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Pooch Paradise: Stray Dogs Roam Free in Hills of Costa Rica

A Costa Rican sanctuary cares for hundreds of stray dogs, who are allowed to run freely through the vast no-kill shelter.

In a lush, sprawling corner of Costa Rica, hundreds of dogs--among the luckiest strays on earth--roam freely on a hillside. Fed, groomed and cared for by vets, more than 750 dogs rescued from the streets of Costa Rica inhabit Territorio de Zaguates or "Land of the Strays." The 375-acre sanctuary in the center of the Central American country is funded by donations. Around 8,000 dogs have passed through the refuge.

There are more than a million stray dogs in Costa Rica, where the government outlawed putting animals down in 2003.

Above: Stray dogs run at the sanctuary in Carrizal de Alajuela, Costa Rica, on April 20, 2016.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

Stray dogs drink water after a walk at Territorio de Zaguates on April 20.

The strays at the sanctuary are all available for adoption.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

Dogs poke their heads through the door of a truck as they are taken to a veterinarian for spaying and neutering.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

A stray dog rests with her puppies.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

Alvaro Saumet, one of the founders of the sanctuary, looks on as a vet neuters a stray dog.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

A keeper plays with a stray dog.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

A stray dog stands on the hillside at Territorio de Zaguates.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

Alvaro Saumet feeds the stray dogs.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

Alvaro Saumet rescues a stray dog in San Jose, Costa Rica, on April 22.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters

Saumet, center, walks with the stray dogs.

According to the sanctuary's Facebook page, the dogs go on walks almost daily but actually spend most of the day in the enclosed facilities (around 1,000 square meters).

Related: Kitty Paradise or Catastrophe? Felines Swarm Japanese Island

JUAN CARLOS ULATE / Reuters