A shelter run by an individual rehomes 250 stray dogs in Costa Rica

 A shelter run by an individual rehomes 250 stray dogs in Costa Rica

Helen Wirt is a citizen of Austria, who has moved to Costa Rica in 1991 with her husband. Back then, Helen used to run her own tax consulting company, prior to which she used to work for the Austrian government.

In 1997, Helen Wirt divorced from her husband, which was followed yet with another bad luck, the death of her father. That was the day when Helen, depressed and grieving, saved Baldwin, a dog puppy from apparent death and has brought him home for further care.

“He saved my life,” Wirt told The Dodo. “I cannot explain what was going on inside me. Maybe I felt loved the first time in my life.”

The number of dogs saved by Helen from death, accidents or collected from the streets was increasing day by day. Now Helen operates a shelter based on her own house, and cares for as much as 250 individuals. Although she started the project alone, now she employs a dedicated staff and volunteers who care for the dogs. It’s interesting that Helen didn’t have any pet before she reached 50, and it was Baldwin who made her change her life completely.

Helen’s house is located in San Ramon region of Costa Rica and is called DogLand.

The shelter runs on donations and raised funds, but Helen also puts her own money into running costs, such as food, medical supplies, vaccinations, sterilizations and other needs.

She isn’t wealthy, the costs pile up between everyday necessities and medical care, but that doesn’t stop Wirt from doing her job selflessly.

“I could live a very comfortable life if I had to just take care of me, but I do not know how I would live happier.” says Helen.

Helen also fights against backyard breeding  of dogs in Costa Rica and all prejudices against dog sterilization.

“Many individuals in Costa Rica are illegally breeding dogs in order to avoid going to work or to supplement their income,” adds Helen, emphasizing the importance of government interference.

“What I am doing is just a drop in the bucket. I cannot change the world, but on the other hand, the world is changing for that saved dog. In this sense, it is worth everything.”

Isn’t this woman and her selfless work an incredible source of inspiration?


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