A heart-wrenching sight unfolded as a severely malnourished dog reached the point of exhaustion, unable to stand any longer. Seeking solace on a pile of rags, her desperate attempt to rest was thwarted by a short chain tightly wound around her neck, leaving her head hanging helplessly.
Dubbed Cala, this mistreated canine had been employed as a guard dog by a mechanic residing near San Jose, Costa Rica. Sadly, her supposed caretaker failed to provide adequate nourishment and neglected to seek veterinary care when she fell ill.
As Cala’s health rapidly deteriorated, her struggle to keep her head up became a battle for each breath. With time running out, concerned neighbors intervened, alerting local authorities and reaching out to the compassionate team at Territorio de Zaguates, a renowned local sanctuary dedicated to the well-being of countless dogs.
Lya Battle, founder of Territorio de Zaguates, expressed profound sadness and frustration upon witnessing Cala’s pitiful state. “The picture I first saw of her showed a pitiful creature robbed of its dignity and ready to give up—a dog whose spirit had been broken and was just waiting for the end to come while living a never-ending nightmare,” Battle shared with The Dodo.
Responding to the distress call, the police and sanctuary personnel swiftly removed Cala from her tormentor’s property. She was promptly taken to a veterinarian who treated her severe emaciation and the wounds inflicted by the constricting chain. Subsequently, Cala found solace at Territorio de Zaguates, where she embarked on a journey of physical and emotional healing.
The process was slow, and Cala endured painful treatments to address her wounds, particularly the gash caused by years of hanging from the unforgiving metal chain around her neck. However, amidst the pain, Cala began to understand that love and treats followed the discomfort, and she resiliently coped with each step of her recovery.
Initially aloof toward her fellow canine residents, Cala’s wariness led Battle to speculate that she had either never encountered other dogs or had been trained to view them as adversaries. However, over time, trust blossomed, both in her interactions with other dogs and with the caring humans who surrounded her.
“We saw Cala go from a weak, feeble animal, too depressed to care, to a stronger creature willing to stand up for herself,” Battle recounted. “With time, we also got to see that willful creature incorporate play and goofiness into her daily routine. With every day that passed, we saw more of her personality come through. She went from fearing humans to trusting them and even ‘bugging’ them for attention.”
Yet, Cala’s challenges were far from over. Tragedy struck in June when malevolent individuals infiltrated the sanctuary, planting poisoned sausages that claimed the lives of 16 innocent dogs. By a twist of fate, Cala had ingested one of the sausages but miraculously survived.
“When we found her, Cala was still alive,” Battle recounted. “Perhaps her size helped her tolerate the dose, or maybe she only managed a small bite. Regardless, Cala had been saved. She grappled with neurological issues for a while afterward, but she bounced back. She’s simply too resilient!”
Battle believes that there are no coincidences in life. Cala’s survival, despite years of neglect, torture, hunger, and illness, serves as a testament to her unwavering spirit. Just when she had discovered that life was worth the wait, humans once again emerged, seeking to inflict harm. While the sanctuary mourned the loss of other beloved dogs, Cala’s triumphant survival proved fitting to her indomitable nature.
Currently residing in a foster home, Cala revels in the abundance of love and attention showered upon her. Battle shared that, despite years of neglect, torture, and confinement, Cala is gradually shedding her past and embracing mischievous tendencies, a transformation warmly embraced by her foster mother.
“After years of neglect, torture, and imprisonment, Cala seems to be going through the mischievous phase that puppies often have, and we all think that’s just fine,” Battle remarked. “She is happy, strong, willful, a bit stubborn, and spoiled by her foster mom and family.”
With a lifetime of rescuing dogs under her belt and countless more to come, Battle finds Cala’s story exceptionally uplifting. It represents an epic battle between good and evil, hatred and love, with love ultimately prevailing.
“This rescue is an inspiring tale of love triumphing over adversity and serves as a reminder to never give up,” Battle concluded. “It fuels our stubborn determination to keep fighting the good fight a little while longer.”