How Fernando Came Into Our Lives

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)

Fernando 8-19-16 (4)Fernando 8-19-16 (9)






  1. Fernando, he makes me cry too! I love this baby, maybe because he reminded me too of Harley. Thank you for loving him and keeping him!

    • I knew the instant I saw him on your site that he would be for your family.. I too wish I could have all the ones searching for homes ..

  2. Harley in spirit helped you decide what was best for you now. A little Chow Chow to fit in with his sisters. Harley new they would except this tiny abused Chow in the family. Hope all goes well. I wish there was an easier way to stop these puppy Mills and all the abuse these pups indore in their short lives.

  3. Harley sent him to you. He wants his work to continue through Fernndo. Hardly can never be replaced but Fernando can carry on. So glad you have him

  4. I appreciate your love and concern for the older dogs. It has helped me think that is a great direction to take for future animals….
    I came late to your sight, so I don’t know if I saw Harley while he was with you, but I love your memories of him!

  5. Rudi, I understand.We are Dilly’s new family. We had just adopted our 4th dog, 2 from NMDR when Harley posted about Dilly. We were full, and not planning to add any more. I watched Dilly linger on their Web site for a week. Nothing happened. Everytime I saw her picture, she talked to me. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I knew before our meet and greet that we were going to find room for her. We have had her now about 4 months, all our dogs are special, but Lil Dill is really special to us and we are so happy she feels the same.

  6. I believe with all my heart that some animals come into our lives for very specific reasons. I am sure that Fernando was meant to be your boy. Time will tell just how your bonding will unfold to nurture all of your souls and make you all better and stronger, both human and canine. I am so very thankful you will now walk your path together.

  7. He just looks so very happy in every picture you’ve posted of him. What a joyful little guy! Love his spirit!

  8. Thank you for loving Fernando and for all the good vibes you are sending back to Muttville!

  9. Harley would be overwhelmed with joy that you chose Fernando! He wants your heart to be filled with love again, to replace the sadness within your heart for his loss. His soul knows you will never forget him, but is happy that you can start to move forward again in your life. What a blessing it was to know and to love sweet Harley!

  10. A special place in heaven for humans like you. Harley would be proud and will live on in the eyes and hearts of all .

  11. Such a cutie. No dog can replace another, they just can create their own warm place in our hearts. Welcome Fernando!!!!!

  12. Brings me to tears. This was meant to be. I just wish more could open up their hearts to senior dogs and getting rid of those puppy mills would make a huge difference.

  13. I LOVE Fernando!!!!!! Keep posting about him, please. Cannot take Harley’s place but he is right next to him in my heart.

  14. He really does look like Harley!! Perhaps Angel Harley was giving you and Dan a nudge in Fernando’s direction.

  15. Harley led you to Fernando as he knew you and Dan would love him and give him the home and family he needed. Not to take Harleys place but to bring joy and happiness to you again. Love him like we Love Harley

  16. That was like with my AJ. I lost my Doxies, Daisy on a Thursday and got a call on a Saturday about a little senior chi dog living out of a dumpster. I said no, they said he had failed all the homes they had tried him in. Pound didn’t open until Monday. Could I try for a couple of days? When I pulled he, he looked like, there you are. He is my best friend. Goes everywhere with me.

  17. You and your husband are awesome and amazing! Fernando is such an adorable dog and it’s obvious that he had a hard life! Not any more……….I’m sure he is spoiled rotten and I hope he gets to sleep with you. Thank you and bless you for adopted this precious boy.

  18. You aren’t being disloyal. Harley would want you to save another senior. Fernando is beautiful and Muttville a wonderful rescue.

  19. Harley led you to Fernando! He knew you were at a loss and he wanted you yo smile and he wanted Fernando to have the best mom in the World. Thank you for rescuing him. He is precious.

    Sent from my iPad


  20. Rudi, Fernando will bring you and Dan so much joy. As I mentioned before, Harley guided you toward him to fill that big void in your hearts. No other dog can replace Harley but Fernando will bring a special joy from his own unique personality. Bless you, Dan and the Taylor family of dogs.

    • He Is An Absolute HANDSOME Little Guy! Harley would be extreme lyrics pleased you gave this little boy a good life for what time he has! Thank you mom and dad.j

  21. What a lucky and handsome boy fernando is to have captured your hearts……l always wonder..”Who rescued who”…happy life bud..and thank you for loving this boy…

  22. Rudi, I think you and Dan did the right thing with Fernando! You have grieved so much these past few years with your own personal issues and you need to stop beating yourself up. Harley wouldn’t want you to suffer anymore. When I first saw Fernando I knew I knew he was a keeper. You have so many more things to do and you can’t do this unless you feel good inside. Rudi you and Dan are so good together as parents and that is so rare. I know I keep saying I’m going to make the trip and I am, it’s what I have wanted to do for so long and I want to adopt from National mill rescue, that’s my goal and I am going to see it through. I think Fernando is a gift from God and he is here for a reason. Even though he does look like Harley he is his own sweet self and you know that. Please know you did as much as you could do for our sweet Harley and he didn’t suffer, he was like no other dog and he wanted you to know that. I hope I haven’t offended you in any way. You and Dan are the reason so much has been done to save as many dogs as you have. Hope you will think about what I have said to you. Please know you are doing the best you can. Love, Mary Ann.🐶❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  23. What a sweet boy! Isn’t it absolutely unbelievable how events come together and suddenly there is a new little dog in your life! I just bet Fernando has a lot to show you in the years to come!

  24. Fernando is helping you heal and move on from the loss of our dear Harley . Harley had so much love inside that he would have welcomed Fernando as his brother. #HarleysDream

  25. So glad you found Fernando. He needed you just like Harley did. So proud of you and Dan for loving these precious babies that no one else wanted. God bless you both.

  26. Rudi & Dan… Fernando belongs with you, we all know it and you know it. Things happen for a reason. Harley has changed all of us; in a good way and because of him and you change is occurring in a positive way regarding horrid puppy mills.I look at Fernando and there is something special with this little fella also. Not Harley, never Harley, his message is still strong and alive but something in which time will tell. Even if this little guy just gets to finally enjoy a peaceful life going forward then that is the something special… God bless you,Dan, the girls, Fernando and your family. Please keep sharing, I must say I truly feel he is all out little baby now and I cant wait to see how “he grows”.. .Love Ya

  27. Fernando is a very lucky fur baby.. You needed him, he needed you. I’m sure Harley is so happy that you are taking care of Fernando. They are so much alike. God Bless You for what you do.

  28. Wow I cried reading this Rudi but tears of Joy:))
    Harley sent Fernando to you no doubt about it.
    I’m very happy because he looks like he needs you and the world knows he’s in wonderful hands.
    I too have a wonderful chihuahua Gangster and I love her to the moon and back:)))) She’s my soul mate.
    I loved Harley very much he was a mascot for the world and he touched a cord with me from day one!
    Cheers to the new addition to your family he’s one lucky boy xoxox

  29. Really happy for you and Dan and Fernando, Rudi. You have yet again opened your arms and home to help a dog in need. You are such special people.

  30. Really happy for you and Dan and Fernando, Rudi. You have yet again opened your arms and home to help a dog in need. You are such special people. Harley would want you to continue to help other senior dogs. Hugs and love to your family for all you do. Fernando welcome.

  31. God Bless Colorado! Amen to us who live here and rescue!!! 🐶🙏🏻😭🐶

  32. Don’t feel guilty when it was Harley that led you to Fernando, he knew the little guy needed the same love and care you gave him.

  33. It might sound crazy but maybe Harley is speaking to you through Fernando in a package you can relate to? Just a thought.
    Anyway Fernando is one lucky little dude!

  34. What a sweet story! Thank you for adopting a dog that would most likely never be adopted by most ppl. I’m sure he is very, very happy and grateful. God Bless you and your family, including Fernando!! 🐾❤️

  35. He’s beautiful I love senior dogs ….
    We have a pack of 7 It has been 8 for years. Each tie one leaves us another seems to be in desperate need.The last came as Gracie was dying of renal failure. The vet tech asked me about anyone wanting to save a little 7 yr old rat terrier. I said I would get her in rescue. The next day I saw her cowering in a cage. The Amish wanted her gone either put to sleep at the vet or they would shoot her.Her name was Frisky She came home with me and our sweet Gracie. Frisky became Annabelle and Gracie died four days later …..
    I like to say Gracie gave Annabelle her spot
    We now know why they called Annabelle Frisky lol
    I have a shadow glued to me 24/7
    Thank God for senior dogs Bless you and Frenando and Harley and Gracie must be buddies in doggy heaven for sure.

  36. HE. IS. PRECIOUS. We take the ones no one else wants, too. I’ve never given it a second thought. Old, ugly, broken, hairless, toothless, blind,deaf…give them to me, please! 🙂 we love our old babies, some of which are also puppy mill rescues. Love your story and your heart. I say it my way: “Something about that little face.” My husband always knows that means a new addition to our family. Congratulations on your new addition!

  37. Look at his little face! Oh my. I’m so happy you found him, or whichever magic puts things together just right, put you all together. ♡

  38. I’m so happy Fernando came into yours & Dan’s lives. He looked like he needed someone. He’s a happy boy now!! Harley would approve. The girls needed a brother again. I hope you have Fernando many more years in your lives to love & cherish him. 😀❤❤❤🐶

  39. No one will ever replace Harley. Harley helped expand your hearts even more than they already were. Fernando is such a sweetheart. I am glad for all of you that he is there with you.

  40. Rudi, I am so glad you have Fernando!! Fernando like Harley has a voice through you!

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