[credit: Dan Giannopoulos for National Geographic]

Land of the Strays: What Is It?

by | January 27, 2019

Maybe you’ve already heard about the cat islands in Italy, Japan, and Greece. If you haven’t, they’re basically stray cat sanctuaries that you can visit and volunteer at (also known as every cat lover’s dream job.) Costa Rica has something a little bit different. Founded by Lya Battle and Alvaro Saumet, Territorio de Zaguates (Land of the Strays) is a privately-funded, volunteer-run, no-kill shelter homing over 1,000 stray dogs. Although currently closed to the public, here is why you should keep an eye on them as they are hopeful to re-open to all sometime this year.

land of the strays
[credit: Dan Giannopoulos for National Geographic]

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Land of the Strays: What Is It?

An hour outside of San José and easily accessible via a special shuttle when there are organized walks, Land of the Strays is well known for their mind blowing dog walks. At these dog walks, you could have the opportunity to even bring your own pup along to hike with a herd of loving and adventurous stray dogs. When the sanctuary is open to the public, dates and times of the walk can be found on their website.

To make this place even better, the volunteers aim to provide the dogs with the best “rescue and rehome” experience. All dogs coming in are spayed/neutered and food shelter and other veterinary services are provided to all dogs at the sanctuary. An adoption program is also available to those visiting the shelter. Their mission is to “provide a home to all the dogs we take care of. We are a temporary shelter for hundreds of doggies seeking a second opportunity, and also a permanent home for others that probably will never find a family.”  If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer in the future, there are applications in both English and Spanish on their website.

Land of the Strays has been closed to the public for over a year due to unfortunate “infrastructure renovations imposed on [them] by the government… [they’re] hoping [they] can have everything ready and get the green light from authorities, so [they] can open the public [this] year.” The organization however still encourages donations in order to help speed up the process of re-opening.

Have you ever visited a sanctuary like Land of the Strays? Let me know in the comments below.

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