A heart-wrenching scene unfolded as a severely emaciated dog collapsed from exhaustion. Its desperate attempt to rest on a pile of rags was thwarted by a small chain tightly wrapped around its neck, leaving its head hanging aimlessly.
Cala, a mistreated canine, was hired as a guard dog by a mechanic in San Jose, Costa Rica. Sadly, his supposed caretaker did not provide him with proper nutrition and failed to seek veterinary attention when he fell ill. Cala’s health deteriorated gradually, and every breath became a battle to keep his head up. With time running out, concerned neighbors stepped in, reported to the local authorities, and contacted the humanitarian staff at Zaguates Territory, a renowned local sanctuary committed to the welfare of thousands of dogs.
Upon seeing Cala’s dire situation, Lya Battle, the founder of Territorio de Zaguates, was filled with deep sorrow and rage. “The first photo I saw of her showed a pitiful creature stripped of her dignity and ready to give up: a dog whose spirit had been broken and who only waited for the end while living an endless nightmare,” Battle told The New York Times. Shortly after, Cala was rescued from her abuser’s property by the police and sanctuary staff who responded to the distress call. She was taken to a veterinarian who treated her severe emaciation and wounds caused by the tight chain constriction. Cala eventually found refuge at Territorio de Zaguates where she began the process of physical and mental recovery.
Cala had to endure tough procedures to heal her wounds, specifically the cut inflicted by years of hanging from a cruel metal chain around her neck. Despite the agony, Cala realized that love and rewards come after distress, and persevered through every stage of her rehabilitation.
Cala’s caution towards her fellow canines initially led Battle to believe that she had never met other dogs before, or had been raised to consider them as rivals. However, trust grew over time through her interactions with other dogs, as well as with the loving people around her.
According to Battle, we witnessed Cala transform from a weak and depressed animal who didn’t care about anything, to a stronger creature willing to defend herself. As time passed, we also saw her stubborn personality incorporate games and silly things into her daily routine. With every passing day, more of her personality emerged. She went from being terrified of humans to trusting them and even “bothering” them for attention.
However, Cala’s difficulties were far from over. In June, evil individuals broke into the sanctuary and planted poisoned sausages, claiming the lives of 16 innocent dogs. Cala accidentally consumed one of the sausages, but surprisingly survived.
Battle shared that when they found Cala, she was still alive. He speculated that her size may have helped her tolerate the dose of poison she ingested or maybe she only took a small amount. Regardless, Cala was rescued and although she struggled with neurological disorders for a long time after that, she eventually recovered. Battle believes that there are no coincidences in life. Cala’s survival, despite years of neglect, abuse, hunger, and illness, serves as evidence of her unbreakable spirit. Just as she discovered that life was worth living, humans reappeared eager to cause pain. While the sanctuary mourned the loss of other beloved dogs, Cala’s remarkable survival reflected her toughness.
Cala is currently living with a foster family and is enjoying the abundance of love and care she receives. Despite years of abuse, torment, and confinement, Cala is gradually letting go of her past and adopting mischievous instincts, which her adoptive mother warmly accepts. According to Battle, “After years of abandonment, torture, and confinement, Cala seems to be going through the mischievous phase that puppies often go through, and we all think that’s okay.” She is happy, strong-willed, stubborn, and spoiled by her adoptive mother and family.
Having a lifetime of saving dogs under his belt and many more to come, Battle finds Cala’s story particularly inspiring. It represents an epic battle between good and evil, hate and love, with love emerging victorious. “This rescue is an inspiring story of love triumphing over adversity and serves as a reminder to never give up,” said Battle. “It reinforces our determination to fight the good fight for a little longer.” Please SHARE this with your friends and family.