Back in 2006, Lya Battle and her husband Alvaro Saume adopted a couple of stray dogs from a shelter. Now, in 2019, they have over 1300 dogs in their dog sanctuary,” Territorio de Zaguates” – The Land of the Strays.
Lya, a Costa-Rica based animal activist and always had a special love for all animals, but the adoption woke something in her. She couldn’t ignore the hungry, dirty, miserable strays in her country. So she tried helping her, starting with a stray named Oso. “He was a big dog and very cute but he was very stubborn and misbehaved; of course when people came to see all the dogs for adoption, the first one they noticed was handsome Oso. Everyone wanted him, and they’d take him home, but return him soon after. This happened to him seven times”, Lya writes on her site.
She knew that Oso’s options were going back to the street or ending up in a shelter where he’d eventually be put down. She also knew that Costa Rica is full of dogs just like Oso, that aren’t ready to be adopted. So instead of giving up, she opened her sanctuary.
Unlike other animal sanctuaries, Territorio de Zaguates isn’t a row of closed cages, It’s a huge farm where the dogs roam free. A huge team of volunteers helps feed and care for them. A lot of these dogs will never be adopted – they’re too wild, old or injured. But in Territorio de Zaguates, they have nothing to worry about – they’ll always have a home as long as the sanctuary exists.