Harley had been gone for 4 months before I felt I was ready to fill the void in my heart. I missed having a little old dog to take care of. But it couldn’t be just any dog, it would have to be a dog that “spoke” to me.
I began my search early one morning (3 AM; I couldn’t sleep). I searched online for senior Chihuahuas in shelters and rescues all across the country. Whew, so difficult! My heart ached for each and every one of them. It made me feel sad, it made me feel guilty, it made me feel disloyal to Harley. The search also strengthened my resolve to continue the fight to bring an end to puppy mills; always in the back of my mind … if puppy mills didn’t exist, there would be 75% less dogs in shelters and rescues.
I’m positive I looked at more than 1,000 senior Chihuahuas, all needing homes. During this time, Fernando’s picture showed up in my search but I immediately closed it; his picture reminded me too much of Harley. A couple days later, still searching, Fernando showed up again … and again, I closed his picture. The next time Fernando’s picture appeared I thought, “Okay, I’d better read about this little dog.”
Fernando spoke to me.
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco was featuring Fernando. They knew little about him, only that he was found running in city traffic, was approximately 12 years old and he had some obvious health issues. Dan and I were discussing traveling to San Francisco so we could meet him. I contacted Muttville and they offered to fly Fernando to us in Colorado; he would spend a week as our ‘foster dog’ and we could determine if he would fit into our family. The truth is, Dan and I already knew that Fernando would become our boy. We just knew.
From the moment we first met Fernando he seemed to know he was ours. When we brought him home it was as if he had always been with us. He moved right into our pack of 4 dogs with no hesitation, no discussion. He was their brother … they were all perfectly content with the arrangement.
Like Harley, Fernando is a survivor. He has endured pain, fear and obvious abuse, but he’s okay now … and he knows it. A volunteer at Muttville told me that Fernando seemed “really grateful” and I told her that I was familiar with that feeling; I had experienced that from a dog before.
What led Fernando to me? I’m not sure. But I, too, am tremendously grateful.
-Rudi (Harley and Fernando’s mom)