The following is shared with permission of Gabby Rudolph! Check out her blog here: https://gabbythegringa.wordpress.com/
Before starting, I would just like to credit my title to this website: http://stories.barkpost.com/woof-other-languages/.
Hahaha. I wasn’t sure how to translate, “woof woof” into Spanish, so there you go (as well as 14 other languages, if you were curious). And as far at 703 perros, that’s about how many dogs I was around on Saturday! Another weekend, another trip. *cue crying bank account and relaxing Sundays full of blogging*
ALSO! I am working on being more tech-savvy … and have succeeded! I made a Vimeo account to share some of the videos I’ve been taking here in CR as well. You’re welcome. Disfrutelo!
Some of you may have seen the video that went viral on FB, but el Territorio de Zaguates has reaches a level of international fame for it’s goal: a no-kill shelter that fosters love, respect, and fun for dogs that would otherwise die on the streets.
The park’s name Territorio de Zaguates translates to Territory of Mutts.
I am 110% sure that something like their park could never happen in the U.S, but I am still pretty excited about the fact that I had the opportunity to visit (especially since I woke up at 5am to go). From downtown San José our group took another bus to Alajuela and then a private taxi service to the park! Funny story: the girl Becca who planned the trip ended up sleeping in and having to Uber all the way to meet us – look for her famous quote in another blog post coming soon, haha.
We ended up sitting with a gal who is spending 6 weeks in Costa Rica with a pharmacy school rotation from Denver, and we ended up getting lunch with her later – so fun to meet random people traveling, visiting, studying, like us gringos. Even then, almost halfway through the program and it’s fun to say that we are living here and recognize how much we’ve been able to do/see while in CR, as well as being able to tell the taxi driver that YES, all of the English-speaking kids sitting in the back of the taxi talking about American politics do in fact speak both English and Spanish ( … take that other tourist group).
Alajuela is a city, but also another province (I live in the San José province), and being so, we were able to get out of the Central Valley a bit, which means: HOT HOT CALIENTE, but also incredible views! The “walking tour” with the dogs was about 3 hours, super hot (did I mention this already?) and dusty, and definitely more of a hike than I thought it might be. Even then, absolutely worth it to hike through shaded forest areas with a stream, rolling hills that we climbed up and tripped/almost rolled down, as well as open fields for the dogs to run around and play in.
I knew the hill was steep when the group of dogs that was before running/trotting everywhere started to walk next to me, panting just as I was. There were a few shady spots where you could find the staff guides with their loyal group of followers before continuing on. We would also stop at some of the fields to play/sit with the dogs, but as we would walk around the guides would be literally RUNNING around/through the your group and you’d have to stand your ground and try not to be knocked over by hundreds (I’m not actually being dramatic here, hahaha) of dogs.
This is one of my favorite photos from the day.
*sorry that I can’t center the videos – I am just happy it all worked out to share them!*
Once at the top of the hill/mountain/park, some people rode cardboard down the hill while the rest of us sat and hungout with the dogs that weren’t happily chasing the reckless individuals (my friends Becca and Sydney included). The hike was so worth it for the views and it always amazes me to see the valley that San José is in and the surrounding mountains/volcanoes. Costa Rica is so beautiful. Woooow.
Most of the dogs in the park were medium-sized, average looking mutts. Many dogs were old, some young, skinny, limping, missing an eye, losing hair, had minor sores, and exactly those that you would find on the street. That being so, the park isn’t just a park, it’s a shelter where you can adopt any of the dogs – they each have a name, are neutered, and are up to date on their vaccinations. They are fed everyday, always have access to water, and allowed to roam the grounds most of the day, as well as 24/7 staff that provides medical care, etc.
If you want to adopt a dog, they even will ship them to Canada, the United States, and a few of the outlying U.S Islands. *hint hint wink wink at my mom & Megan*
When we got back to the start, we immediately got drinks and enjoyed the shade – still surrounded by dogs, just a bit less dehydrated. The park runs off of donations and spends about $500 a day on food, as well as the only paid staff being the staff that take care of the dogs round the clock. The park’s Facebook page provides the best/updated information if you are ever in Costa Rica and would like to visit, as well as more general information that I am unable to provide here! As someone who’s family has adopted/rescued most of their animals (excluding 1, I think?), shelter animals and adoption are definitely something that I support. Some of my best memories have been with the animals we’ve had growing up in my house: Bear, Bailey, Buddy (yes, we chose all B names for awhile), Benny, Milo, and Paco (not a B name, and not adopted, haha!).
A great cause and a wonderful experience with some good (paw-less) people.
When I texted a few of my friends last night, I sent the photos and said,
“I saw a few dogs today.”
Like I mentioned earlier, there are about 700 dogs at Territorio de Zaguates right now, but including our two Bulldogs and Chihuahua at home … about 703.