Tommy now lives in San Jose, California
We adopted Tommy in 2017. He had lived in a foster home where he would bark at every little noise. Since he lived in an apartment, he could hear the noises of the neighbors when they come home late at night and would bark nonstop since he didn’t know what those noises were . Meanwhile, I managed to convince my parents (a second time) that we should get a dog.

We adopted our first dog, Blazey, from Farah during her time at Vafa Animal Shelter. I made a deal with my parents to adopt another dog, and it took two years for me to complete my part. Once I finished, we reached out to Farah, who asked us if we would like to see Tommy. Of course we said yes, and we arranged for him to come to our house.

When he came, he barked at every little noise. He barked at the sound of the chair scraping against the wooden floor. He barked at the howling winds shaking the branches of the trees. He barked at my footsteps that echoed throughout the house. He was terrified and insecure because of his time on the streets.

He had also had depression and needed to take medication. Luckily, he was slowly waning off of it by the time he came to our house. We decided to adopt him to help him heal, trust, and relax with us. But we also made sure that he would feel safe in his surroundings. We live on top of a hill where the majority of the sights and sounds are just of nature: birds chirping, skies free from the haziness created by gas, hills of tall, greenish-brown grass.

It took a few weeks for him to finally calm down and learn that he was safe in our home. When he first came to visit us, he wouldn’t let us touch him, he wouldn’t lay down, and instead would be tense and alert.

But now, two years after we adopted him, I feel like he is the laziest and silliest dog I know. He jumps onto my parents’ bed at 8 and falls asleep while all of us are still downstairs. When I take out the yoga mat, he immediately pushes me away and starts rolling around. He jumps onto the table during dinner and tries to eat our food.

If I person comes to our house and they haven’t seen Tommy before and I tell them that he was adopted, there is a chance they wouldn’t believe it since he acts like a dog that has never been through any hardships. And I’m proud of that. Thank you Tommy and Blazey for bringing us the joy and laughter every day and for helping me relieve stress after I come home from school.

— Ysabel Chen