Roam the hills with 900 dogs by your side.

Andrea Romano
May 17, 2017

A dog lover’s paradise doesn’t just exist on Instagram, you can find it in the mountains of Costa Rica.

Territorio de Zaguates, also known as The Land of the Strays, is home to over 900 stray dogs. The free-range, no-kill shelter takes in the country’s unwanted canines and gives them love, food, plenty of space to run around, and the hope of finding a permanent home, one visitor to the shelter reported in a Facebook post.

The shelter, located on a farm in the mountains of Santa Bárbara in Costa Rica’s Heredia province, lets dogs roam the grounds freely during the day or spend time in the shelter’s indoor facility. At night, the dogs are given beds under sheltered structures, according to the same post.

The shelter runs an active adoption program and takes herds of dogs on hikes every day. Walks are usually about 1.9 miles and take place in the morning, according to Costa Rica Guide.

Visitors can even schedule a hike to take out a group of dogs for themselves or bring their own dog to come along. No drop-ins are allowed, however, because of the high demand. Interested visitors can find a list of hikes on Costa Rica Guide's website.

There are over 1 million strays in Costa Ricathe Costa Rica Star reported. The shelter is determined to find homes for as many dogs as they can.

Part of the shelter’s philosophy is celebrating mutts and dispelling the myth that purebreds are better or more valuable than mixed-breed dogs. Territorio de Zaguates gained popularity when a Costa Rican television show showcased some artist renderings of the shelter’s “new breeds,” i.e. invented titles for mixed-breed pups without a pedigree, according to BarkPost.

Dogs like the "Alaskan Collie Fluffyterrier" quickly started appearing on billboards and ads with the tagline, “when you adopt a mutt, you adopt a unique breed.” Interest in adoption at the shelter grew exponentially.

If you’re not interested in a special hike in the mountains or adopting, the shelter also accepts monetary donations to help improve the conditions of the dogs.

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