San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Animal protection

Dog hit by a car helps inspire animal rescue program for Costa Rica's highways

Ruta 27, or Route 27, is the highway connecting Costa Rica’s capital San José to the Pacific province of Puntarenas. But the highway also now loans its name to a dog rescued from the thoroughfare. And the dog’s deliverance has led to the development of a program to aid other animals injured on Costa Rica’s highway to the Pacific coast.

Ruta 27 was rescued last November by workers for Autopistas del Sol, the company that constructed and manages that stretch of highway, with the help of local animal protection group Rescate Animal. The mutt — or zaguate as Ticos call them — ended up in a ditch near a bridge in Escazú after being hit by a vehicle. Rescuers took the pooch to a  nearby veterinarian, who diagnosed the dog with a fractured hip and began treating the Ruta 27’s injuries.

Inspired by the rescue, Autopistas del Sol signed last week an agreement with Rescate Animal to establish a permanent program to help stray domesticated animals that have been injured in accidents or are lost on the highway.

To report an injured or lost animal along Route 27, motorists can call the company’s call center at 2588-4040. The hotline is open 24-7 and a bilingual staff is available.

Autopistas del Sol will take a lost or wounded animal to a veterinarian for care. All animals will receive medical attention before being sent to a rescue shelter.

A separate pact is being signed with Santa Ana Herpetological Refuge to take care of wild animals, said Autopistas del Sol spokeswoman Montserrat Courrau.

This alliance between Autopistas del Sol and the vets also played a role in the rescue and rehabilitation of a labrador. The dog fractured a leg after being hit by a truck near the toll plaza in Escazú, but now has experienced a full recuperation.

As for the dog dubbed Ruta 27, he is in good health now. He even underwent a training program at the dog training school EducaDogs. In January, a U.S. family from Boulder, Colorado learned about his story and decided to adopt Ruta 27.  Now the dog named after a highway goes by a new name: “Milo.”

Watch a video of Milo with his new family in the U.S. (Video courtesy of EducaDogs).

Contact L. Arias at

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