Second Chance Stories: Fernanda & Avena

Meet the first of our Second Chance Stories here on The Dogvine: Fernanda & Avena (@avena_the_batdog), an 11-year-old Malinois mix rescue from Mexico. Fernanda & Avena live in London, and this is Fernanda’s story about how she came to give Avena a second chance…

Second Chance Stories Fernanda and Avena - Rescue Dogs of London

Tell us about yourself…

I came to London 11 years ago. It was supposed to be a one-to-two year thing, and here we are still! I work in advertising. Before the pandemic, I used to go to the office every day, but now, I go once or twice a week. We (Avena and I) live in a one-bedroom flat in SouthWest London.

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Tell us about your rescue dog…

My dog’s name is Avena. She was found in the middle of a motorway in Mexico, trying to drink water from a puddle. A lady heading to a dog rescue home was driving by; she stopped and took Avena to her shelter in Mexico City. She was seven months old.

We suspect she was put in a rubbish bin, along with her siblings, as she had signs of canine distemper. The area where she was found is known for non-regulated dog breeding. So it looked like they were disposed of, as they would probably die anyway, and they wouldn’t have been able to sell them.  It breaks my heart. 

Second Chance Stories Fernanda and Avena  3

She clearly survived. I have never did a breed test on her, but the vets think she has a bit of Malinois in her…and something else.

What made you decide to rescue?

There are loads of stray dogs in Mexico, so it is common to adopt the dog that sleeps by your door. My family always did that. When I moved out of my parents, I really missed having a dog buddy, so it made sense to rescue one.

How did you choose your rescue dog?

Ha! Avena chose me. There were loads of dogs lined up in a park. The rescue house had brought them all there on a Sunday so people could meet them, walk them and fill in the adoption form. I was looking at them, and Avena came straight to me and jumped up to say Hi. The rest is history!

Second Chance Stories Fernanda and Avena  1

Tell us about the rescue/shelter you adopted from. 

It is called ‘Por los que no tiene voz’ (In the name of those who don’t have a voice). It is in Mexico, and they do a lovely job rescuing animals and trying to get them into the best family possible.

How easy was it to get your rescue dog to the UK?

There is a company called Pet Air, which is run by Melissa. They are experts in getting animals to any destination and love them to bits. Melissa helped me get Avena to the UK. The fee was higher than getting them from Europe to the UK, but it was totally worth it. Also, there are different ways now to bring them over that are cheaper and safe.

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What did you think about rescue dogs before adopting?

They are the best. Loyal, funny, smart and just want to love and be loved. All my dogs have been rescue dogs.

What do you think about rescue dogs after adopting?

I still think they are the best!

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What is your message to anyone who is thinking of getting a rescue?

Don’t think twice about it. Sometimes, we think we are rescuing them when they are actually rescuing us. Every day.

What are your favourite things to do in London with your rescue dog?

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I love taking Avena for long walks in parks, heaths or by the river. She travels on the District Line, buses, overground and trains. Anything too deep and noisy, i.e. the Northern Line, is not for her.

We once went to Scotland by train, and she slept all the way. We also like going to restaurants, pubs and shops. London is super dog-friendly, and I love that. There’s so much you can do with your dog!

Second Chance Stories: Fernanda and Avena

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Thank you, Fernanda and Avena, for sharing your precious Second Chance Story! We first met Avena and Fernanda in our local park when Belinha and Moleque were still with me, and Avena had, and still has, the most stylish collection of scarves & bandanas that she wears around London!

Avena’s is just one heartwarming story of the difference you can make by choosing to rescue a dog in need, and each story deserves to be celebrated. Together with Miss Darcy’s Adventures, we will continue sharing some of these wonderful Second Chance Stories from our Rescue Dogs of London Community over the next couple of weeks in the run-up to our inaugural Rescue Dogs of London & Friends Meetup on 12 May and National Rescue Dog Day on 20 May.  


Rescue Dogs of London & Friends Meetup

And if you would like to join us for the Rescue Dogs of London & Friends Meetup on May 12th, where rescue dogs, friends of rescue dogs and their humans will be coming together, read on…

V2 Rescue Dogs of London Meetup Instagram (LR)

The inaugural Rescue Dogs of London & Friends Meetup is on 12 May from 11 am, at the Queen Caroline’s Temple in Kensington Gardens. Tickets are just £20 (+ Eventbrite fee), and you can get yours on Eventbrite. 100% of the event proceeds go to two deserving charities; here’s what’s included with your ticket:

  • Plenty of space for sniffing, socialising & zoomies
  • Meeting new four-legged friends 
  • Making memories – included in your ticket is a photo of your pup (or you & your pup) taken by legendary London dog Photographer Andrew from Raven Imagery. Photos will be emailed to attendees after the Meetup.
  • Knowing your doggy social life is helping dogs in need, as 100% of proceeds from this event will go to two amazing dog rescues, ZEM Rescues in Greece (the Animal Welfare Association of Megara) who rescued Piccolina & Harbin Slaughterhouse Survivors in China where Lulu was rescued from. Every ticket sold and every contribution made directly impacts the lives of more deserving dogs these charities rescue, offering them hope for a brighter future.
  • Especially for the Rescue Dogs of London & Friends Meetup, you can treat your pup to delicious special edition Rescue Dog Cookies from Darcy’s Bakery.
  • Got a training or behaviour question? Respected London Dog Behaviourist and Trainer Emilia O’Hara will be at the meetup to share her expertise.
  • Plus, there will be surprises from our pawsome Meetup partners The Rockster PAWD DRINKS Biome9 & WagWorks and treats to take home with a brilliant Goodie Bag from Beautiful Joes, Wunderdog Magazine, James & Ella, Caboodle, Project Harmless & Pawer Water.

Don’t forget ALL dogs are welcome for this Meetup – rescues and friends of rescues, so we hope to see you there!


Our Partners for the Inaugural Rescue Dogs of London & Friends Meetup

Rescue Dogs of London Meetup Partners

With Thanks to our Meetup Partners

  • WagWorks: WagWorks is a new and unique concept challenging traditional canine care. Our premium membership club for dogs conveniently incorporates all aspects of care under one roof, all led by highly knowledgeable and passionate industry experts.
  • Biome9: BIOME9 has launched a revolutionary gut health test for dogs. GutDiscovery® is a simple, at-home test using pioneering science to analyse what’s happening inside your dog’s gut. It removes the guesswork from their diet and helps to support their long-term well-being.
  • PAWD DRINKS: PAWD DRINKS is a range of preventative and functional liquid health supplements for dogs that are scientifically designed to target common health-related issues.
  • The Rockster: Rockster quite simply has established a new standard in calibre of ingredients, dog nutrition and palatability never seen before in the industry. Hailed as “more than just food”, Rockster is the only Bio-organic dog food in the world that is certified as a superfood in its own right, having transformed the lives of many dogs.
  • Raven Imagery: Renowned and internationally published London dog photographer Andrew Richardson from Raven Imagery, with a long background of working with rescue dogs, has a stunningly unique way of storytelling through his canine portraiture. For the modern city dogs to the rescued jet setters.
  • Darcy’s Bakery: Darcy’s Bakery is an artisanal dog bakery specialising in catering for parties, events and brand collaborations in Central London. We make bespoke dog-friendly cakes, pupcakes, cookies, brownies and donuts.

And our Goodie Bag Partners

  • Beautiful Joe’s Dog Treats: Beautiful Joe’s offers a range of irresistible, completely natural, handmade treats. Whenever someone buys a bag of our delicious dog treats, we give some to a rescue centre. To date, we have given away over £700,000 worth.
  • Wunderdog Magazine: Wunderdog is an independent magazine for rescue dogs and their people. Published twice a year in London, Wunderdog covers international stories of dog rescuers and those who work every day to make the world happier and safer for our canine companions.
  • Caboodle: Delicious meals in daily boxes, perfectly portioned for your pooch. High in protein and with 100% natural ingredients, it’s doggie delight delivered!
  • James & Ella: We’re James & Ella, by James Middleton. A happiness and well-being company for dogs.
  • Project Harmless: Project Harmless offers the award-winning Harmless Poop Bag, made of medical grade, water-reactive, and non-toxic material. It can rapidly disintegrate in landfills and our oceans, posing no harm to the environment, marine and wildlife.
  • Pawer Water: Pawer Water is the new hydration supplement for your dog’s wellness. Our pocket-sized 4.5g sticks are packed with electrolytes to hydrate faster and 7 pawerful active ingredients to strengthen their bones, skin, and coat.
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