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We recently came across a fascinating article sure to capture the imagination of any animal lover. It’s a profile of a remarkable woman named Lya Battle and the amazing refuge she has provided for hundreds of homeless street dogs in Costa Rica. This special place is called Territorio de Zaguates (kingdom of strays).
Writer Bob Shacochis recently traveled to the sanctuary for Outside magazine and tells the story of this unique woman and the haven she has created. Lya is called the Mother Teresa of Mutts…and for good reason! Deep in the lush mountains of central Costa Rica, all kinds of mutts, mongrels, and strays have the run of Lya’s 142 acre family farm.
Lya grew up with a deep love and respect for all living creatures. She has a special place in her heart for stray dogs most in need of help…the more shunned and sickly the better. She began picking up strays off the streets, bringing them to the vet, and then to her house. The number of dogs grew and she decided the time had come to move them to the remote farm.
The sanctuary, which accommodates hundreds of dogs, began to come to people’s attention. While some people began dropping off unwanted dogs at the property, many others started donating money, food and supplies, and their volunteer time to the sanctuary.
Lya is a tireless advocate for the humane treatment of the stray dogs of the world…and all living creatures. She notes that countries like Costa Rica, which thrive on the ecotourism industry, have a special responsibility to care for all of their animals…especially homeless pets.
While some of the dogs at the Territorio eventually get adopted, even the ones deemed “unadoptable” can live in comfort and happiness at the farm for their entire lives.
Interested in learning more about this amazing place? The Territorio de Zaguates has its own Facebook page, so you can keep up with all the canine happenings, and watch some great videos of the dogs running free!
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Adorable images via the Territorio de Zaguates Facebook page!