, my fiance told me she was pregnant with another guys kid. She had done nothing wrong. Wait, stop fighting almost stopped speaking. We ve been on a break. I was,
kept telling myself. But when I found out, I wanted to drink and punch the wars about, didn't care. He wanted to go outside and play and we did and if we hadn't, I would have drank myself into the ground danger licks my face. I cried
Snuggled were watching television two days later there a banging on our door to two in the morning a man screaming for Carlos
I told him he had the wrong place and if he didn't leave, I was calling the cops.
The man ran away,
Danger was nowhere to be found.
They only found him behind my old sofa trembling and people
ask if you are a wolf, I said so much for fearless so much for danger. The next morning. I call John and asked him who is right.
State broker was it was time for real home in a better neighborhood, at least for my dog.
or like the idea of buying a home. It seemed like tying a bag of wet concrete to my ankle quickly. I
Thanks didn't like the idea of me. Buying a home either
enough ammunition to buy condo. All I want,
was a small quiet place with windows low to the ground, so danger could see.
while I was away teaching, I broker
and exactly what I'd ask for complete with a dog park on the premises. My friend Michael repainted,
place for us. I even bought an IKEA sofa that was low to the ground, so we could watch tv together in comfort and ease. I didn't even have to dip.
the Dogs college fund.
I have a heart murmur now:
I can't run the way I used to
Pizza every Friday night, when my dog and I watch tv together, I call it movie night on the dog. It's my crusts
in ever makes it through a whole movie. He falls asleep with his nose against my me shit
King as he dreams,
when it's time to move from the sofa to the bed, I have to call to him D'Asti come, and he does. He only.
I finally realized
when I use his real name. Ooh moon now is the perfect time for Puerto Rico, discover hidden waterfalls in the heart of a tropical rainforest bask in the water.
Of white sand beaches explore magical bio, luminescence, bays, save our world famous cuisine, while sipping local rum and celebrate five hundred years of vibrant culture in San Juan, the oldest city in the United States. Even better, you can experience at all without a passport see for yourself why Porter Ego is called the heart and soul of the caribbean plan. Your visit at discover, porter ego, dot com. I love my boyfriend and I often.
lay stalling me together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes, when I open up scowling duty- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own- I feel a little betrayed in ferry may have happened.
I have one friend who I will say
in the screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it. J, a c k, p o t
I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at an why times, dot com, flash games
And here's TIM second essay,
Seven years later and twenty nineteen
I need a man with a good job, who is
it's the animals
stay here and guard the castle. I would say to my dog dusty every time I left
Over the years his eyes, one blue one Brown had become washed. With gray his sight was failing and his hips were becoming tight. There was hardly a garden
When I came home, he no longer greeted me at the door, but would raise his nose and welcome. I gave him peanut butter for his bravery, sometimes with painkillers, to help with his hips.
eleven years earlier, I adopted dusty danger dog his full name from the
town, Lake Animal Shelter in Austin,
then he and I traveled the country in my bumper Sticker Toyota pickup visiting twenty eight states
or putting two hundred ninety thousand miles on that truck,
during our ears and asked and dusty became a local legend helping to raise our
of dollars for nonprofit organizations such as Austin, Bat Cave and the Fusebox festival.
A monetary donation to the nonprofit profit dusting. I would take
someone's dog on a special date, and I would write an essay about it for the donor base raised a
surprisingly large amount of money for this.
Austin's mayor proclaimed August seventeenth, dusty danger, dog day
citing dusty's, meaning
contributions to the city and people of Austin, with volunteerism. Fundraising and
legged ambassadorship for the arts, environment, education and health.
on a personal level, dusty became the manager of my life. He
We are in the morning with a link to my face when he ate aid. In the middle of the day, he forced me to turn off my computer and go for a walk
I enjoyed the sun on my face
wildflowers. We shared sandwiches and pizza and watched comic book movies together, dusty never cared. If I changed my clothes, I would read to him from my favorite book.
The little prince lines like you are responsible forever for what you have tamed. I had those words tattooed to my arm.
dusty. Tell me everything I needed to know about life.
but over the years they been something missing. My friends, Ben and Rachel
insisted. I join a dating app too.
Banned my horizons, that's how they met
but I love the idea
want to expand my life. I had a dog a place to live a pickup truck smothered in bumper stickers, but out of curiosity or God knows what are you met them? I created a tender account for the picture dusty, my purse,
while picture no one matched with me until Rachel explained that I was swiping in the wrong direction. The first time I swiped right, I matched.
On my date with Elsa. We had salad
Calamari she was shy, lovely and as a person with diabetes, checked her blood sugar. When food came on our second date, we drank wine bowled at speakeasy.
And talked about dusty and her cat story and gray and Oscar Wilde on
date, Ilsa held my hand and share
The chief been assaulted in New Orleans in June years ago, as a result June, makes her sad and so does nor let a town she loved and loss.
I'm dusty and I had come to love and our travels as a landscape architecture works with plans, water. She doesn't like comic book movies and watches the whole marcher. She makes me eat
so sprouts which are surprisingly tolerable and pizza, with
see everything was safe and there was never a compromise.
but with I had to listen and negotiate
He also knew how to manage her life and she made me change,
Sometimes she made me change my clothes after a year,
Dating Elsa, began pushing for marriage, an idea that terrified me, I'm not afraid of commitment, I'm afraid of divorce, a
I was also afraid of losing Elsa. She said it's difficult,
for an entrepreneurial woman in her thirties to find love with someone who has a good job and is nice to animals. We had a back and forth like playing chess.
for every argument I made for not getting married and giving up my perfect life. She had a better counter argument. She used words like us, and ours.
Words. I previously reserved for my relationship with dusty money,
Elsie said if I wasn't gonna be whether I had to let her go so she could find someone else.
as much as I love my dog, my perfect life. I didn't
The losers are especially knowing I was about to lose dusty, whose health has deteriorated to the point where he could barely walk.
The next morning I told dusty, as usual
stay home and guard the castle. I was.
driving to the University of Texas at San Antonio, at five hundred and thirty, a dot m but lecture about subjectivity and causality, but I was hit
behind, by what I think was a drunken driver.
The collision launched my truck at seventy.
Cost per hour into a cement barrier. Wreck was ripped to pieces. The force of the impact peeled two of my bumper stickers from the tailgate
If it weren't for the airbag, I would be dead, as the paramedics cut me from the truck. All I said was take care of my dog. Take care of
dog take care of my dog.
in that moment, coughing from Airbag Dust
None of this was worth anything unless
something more to live for
so I designed an elaborate week long wedding proposal.
included a writing class rock, climbing and a
at an urban winery after Ailes has said yes,
she moved into what is now our common bringing her cast Dorie, who became fast friends with dusty mapping together in sharing food.
My goal was to marry in June, so Elsa could reclaim that month with a fond memory.
I asked dusty to be in my wedding party
We can tie my tie. I thought Bell said I:
history for small appliances and dishes everything changed two weeks before
and dusty caught his paw on the rug as he tried to get up from his now for Dorie? He had the floor.
And whimpered I held him and gave him peanut butter with painkillers. I looked at it.
She stacked wedding gifts in our office and then he looked at me. His eyes said it's time I took dusty for one last walk, so he could feel the sun on his nose. I had treats and launched a comic book movie together. The vet gave him drugs.
Dusty died at home in my arms, his nose on my knee only days before else, and I got married.
ass. He closed his eyes. I whispered I'll guard. The castle, wrapped in blankets, placed him in a basket and a White Van took him away.
within minutes. I was lost pacing, the living looking out the window for the White Van to come back, hoping the vetted made a mistake,
wishing everything could return to the way weighted been
If I wanted to hike or swim to take my mind off dusty, I couldn't all I ask: is you smile for
Is it also set, as our wedding approached, we had been taking place for a first dance to welcome California stars. The solemnly first dares to in my kitchen, makin, hardly shuffle my feet.
I went to pick up does ashes at the funeral home
also gave me wildflower seeds to plant. In his name, I placed a zurn
back seat of my new car and belted it in my job by our favorite pizzeria. Our favorite part
a favorite. Everything was in Austin
as we drove. I thought I saw dusty shape in a cloud.
I knew he would always be with me.
on the day of the wedding there. Let a team of true believers to Town Lake are far from where I adopted dusty to plant those wild flowers. I boxes.
We gave him a twenty one. Kazoo salute five hours later after my groomsmen tied my tie and I stood before friends and family,
that's my best man read from the little prince ending with you all
responsible forever. For what you have tamed, I thought I had been responsible for
but really he had been responsible for me
and now he was passing the torch to Ilsa. My new partner.
Four smelling the wildflowers
but the sun. On my face. I said I do
hey. How are you today, I'm good? How are you doing fine
So how long have you been married now?
and a half and how's it going so far, it's going great
went into lockdown actually was
Nothing that really not help the relationship out, because our work schedules before
I going to go down. Lockdown were very different. I get up very early in the morning and
also would be at work until eight o at night, or something like that. We actually after talk with you.
and see other poor more than just one or two hours of the day and she's pretty nifty. I think I did ok,
it's been good, I mean for a lot of relationships. This is, has not been a positive, a net positive, this being trapped together, but for you it has been the out. Its solution for the first year of marriage is a lotta loosening as well
haha and we've had a lot of time to listen to each other. So it's it's been a positive year and so do you and also have a dog together now funny. You should mention that. But since dusty has passed away, sir.
People were trying to hook me up with a dog, and in early August I was contacted by a rescue group that they said we have a dog in Lockhart Texas that we think you'd really get along with, and so
I told Elsa one day says: I'm going to drive to Lockhart about thirty miles away from Austin and it's small town is known for it's bbq. It's really like a barbecue capital. If you will of Texas, they have for classic truly great bbq places. So there are other reasons together. Oh yes,
well on Monday I drove down, and I interviewed a dog if you will and got some brisket came home.
And then on a Tuesday. I brought also with me to have her interview, the dog, and we got some brisket and came home.
On Wednesday I drove down, and I picked up
named dog. We decided to name brisket now, lives with us as funny and brisket and has been with us for almost three months now. We're currently training
and we had to get a dog together. That wasn't just something that I could do. You don't buy myself down. They had to be done that we could both clearly get along with, and she made a very good first impression and have had
Elsa like the dog is slowly but surely I think that brisket is becoming more of Ilsa Dog, really yeah,
really good job of snuggling, I'm more of the the person who has to take her for a walk and stop her when she wants to go after a squirrel or something like that
but brisket is really learning how to snuggle up in bed with her and for various country, no scratches and rubs. And what not?
they're getting along really well going going back to dusty. You talk about this garden of wildflowers in dusty's memory. Is that a place that still exists with those flowers
is out of place. You go back to the. I do go back every once in a while I'd say it's on a trail that I hike. Often the Texas Hill Country, wildflower situation in April is gorgeous
They're all over the place and
I do see the bluebonnets every spring.
There were a lot of pictures of him rolling around in ugly bonds, LW and, while TIM, it's been great talking to you. Good luck with everything. Thank you for having me take care to stay here
Modern love is produced by Kelly Prime and HANS Beto and edited by Sarah Samson and Wendy Dour music by Dan Powell. This week's essay was written by Timothy, Braun and bred by Eduardo Ballerini, special thanks to Julia Simon, nor Color, Mehemet Giovanni, Laura Kim Bonney work on our new Drummer SAM Dolnick, Pori Sica, and also to Ryan Wegner and Kelly Rogers in that autumn,
the executive producer for New York Times Audio is LISA Tobin
and then Jones, and I Amelie thanks for listening, we'll be back next week with more modern love.
Hear that video of Rico howling one more time, not really
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.