If you love dogs you will love this place, founded 8 years ago, Territorio de Zaguates is a non-profit, no-kill, volunteer-run shelter in Alajuela, Costa Rica. It is home to over 700 stray dogs. Every single dog is available for adoption, and it is given a name based on their unique characteristics.
I had been in Costa Rica for about two months and I had never heard about this place until a friend and I came across their Facebook page one afternoon. Once we looked into it we were intrigued, it was doggy heaven, on Earth!! We couldn’t wait to go visit!
The drive there was about an hour long. When we got there we waited outside the gates for about twenty minutes, then one of the girls that works there came outside and gave us a couple of instructions. I remember seeing a couple of dogs peeking from under the gates right before we got to go in, then when they opened the doors we began to walk up some hills. As we walked up to the shelter we began to see dogs roaming around, the closer we got the louder it got. Finally, when we got to the building we were amazed!
Dogs, dogs, dogs, everywhere! To my surprise, I overheard two of the girls talking and one of them said “we’ll let the rest out once they begin the hike.” When they had told me that we would see hundreds of dogs I didn’t actually believe them, I mean, I knew it was a shelter that housed over 700 stray dogs, but I never thought I’d physically get to see THAT many dogs.
During our hike we’d make a couple of stops, so that everyone would catch up, and take pictures. On our first stop I remember sitting down, and watching all of those dogs, running around, playing, and bonding with all the visitors. At this point I still hadn’t quite wrapped my head around the fact that I was in doggy heaven.
Every time some dogs began to pick a fight a volunteer would run in order to distract them. We even got to meet the owner, she told us all about the property and how it all began! Truly an amazing, selfless woman. We also got to experience a couple off stampedes! The hike lasted about an hour and after it was over we got to buy some drinks and souvenirs.
I recommend everyone to go visit this place, it is amazing! Not just for the fact that there are hundreds of dogs, but because the work that those people do is truly admirable! The people that go, get the opportunity to interact and bond with some happy, playful dogs, people can even take their own dogs, and for those looking to adopt they get to do it in an open, stress-free environment.