Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Stray Dogs of Costa Rica

There are a great number of stray dogs all over the streets of Costa Rica.  You will come across these animals from the countryside, all the way into the more "modern" capital city of San Jose.  While some of the stray dogs of Costa Rica do get fed by well-meaning people, many of them find their food by eating out of garbage piles or begging.  Most of them look quite malnourished, fatigued, and are absolutely filthy. 

There were two stray dogs I have come across in Costa Rica that really left an imprint on my mind. One was a little black runt that appeared to have mange and seemed to be in great distress as he limped down a long busy road. The other I saw just today, closer to my house.  It was a larger sized white and tan dog, who was wet and dirty, and just sitting pitifully in the middle of the road. He was disease-ridden too, and was missing one eye.  I couldn't help but think that he was hoping for a car to hit him already and put him out of his misery.

Thankfully, most of the stray dogs of Costa Rica are not in as pitiful of a condition as the two that I've mentioned above.  But it is still a sad site to see all of them wandering around, and wondering where they can hope to get their next meal or find shelter.

Two Stray Dogs of Costa Rica right off of a busy highway
Stray Dog wandering Around a Restaurant Parking Lot

I really don't understand why a so-called 2nd world country would allow its streets to be filled with stray dogs like this.  I personally am a cat person, but it really bothers me to see this kind of treatment towards canines. 

Although there are free spay and neutering services offered by the Costa Rican Department of Agriculture, the problem is that no one is picking these dogs off of the streets to take them to these clinics and there's no one to call to ask for help in picking these dogs up off the streets either.  So as far as I can tell, the stray dogs of Costa Rica will continue to proliferate as they always have, living miserable lives until they end up dying prematurely from disease or getting hit by a car.

Fortunately, a few foreigners that live in the country have felt enough distress about seeing these homeless dogs of Costa Rica and have started shelters (usually with their own money).  But, as you can imagine, the problem is way bigger than their combined efforts. If you feel compelled like I did to volunteer your time or money to help these shelters, here are a few of their websites: : A dog city with over 150 residents in the mountains of San Ramón. Come and learn how you can help keep this unique & magical shelter open. You can help by adopting one of our angels, and if you can't adopt, you can sponsor a dog. Sponsoring a dog is easy, and you can always stop by for a visit. :  Atenas Foundation for Helping Abandoned Animals.  Our main goal is to stop the suffering of the many many street dogs and cats in our area.  For those looking for new furry friends, please check our adoption section:  The group always needs volunteers. If you see any possibility for support and assistance - don't hesitate and contact us: e-ail : Asociación Pro Bienestar Animal (McKee Jaco) invites you to be a part of one of our projects.  Spay/neuter – education – adoption – all those projects need volunteers and sponsors.  For more information go to our website at  or send us an email at  Don't discriminate - adopt a mutt! Lots of abandoned dogs and cats looking for loving homes. Refugio de Animales - San Rafael de Heredia. 2267-7158/6374 e-mail:  . AHPPA is affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States and the RSPCA of Great Britain.  Help rescue, care & place homeless dogs from Costa Rica into loving homes. This FB page is our first step toward the creation of a non-profit & shelter for puppies & dogs in our area. Please contact us if you would like to make donation or adopt.

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