We've got a new dog, a chihuahua mix that Pam adopted from the SPCA shelter here.
Street dogs are common in Mexico, many of them so filthy and emaciated that they've attracted a major share of the vast store of gringo do-good energy that's always looking for an outlet in places like Vallarta.
The SPCA shelter is the project of Janice Chatterton, a neighbor of ours who turned one of Richard Burton's former homes into an upscale boutique inn and restaurant just up the hill from where we live.
A committed dog lover, she gives her gang of white miniature poodle mixes the run of the place, and we see her staff out walking them from time to time.
Pam had also contacted Mexpups, the other big dog rescue operation in town, and they sent an interesting couple over to do a home visit so we could get on the eligible list.
She's a teacher and her companion is a non-denominational minister whose day job is conducting marriage ceremonies for Vallata Adventures. That's the biggest of the local businesses that provide boatloads of tourists with whale watching, zip lining, snorkeling, sunset dining and, I now realize, wedding services.
We were glad to meet them, but by the time they reached our house, Pam had already gone out to the shelter with Janice and come back with Chiquita.
She definitely looks like a chihuahua, but she's got the body type you see everywhere in Vallarta, very long torso and short legs. My theory is that some Austrian princeling with a dachsund came here with Emperor Maximillian, his horny pet got away from him to run riot through the countryside, and now every Mexican mutt is a weiner dog.
Chiquita is seven months old, they told us. She's sweet and affectionate in spite of her hard times on the street. She was starving when somebody turned her in to the shelter. She still looks like her own X-ray, so her name fits. It means something like "petite."
Laurel thinks we should rename her Queso, which means cheese, because of her color. We're trying it on. Elizabeth will probably be the one to decide. She makes all the big decisions around here.