El Refugio: Five Years Helping Dogs and Cats

El Refugio: Five Years Helping Dogs and Cats

El Refugio: Five Years Helping Dogs and Cats

Author: Rosie Castle

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FIVE years ago, a small group of animal lovers was greatly saddened by the conditions of cats and dogs in the jungle area of Costa Rica. They saw first-hand how the overpopulation of dogs and cats and the lack of affordable access to veterinary care can affect the lives of the animals and the livelihood of the involved communities. Therefore, they put their hearts and minds together and started a non-profit no-kill animal rescue and welfare organization in Uvita called El Refugio Hogar Animal Costa Ballena ("El Refugio").

El Refugio takes a comprehensive approach to animal welfare. We have an animal shelter in Uvita-Bahia that provides excellent care for dogs and cats until we place them in their forever homes. We also find and provide assistance to foster families. We host low-cost spay and neuter clinics every month, averaging 50 pets each. In conjunction with Dr. Fernando at the Centro Veterinario Costa Ballena, we provide emergency medical care for pets without families or whose families cannot afford medical care. We developed an education program to teach children and their families how best to care for their pets. We help families struggling to feed or medicate their pets via our community outreach program. 


Animal shelter helps cats and dogs

All of El Refugio's successes are only possible because of our hard-working volunteers and generous supporters. We are proud of our diverse volunteer staff, including people from the USA, Canada, Europe, and Latin America. Volunteer positions range from shelter shift volunteers to the Board of Directors. All of our volunteers do an incredible job, and El Refugio would not exist without them. 

This year El Refugio is proud to celebrate our Fifth Anniversary! During those five years, El Refugio has faced many challenges and helped thousands of "mascotas" (pets) to live better lives. Since 2017, we have:

  •       Rescued over 600 homeless, abandoned, and injured dogs and cats, including providing veterinary care, vaccinations, spay and neuter surgeries, and caring for them until they are adopted.
  •       Spayed and neutered over 2,700 cats and dogs in our low-cost spay/neuter clinics.
  •       Provided ongoing care for the 40-60 animals at our shelter and in foster care at any given time.
  •       Helped over 900 animals in our community outreach program with food for their cats and dogs, medical care, and emergency assistance.

Although El Refugio has done an incredible amount of work, much more needs to be done. Overpopulation of cats and dogs continues to be a problem. Our low-cost spay and neuter clinics are making an impact, but we need your help! We always need more volunteers, foster families, and adopters. But we also need financial support. Although we receive some funding from grant writing, most of our budget comes from donations from people just like you. Please consider donating today. You can apply to become a volunteer at our website, contribute, and see pictures of all the pets waiting for their forever homes - maybe you will fall in love with one (or two!). 

On behalf of all the dogs and cats of Costa Ballena, El Refugio thanks you for your support. 

We couldn't do this without you.

The El Refugio Team


About Ballena Tales

Ballena Tales is an essential free guide and digital comprehensive magazine for travelers, residents, and investors covering Costa Ballena in the Canton of Osa in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. It is a fully bilingual, bi-monthly, and full-color digital magazine.

The magazine introduces the reader to the life of the local community, with interviews of pioneers, writers, and artists, as well as extensive information on restaurants, hotels, experiences, natural attractions, and wildlife of the South Pacific of Costa Rica.

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