Thomas + Hammie

Rescue Pup Plays Hard to Get until She Finds the Right Family to Love

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Thomas + Hammie

When I first met Hammie, she was hanging out by herself. She sat in the corner like she was in a dimly lit dive bar not wanting to be disturbed.

I decided to meet her and say hi anyways. I moved in slow, shuffling my Chuck Taylor’s, looking around to see if anyone else was making the same move. No one was; I did an internal fist pump and thought this was my chance.

"We didn't want to just any adopt a dog; we waited patiently for the right dog to adopt us."

We made eye contact and started off with the basic small talk. I asked her if she had ever been here before, how she was doing, what she thought of the weather, what she was drinking — you know simple things.

After five minutes, I got nothing but a big sigh, as she rolled her eyes and turned her head in the other direction, so she didn’t have to look at me.

I was cool with it though. I’ve been rejected many times, but I wasn’t going to settle for rejection this time. At least not right off the bat, I kept pursuing her. I thought maybe my questions were dumb, so I followed up with a new set. I asked her questions like, where she was from and how did she end up in a place like this? Still nothing. Just another sigh.

Then I brought up the “F word.” Her ears perked. I thought it was kind of inappropriate for this setting, but my last ditch effort worked. She immediately turned and looked at me and almost smiled. I asked her if she would like to go home with me and play some “Frisbee?” She accepted and as the saying goes “the rest was what dreams are made of.”

Since bringing Hammie home in 2012, our lives have changed forever. My wife had never owned a dog before, and she hit a homerun with this one. We didn’t want to just any adopt a dog; we waited patiently for the right dog to adopt us.

I have never had an animal turn so many heads and touch so many lives. She carries her own Frisbee everywhere, stars in commercials, baby announcements, fashion shows and donates her therapy time to my co-workers.


Hammie is always the first one to greet me when I get home, and I make sure she’s the first one I greet no matter what. It’s our tradition. Hammie made our family grow in more ways than one.

Add some love to your life. Learn more about adoptions at Petco.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Thomas Swafford won Austin Humane Society in Austin, Texas a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.