Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

Dogs at the Territorio de Zaguates sanctuary in Costa Rica (Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate)

(Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate)

In 2003 Costa Rica banned the euthanasia of stray dogs and instead turned to spaying, neutering, and sanctuaries. At the Territorio de Zaguates sanctuary, the dogs — more than 700 — are free to roam the countryside during the day and have access to ample food, fresh water, activities, and vet care. At night they get safe, comfy beds in one of several buildings on the grounds. All are available for adoption.

Territorio de Zaguates, or Land of the Strays, is located in the Costa Rican town of Carrizal de Alajuela. It is privately funded and staffed by volunteers.

Makes you wonder if some of these dogs ran away from home just to gain admission to this canine paradise.

(See photo essay at The Week.)



Categories: International

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30 replies

  1. Fabulous initiative. I read about this a few weeks ago via Paul (Learning from Dgs) blog, and was stunned.

  2. I love your last sentence. (and will be singing that Rawhide song all day now).
    There are a couple of small refuges in the US like this – one small one is run by a couple on quite a few acres not too far from here. Funding something like this is an issue (any millionaire music, sports, movie people out there?) Realistically this is a great way to make sure dogs are happy, well adjusted, socialized, in good health and condition, and ready for adoption.
    Very cool idea. Hope it gains ground.

    • Looks like nothing but play, play, play. Sure beats being locked up alone in a cage all day, getting more and more depressed, hoping someone will come along and rescue you.

      • Shelters and rescues know that the “new arrival” animals are usually adopted first as they haven’t become depressed and hopeless. Our local animal control has an army of volunteers that come by and walk dogs and play with them out in the dog yard trying to keep them perky. (and get a little basic training in with them, too). Big groups of dogs teach each other acceptable “dog manners” which I never really saw until wild crazy Molly joined a playgroup in a big field. Dog packs insist on order and the dogs learn it and get along. Steadied Molly down and made such a difference. The kids/trainers in charge always laugh because dogs each have their special best friends who they like to hang out together. If you watch them it looks a whole like like a preschool bunch on the playground. Free play for dogs is important not just for burning off energy, but to learn how to get along – which seems to transfer to people. Who could have guessed?
        This sort of refuge is the best idea I’ve seen in a long time.

        • Shelter dogs here, at least at the better shelters, do get lots of attention, play time, walks, etc. Plus it allows the shelter to observe and evaluate each dog’s temperament. And a lot of the small breed-oriented rescue groups place the dogs in foster homes until they are adopted. They’re always in a loving home, never in a cage.

          I took Annie to the dog park several times in the first year I had her, thinking she’d love running and playing with other dogs. It saddened me to see that she was tentative and shy, avoided the larger dogs and any group of dogs, cowered under my bench several times, and once even resorted to fear biting when pressed by a group of three or four big dogs. I finally decided the stress was not fun for either of us and stopped going. Given time in a large group like the Costa Rica dogs, I’m sure she’d eventually have found her place and relaxed. Instead she’s stuck with me, an owner who’s as introverted as she is.

          • My Coco was in a shelter for 2 months or so before I got him, he spent 23 hours each day in a cage about the size of a dishwashing machine, when I got him he was nervous for a few days but he soon can around , lots of kisses and cuddles from me and he is now a healthy well adjusted dog, now all I have to do is get that way myself! XD

            • He’s lucky to have you, and vice versa. A mutual admiration society. Or something like that.
              (Annie was about 9 months old when found wandering alone in the east Kansas countryside. Could have been pretty traumatic if she was out there very long. I’ve always thought that explains, at least partially, why she’s always been so tentative and insecure.)

    • Lol. I swear Tosca was out for a walk on her own and saw Partner as a better option 😀

      Rollin etc, I remember I couldn’t remember the words for a blog post and you put me right. Think I called it Riding. Great song. How old are we?

  3. Too bad we can’t think of a way to treat homeless people, dementia patients, and our aged with as much thought.

  4. Hopefully these dogs become happy.

  5. Why on earth would these dogs want to be adopted? I know they are our best friends but give up paradise to be stuck with a human being/? c’mon! XD

  6. Perhaps some dogs, like people, want to know they’re special to a human and not just one of the pack… A dog might crave more one on one interplay, especially if they had it before coming to the refuge. Just a theory. The refuge does seem to be a wonderful solution.

    • Since they are pack animals by nature, I imagine they’re pretty content. But those that had homes at one time might very well be craving that same attention again. Or at least be missing the one particular home they once had.

  7. Same idea can work for felines. Our neighbor is known as “The Cat Lady.” She takes in strays, has them neutered, and then feeds and houses them. There’s not much demand for adoption, so most stay with her until death. At the moment, there are about 10 residents. They are free to roam the neighborhood, which includes several wooded areas, and are fed every morning. Apparently groups of cats take on tribal practices. They all gather at feeding time, but will not eat until “Eddy,” a large black and white, takes the first bites from the food bin!

    We think our neighbor is providing a great service, and most in this area agree.

"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance." ~ Plato

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