Imagine a place where the sun shines year-round, the average annual temperature is 73°, and more than 900 dogs with breed names like “Chubby-Tailed German Dobernauzer” and “Fire-Tailed Border Cocker” roam free across the lush landscape.
Sound like Heaven? Well believe it or not, it exists right here on earth! Territorio de Zaguates, or “Land of the Strays” is a privately funded, volunteer-run organization in Costa Rica.
Every single dog at this unique shelter is available for adoption. Each is given a name as well as assigned their own personal “breed” based on their unique characteristics.
At Territorio de Zaguates mutts are celebrated for their one-of-a-kind traits in an effort to dispel the myth that purebreds are somehow more valuable. Experts believe putting a positive spin on their mixed status helps these special dogs find homes.
After a popular Costa Rican television show featured several artist renderings of Territorio de Zaguates’ “new breeds” the public response was explosive! The Alaskan Collie Fluffyterrier became a Facebook sensation. Billboards and advertisements depicting the dogs appeared in urban areas bearing the message “When you adopt a mutt, you adopt a unique breed.” Soon, interest in visiting and adopting the pups was higher than ever before.
When a potential adopter is interested in rescuing from Land of the Strays, they aren’t limited to searching through thousands of online photos. The public is welcome to come out to the gorgeous, sprawling property and meet the dogs in person!
Volunteers exercise the pups by leading frequent scenic hikes, and prospective pawrents are invited to participate. The opportunity to interact with the dogs in an open, stress-free environment allows adopters to truly get to know and bond with their new pet.
The dogs of Territorio de Zaguates spend most of their time basking in the sun and enjoying the cool Costa Rican breezes, but they also have access to a modern indoor facility. The housing area features cozy bedding for all the pups plus feeding and bathing stations. Troughs with fresh flowing water are located all over the property to keep active dogs hydrated.
When you visit the Land of the Strays there is no pressure to adopt. It is a no-kill shelter, and the dogs are extremely well cared for and happy. However, I imagine it’s hard not to fall in love while hiking with these gorgeous, friendly pups through their free-range paradise!