Notes from a Park Slope Dog Walker: Territorio de Zaguates

In the foothills of Costa Rica’s Santa Barbara mountains in the Heredia province lies a place that seems right out of a fairy tale, Territorio de Zaguates, or “Land of the Strays.” In this sanctuary over 900 formerly abandoned dogs, now all available for adoption, roam amidst acres of lush green hillsides.

Territorio de Zaguates is a non-profit, “no kill” shelter founded by Lya Battle and Alvaro Saumet. Even with over 900 dogs and other animals, and only a handful of volunteers, all newly accepted strays are spayed, neutered, and vaccinated. There's comfortable bedding for the dogs, not to mention areas for feeding and bathing. The small staff works tirelessly to ensure all dogs are fed and healthy. They even pick up dog droppings to keep it clean.

And as a Park Slope dog walker, I feel compelled to announce that visitors to the magical Territorio de Zaguates are welcome to take dogs for walks outside the campus, in addition to the scheduled scenic hikes they do with a group. Just be sure to make an appointment in advance by calling them at 8883-9337 or email them at or

For more information about Territorio de Zaguates, or to donate to this fantastic cause, you can visit their Facebook page.