The dog was so emaciated that she couldn’t stand up. A small chain around her neck prohibited her from laying her head down as she sat on the pile of rags beneath her. Her head would practically dangle from the chain instead.
Cala, the dog, was kept as a guard dog by a mechanic in the San Jose area of Costa Rica. Cala’s mechanic, on the other hand, barely fed her and didn’t take her to the vet when she became ill.
Cala’s health deteriorated, and she battled to keep her head above water. She began to have difficulty breathing. Cala was going to die if aid didn’t arrive soon.
Cala’s neighbors, thankfully, noticed her and alerted the authorities, as well as the crew at Territorio de Zaguates, a local canine sanctuary that caters for hundreds of dogs.
Lya Battle, the creator of Territorio de Zaguates, told The Dodo, “I felt profoundly sad and irritated.” “The first image I had of her was of a wretched creature stripped of its dignity and ready to surrender — a dog whose soul had been destroyed and was simply waiting for the end while enduring a never-ending nightmare.”
Cala was taken off the property by the police and sanctuary team and taken to the vet, where she was treated for emaciation and cuts from the chain around her neck. Cala then relocated to Territorio de Zaguates, where she remained for the duration of her physical and mental recovery.
“Her healing process was sluggish, and the people around her had to continue to give her suffering by mending her wounds, particularly the cut in her neck created by years of hanging from a tight metal chain around her neck,” Battle explained. “Nursing her was as terrible for her as it was for us, but she ultimately learned that suffering was followed by love and goodies, so she handled it like a champ.”
Cala didn’t like the other dogs in the sanctuary at first, leading Battle to suspect she’d never met any or had been trained to attack them. Cala, on the other hand, gradually gained trust in the other dogs, as well as the people.
“We witnessed Cala go from a fragile, weak creature too depressed to care to a powerful creature prepared to defend herself,” Battle remarked. “Over time, we saw that feisty creature infuse play and hilarity into her everyday routine. With each passing day, we watched more and more of her personality emerge. She moved from being afraid of people to being able to trust them and even ‘bugging’ them for attention.”
Cala’s problems, however, were far from over. People broke into the refuge in June and placed poisoned sausages on the ground, killing 16 dogs. Cala had also consumed a sausage, but she had managed to survive.