As if the stunning teal blue coasts or the cozy huts on the beach weren’t enough of an attractor, Costa Rica’s just found a new way into our hearts and further up our bucket list with the discovery of this beautiful mountainous sanctuary that shelters over 900 stray dogs. Quite possibly the largest sanctuary of its kind in the world.
Territorio de Zaguates, which literally translates into “Land of the Strays,” located in the mountains of Santa Bárbara in Costa Rica’s Heredia province is filled with hundreds of mixed breeds frolicking across the hilly region, as comfortable as they’d ever be. One can not only visit the sanctuary to adopt or volunteer for the organisation, but can also spend a casual day going trekking across the hills or cuddling with these adorable animals.
The organisation is completely privately funded and has been running for the past 7 years due to the humble work by its founders, Lya Battle and Alvaro Saumet. Since most of these dogs are rescued or abandoned, the organisation looks after each and every dog’s health.
The owners say, “First thing we do when a new dog gets here is spay/neuter, vaccinate and get rid of parasites. That’s priority, then we assess if the dog requires any other type of special treatment, put them in quarantine if necessary, then we move on to treat less urgent situations like skin conditions, malnutrition, etc.”
The dogs are also sterilised, given appropriate vaccinations, food and kept in an extremely friendly and playful environment. They are completely free to run or roam across the hills, which makes the space not only stress free for the dogs but the visitors who accompany them. The pups also get to spoil themselves with a housing area that has cozy bedding with feeding and bathing stations. There are clean water taps located across the property, that keeps the dogs hydrated after their regular runs.
Moreover, since the sanctuary believes in not discriminating the species based on their breeds, they name the dogs after their distinctive characteristics. So if you end up at these mountains before us, make sure you snuggle up close to “Chubby-Tailed German Dobernauzer” and “Fire-Tailed Border Cocker” from our side!