When a guard dog is found hanging from a small chain, prompt aid is given to him, perhaps saving his life.


A heartbreaking scene occurred when a very emaciated dog was left exhausted and could no longer stand. His frantic attempt to relax on a pile of rags was impeded by a small chain wrapped tightly around his neck, leaving his head hanging aimlessly.

Cala, the abused canine, had been hired as a guard dog by a mechanic in San José, Costa Rica. Unfortunately, his supposed caretaker did not provide him with adequate nutrition and he did not seek veterinary care when he became unwell.

Cala’s health gradually worsened and keeping her head up became a battle for every breath. When time was up, concerned neighbors intervened, informed local authorities and contacted the human team at Territorio de Zaguates, a well-known local sanctuary dedicated to the well-being of thousands of dogs.

Lya Battle, creator of Territorio de Zaguates, felt deep sorrow and fury upon seeing Cala’s plight. “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 was waiting for the end to come while living a never-ending nightmare,” Battle told The Geezer.

Cala was quickly removed from her tormentor’s property by police and sanctuary staff who responded to her distress call. She was sent to a veterinarian, who treated her acute emaciation as well as the wounds caused by the constriction chain. Later she found refuge in Territorio de Zaguates, where she began a path of physical and mental restoration.

Cala had to endure harsh procedures to repair his injuries, especially the cut inflicted by years of hanging from the cruel metal chain around his neck. Despite her agony, Cala came to realize that love and rewards came after heartbreak, and she persevered through every stage of her rehabilitation.

Cala’s wariness of her canine companions first led Battle to believe that she had never met other dogs or had been raised to consider them rivals. However, her confidence grew over time in her contacts with other dogs, as well as with the loving people around her.

“We watched Cala go from a weak, weak animal, too depressed to care, to a stronger creature willing to stand up for herself,” Battle said. “We also got to see that stubborn creature incorporate play and silliness into her daily routine over time.” We saw more of her personality emerge with each passing day. “She went from being afraid of humans to trusting them and even “annoying” them to get their attention.”

However, Cala’s difficulties were far from over. In June, evil people entered the sanctuary and planted poisoned sausages, claiming the lives of 16 innocent dogs. Cala had accidentally consumed one of the sausages but surprisingly survived.

“When we found her, Cala was still alive,” Battle said. “Maybe her size helped her tolerate the dose, or maybe she just took a small bite.” However, Cala had been rescued. She finally struggled with neurological disorders for a long time, but eventually recovered. She is simply too tough!

Battle believes there are no coincidences in life. Cala’s survival, despite years of neglect, abuse, hunger and illness, serves as proof of her unbreakable spirit. The humans reappeared, eager to cause pain, just as she had discovered life was worth the wait. While the sanctuary mourned the loss of other beloved dogs, Cala’s remarkable survival reflected her tenacity.

Cala, who is currently in a foster family, delights in the amount of love and care they give her. Despite years of abuse, torment, and imprisonment, Cala is slowly discarding her past and embracing mischievous instincts, a development her adoptive mother gladly accepts.

“After years of neglect, torture and incarceration, Cala seems to be going through the mischievous phase that puppies usually go through, and we all think that’s okay,” Battle said. “She is happy, strong, stubborn, a little stubborn and spoiled by her adoptive mother and her family.”

With a lifetime of saving dogs and many more to come, Battle finds Cala’s story particularly inspiring. It represents an epic battle between good and evil, hate and love, in which love triumphs.

“This rescue is an inspiring story of love triumphing over adversity and serves as a reminder to never give up,” Battle said. “It strengthens our resolve to fight the good fight for a while longer.”

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