I don’t know about you, but I absolutely burn inside when I see a dog that has been abused and neglected. Unfortunately, that was the case with this dog. 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. She would just hang from the chain without any other choice.
The dog’s name is Cala and she was a guard dog at a mechanic’s shop near San Jose, Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the mechanic didn’t feed Cala nearly enough food and she didn’t go to the veterinarian when she got sick.
As her health continue to grow worse, she struggled to keep her head up. She even was having difficulty breathing and if she didn’t get help soon, she wasn’t going to live.
The neighbors began to take notice of Cala and they called the local police. They also called the team at a local dog sanctuary, Territorio de Zaguates. They have hundreds of dogs under their care.
“I felt desperately sad and frustrated,” Lya Battle, founder of Territorio de Zaguates said. “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.”
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. That is when Carla went to live at Territorio de Zaguates, where she could heal emotionally and physically.
“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.”
Cala didn’t get along well with the other dogs at the sanctuary at first. They were wondering if she had ever even been around other dogs or perhaps she was trained as an attack dog. It wasn’t long before she began to gain trust and soon, she was feeling more comfortable around other dogs and people.
“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.”
Unfortunately, this poor dog continued to struggle. People worked their way into the sanctuary in June and put out sausages that were laced with poison. 16 of the dogs ended up dying and although Cala ate a sausage, she 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.”
Soon, Cala was able to move into a foster home and she is now receiving lots of love and attention. She has also become quite mischievous but her foster mom doesn’t mind.
“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.”
Battle is responsible for rescuing many dogs in her lifetime. She will continue to rescue dogs, but she finds Cala’s story to be inspirational.
“This rescue is an epic battle of good against bad and of hate against love, and in the end, as it always does, love wins,” Battle said. “This rescue is the love-wins-don’t-give-up kind of rescue that fuels our stubborn madness a while longer.”