Cala was a guard dog at a mechanic’s shop near San Jose, Costa Rica. The mechanic never took her to the vet when she got sick, nor did he feed her on a daily basis. She was malnourished to the point where she couldn’t stand on her own feet and when she sat down, the short chain around her neck kept her from putting her head on the floor.
Thankfully, the neighbors saved Cala from the brink of death. They saw she was having trouble breathing, and could soon die if nothing was done. They called the police, and rescuers from Territorio de Zaguates to help Cala out. Cala was removed from the property by the police and she was taken to the vet. She was treated for wounds resulting from the chain around her neck and for severe malnourishment.
“I felt desperately sad and frustrated,” Lya Battle, founder of Territorio de Zaguates. “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.”
“Her healing process was slow, and the humans around her still had to cause her pain through the curing of her wounds, especially the gash in her neck caused by years of hanging from a tight metal chain around her neck,” Battle said. “Nursing her was as painful for her as it was for us, but eventually she understood that after the pain came love and treats, so she learned to deal with it like a champ.”
“We saw Cala go from a weak, feeble animal, too depressed to care, to a stronger creature willing to stand up for herself,” Battle said. “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.”
Even after she was saved, Cala’s struggles weren’t yet behind her. In June, people snuck into the sanctuary in an attempt to kill some of dogs with poison sausages. While 16 of the dogs died, this tenacious pup survived.
“Cala was still alive when we got to her,” Battle said. “Probably her size helped tolerate the dose — that or she only got to a small bite of it. In any case, Cala was saved. She struggled with neurological problems for a while after that but she came around again. She’s just too tough a cookie!”
“I think there are no coincidences in life,” Battle added. “Cala survived years of neglect, years of torture, years of hunger and illness. She was hanging on to life for a reason and she had already found out that life had been worth the long wait when again humans appeared in the picture wanting to hurt her. So although we were devastated by the loss of all the others, that fact that Cala had managed to pull through was just so fitting to her spirit.”
Life is looking up for Cala, who now lives in a caring foster home, no longer hanging her head just to catch a few minutes of sleep. Just as all dogs deserve, Cala is finally feeling loved.
“After years of neglect, torture and imprisonment, Cala seems to be getting all the puppy misbehaving process out of her system and we all think that’s just fine,” Battle said. “She is happy, strong, willful, a bit stubborn, and spoiled by her foster mom and family.