It was the middle of the night during a fierce tropical thunderstorm, I heard a weak scratching at the cabin door. I peered out the window but couldn’t see anything on the porch in the black night, even with the landscape erratically lit by flashes of lightning. We took inventory – all the pets, kids, and adults were inside. More scratching, a faint push. Who was out there?

We were in one of the rustic cabins on our property in the jungle. Three quarters of the property is surrounded by barbed wire, thick tropical vegetation, and a deep creek; the remaining quarter by impenetrable bamboo. The only way in or out is through the gated driveway, which really, any half-way agile person could easily overcome.

I wasn’t imagining a thief on the porch, though. My overactive imagination was pretty convinced that it was a ghost, or maybe a zombie. Arturo came over to back me up, we cautiously opened the door and saw some sort of tiny animal shivering on the stoop. “This is where I get glamoured into inviting the tropical vampire squirrel into our house,” I thought. I bent down to discover an impossibly small pile of skin and bones, covered in hundreds of fleas, looking up at me with pleading eyes. I got closer.

“It’s a puppy!” I exclaimed as Lea came running and snatched her up. “Pobrecita, she is almost dead!”  She took her to the sink and started the first of many baths to clean off all the brown mud and kill all the fleas that were eating her alive. We weren’t sure she was going to make it.

The puppy recovered almost immediately and it became very clear to all of us that she is awesome: she listens and obeys, she prefers going to the bathroom outside, she hardly ever barks or whines, she plays well with everyone, the vet thinks she is one of the sweetest dogs ever, and she is healthy. All that awesomeness in a tiny 2-month old dog.

Meet Malacrianza Bartola, chihuahua mix, survivor, thief of hearts.

tiny chihuahua mix puppy on brown porch in Costa Rica

Mali for short (like Molly in English). She really is that tiny. 2 kg.

Arturo named her Bartola. He is from Mexico and tells me that Bartola is a slang word for an intelligent, refined Mexican lady that wears furs around her neck… or something like that. I named her Malacrianza. Malacrianza comes from the most badass killer bull in Costa Rica.

She made it very clear to us that she is staying. We already have a community cat, we might as well adopt this awesome community dog. But she can’t live in the wild like a cat. Who is going to take ultimate responsibility for her?

Lea and Arturo gave her a test run, but Phil Collins the Dog almost humped her to death. So, no.

Mali is now on a trial run at my house. Another dog was the last thing on my to-do list, but so far she is all pros and no cons. She is quiet, nice, and travel-sized. She has a positive influence on Mocha! She is low maintenance and has willing dogsitters for trips and nights out without her. She’s not uber-dependent on me like Mocha, so it would be easy to find her another loving home if I ever had to. Although why would I ever want to? I kinda wanna take her with me, everywhere.

chihuahua mix puppy face with big ears

I can stays here?

So tell me: 1. Would you have opened the door? 2. Would you adopt this puppy? Why or why not?