Land of the Strays


Oh, how I want to take a blanket with me and lay down on it in the midst of all those loving dog faces! It’s like a place that belongs in my dreams has come to life in Costa Rica. I could spend days here just saying, “hi” to every dog.

Territorio de Zaguates, “Land of the Strays,” is a privately owned piece of land in the Costa Rican mountains. At first glance it would appear as though it has been overrun by stray dogs. That’s not too far from the truth. A safe haven for homeless and abandoned mutts, Land of the Strays takes in the dogs that often are cast out or neglected.

In a world filled with the popular purebred, the mixed breeds tend to suffer. This is by no means the dogs fault. Their only crime was being born of an unsanctioned union. If anyone is to blame it would be the humans of their parents who failed to get their dogs fixed. Humans put this curse upon them and the humans of Territorio de Zaguates are trying to remedy the “issue” of unwanted mixed breeds.


Land of the Strays has over 700 dogs roaming around in open areas with plenty of room to run, designated feeding areas, multiple squishy beds, play areas and even an old donated stroller that’s quite popular among the dogs. With over 700 you might wonder how they are adequately cared for. Being a place that accepts donations only, they have a team of dedicated volunteers who care for, play with and clean up after all of the dogs. Every dog that you’ll see is an adoptable dog. They call themselves a “No-kill shelter.” So some dogs will stay forever while some may leave with a new family.

Promoting “mutts” in all their greatness, Land of the Strays gives each one a unique breed name. Some of them are, “Shaggy Shepherd Dachspaniel,” “Chubby-Tailed Dobernauzer,” “Bunny-Tailed Shepterrier” and “Alaskan Collie Fluffyterrier.” They are spayed or neutered when they arrive, along with receiving vaccinations and any other care they might need. So you’re guaranteed a healthy animal of your choosing. The only problem you’ll have will be seeing each one and trying to decide on who to take home with you.

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Julie Antonson

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