What makes a person spend her last colón on dogs that don’t belong to her?
Maybe she does it because she knows what it’s like not to belong.
Isn’t that the way it works? That dog who needs food, a bath, a vet, can be ignored by some, but not by those who see in that dog their own memories. Their own time spent at the edges, not quite seen, not quite trusting. She says she knows what it’s like not to fit in. Somehow, among animals, especially those in need, she found her place.
Every day in her home, she cares for not two, not four, not six, but twice that: a dozen dogs. And then, as dusk gathers round, she leaves the house to care for the animals who don’t belong. She gives them food and baths. When they need it, she takes them to a vet.
She tells them, not in words but through action, that they can find a place among gentle souls, just as she has.
That they do belong. They belong to the world.
And the world, sometimes, can be kind.
Inspired by the story of the Animales de Asis Association and Melania Maria Zuñiga Arguedas, who has volunteered with the association for 16 years. Her story was told to us by Karolina Benavides. Animales de Asis is a private, no-kill sanctuary founded in 2000 in San Rafael de Heredia; it can shelter up to 200 dogs and cats. The association’s work can be supported by donation (including U.S. tax-deductible donations through Amigos of Costa Rica), volunteering, sponsoring a senior animal, or adopting an animal. Learn more on the Animales de Asis website.
Our weekly Media Naranja column tells short love stories with a Costa Rican twist. During our April edition, “Animal Coexistence,” we’re focusing on love for animals.