Gazing at you with eyes full of tears, our new permanent foster has arrived.

Meet Marin.

To put it in perspective, Marin is the smallest dog we have ever had. I had my eye on a sweet, grey-faced pitbull, but a set of unexpected circumstances put Marin on our radar, and we couldn't say no. Well, we could, but we don't roll with no. We like "Yes!" and "How do we make it work?" and "Stop rolling your eyes, sweetie."

Marin is not a dog. She is a chihuahua. The reputation of the species is that chihuahuas believe themselves to be Dobermans with more attitude. Marin is a shivering bowl of Jello.

With her background, she has every reason to be fearful. Found roaming the streets with her brother, it took rescuers weeks to catch her. The only reason they did was her brother died, and she wouldn't stray far from his body. She has spent the last eight years at a rescue because she was initially deemed to be a high flight risk. With time though, the rescue became her home, and the little dogs there her comfort.

Marin has became more and more brazen as the years pass barking at dogs 50 times her size...through a window. She would still cower to the floor when approached, but eager for human affection, she would softly pad her way towards your hand for a pat. My son and Marin have had quite a bond since we started at this rescue. He was one of the only people who could get her to sit in his lap. He credits this to the saggy pants he wears. So when Marin's last little doggy buddy was adopted out and Marin was left lonely for companionship, the rescue dropped a rather large hint.

Enter our family.

I have a bit of a cycle I go through whenever we take on a new rescue. For the first couple of weeks to a month, I wonder if we are the best fit for the animal, worry constantly about them, and worry about existing pets' jealousy levels. I'm eight days into my cycle. Marin shivers a lot. There are a lot of things she has never been exposed to...keyboards, dogs who bolt down their food and look for other pickings, rakes, stairs, human beds...every day brings new things to be scared of. Tomorrow should be a good day as it is housework day so the vacuum will be a great hit.

Some things give me hope...her understanding that good things happen in the kitchen, her attachment to one of our dogs (she follows Lizzie everywhere), and her love of pats. The things that concern me are her dainty appetite for her breakfast and dinner (hand-feeding required!), her first night here appearing to look for escape routes in the backyard, and her shivering for no apparent reason. It's okay. We're all nice here!

Waiting for cheesies.

Last night wondering if we were the best family for this scared little dog who has just had her figured-out world snatched away again, my retired rescue friend called. She eased my worries about our suitability for this scared little girl and said what I already knew, but needed takes time.

I'm looking forward to seeing her tail up and curled up over her back and her feisty barking returning. My signal that all will be well will be when I see her on the back of the couch with my two dogs yelling at those who dare trespass their sidewalk. Until then it will be a lot of attention, a lot of cheese, a lot of new experiences, and a lot of time...all of which we have in spades.

Welcome to the family, Marin!

Naptime bonding.

Say yes, and you'll figure it out afterwards.

- Tina Fey

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