BY: M. TOMOSKI
In Costa Rica’s Heredia province, the Territorio de Zaguatas, or the Land of the Strays, is a dog lover’s dream and home to nearly 1,000 free-roaming mixed breeds.
Founded by a local couple, Territorio de Zaguatas is a nonprofit shelter that operates entirely on donations. According to Inhabitat, the shelter receives 80% of their food from the Super Perro dog food factory. The dogs are free to explore the sanctuary in year-round tropical weather with troughs of fresh water placed all over the property to keep them hydrated and an indoor area with beds when they need to rest.
Though the site has recently become a tourist attraction where visitors can hike while surrounded by a sea of fur, all of the dogs have been vaccinated, spayed or neutered and are ready for adoption.
The Land of the Strays was founded as a no-kill shelter where there is no pressure to adopt and interaction with the dogs is encouraged in order to fight the notion that mixed-breeds are less desirable than pure breeds.
Lya Battle, a co-founders of the shelter, told the Daily Mail: “I would often come across dogs on the way home. Those that looked in need of help, I would take home for as long as it took to nurse back to health, sterilize and find families for. Many were lucky, but many adorable dogs were overlooked and turned down because they simply lacked desirable qualities. Too big, too old, too energetic, too lazy, missing a limb, missing an eye.”
Battle took in these unique creatures, giving each a name and their own personal breed like: Chubby-Tailed German Dobernauzer, Fire-Tailed Border Cocker, and Alaskan Collie Fluffyterrier.
Advertisements for the shelter can be found across the country telling potential visitors that, “when you adopt a mutt, you adopt a unique breed,” and spreading Battle’s message that all dogs deserve a loving home.
If you are a dog lover looking to visit this canine dreamland, you can check out their official Facebook page for upcoming events or call (506) 8883-9337 to arrange a shuttle, which the shelter provides for its visitors.