Territorio de Zaguates

Territorio de Zaguates is a no-kill dog shelter within the mountains of Costa Rica, the feature of this National Geographic short film. Via National Geographic:

At the Territorio de Zaguates no-kill dog shelter in Costa Rica, every animal coming to live at the rescue facility gets a name. And at the moment, there are approximately 970 dogs living here.

British photographer Dan Giannopoulos recently spent time with the dogs and the people who take care of them at this notable rescue facility, which translates to “Land of the Strays.”

Located about an hour from downtown San José, the shelter is famed for its approximately 378 acres of tropical mountain land where scores of canines stroll, frolic, and race alongside human visitors, shelter employees, and volunteers. The vast majority of the animals are up for adoption and visitors can bring their own dogs to play with the rescues.

“To look out and see hundreds of dogs running across the field was completely breathtaking to me. I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Giannopoulos, a self-proclaimed dog lover currently based in Nicaragua.

Giannopoulos, who has spent the last few years shooting alternative cultures in the UK, thought it might be difficult to photograph a story about dogs instead of people, but says they were all friendly, curious, and well-behaved. A labrador with a paralyzed leg stuck by Giannopoulos for an entire day, waiting for him if he dropped behind the group to take pictures. When it was time for him to leave, she followed him all the way to the gate and watched him get into a taxi. “There are a lot of dogs there that you can fall in love with,” Giannopoulos says.

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