– George Wilson, Content and Marketing Coordinator Press Office at EmmanuelleChaix
Imagine walking through the incredible countryside of Costa Rica. Taking in the spectacular views as you walk up the foothills with the sound of exotic birds filling your ears. It’s a beautiful scene and one that sounds impossible to top.🌴
Now imagine that the bird noises are drowned out. Slowly at first, but the sound rises, as almost 1000 smiling canine faces charge towards you. Their tongues hanging out and tails wagging. Welcome to the world of Territoria de Zaguates.🐕
In 2005, it was estimated that Costa Rica had more than a million stray dogs on the streets. Without the infrastructure in place to care for the Abandoned animals, homeless dogs were put down. This is what spurred Lya Battle and Alvaro Samut to create their no-kill sanctuary. Battle says: ‘I would often come across dogs on the way home. Those that looked in need for help I would take home for as long as it took to sterilise and find families for.’ However, often Lya struggled to find new families for her rescued pups with many being ignored due to perceived undesirable qualities like missing an eye, being too old or not being a pure breed.
Eventually, Lya found herself with 100 stray dogs in her small back garden and it soon became apparent that her house simply wasn’t big enough. Instead of giving up, she resoluted to her principal of ‘Never turning a dog away’, Lya moved the unofficial operation to her Grandfathers farm, an hour away from downtown San Jose.
Now the sanctuary is looking to become an official non-profit in Costa Rica. The operation has grown to massive proportions with 6 permanent staff, some doggy Day Care volunteer staff, and a hefty dog food bill!!! The dogs are cared for by vets, fed regularly, and are taken on nice long outings around the farmland. These dog walks are open to the public, which serve as a chance to meet the dogs and promote adoption. There is no pressure to adopt though and people of all ages are invited to spend time playing with the rescued pups. You’re even allowed to bring your own dogs along for the walk.
So if you find yourself in San Jose and you are looking to spend a day surrounded by cheerful dogs (who wouldn’t want to do this?!), then pop along to Terriotoria De Zaguates and join them for one of their outings, like group dog walks, and dog care workshops, through the beautiful Costa Rican countryside.
If you want to support the sanctuary and help Lya and Alvaro in their mission to never turn a dog away, then check out the website and donate what you can.