Our Mexico Retreat: The Yelapa Animal Project


This spring, YARA travelled to Yelapa Mexico and visited the Yelapa Animal Project which is the heart and soul of one woman, Dana Hutson. She has lived in Yelapa as a full time resident for over 13 years and is an integral part of the community there. She works through the power of staying in her heart which can be very challenging when interacting with people who are cruel to animals. She does not judge, she focuses on connection, compassion, and education. She teaches by example and is loved in the community. We all have a choice to either judge, separate, and fight, or relate, connect, and heal. I choose the healing.

The YARA group visited her home and sanctuary and met all the beings that she has rescued from dire circumstance. It was at the late afternoon feeding time so we took a tour while my beloved friend, Maria, who lives there fed and cared for the daily tasks.

First we met, Lucero (which means morningstar or Venus), the blind horse who Dana rescued from being killed in the mountains outside of town. The horse was blind in one eye and could not work so the people who ‘owned’ him led him into the mountains and cut his flanks with a machete in order to attract predators and end his life. Some children in the village informed Dana of the situation. This seems to be the case often that she finds out through the children, perhaps because they see more clearly the truth of what is actually happening. They are not yet blinded by greed, efficiency, laziness, selfish motive and all the things we get bogged down with through time. Dana brought him back to her place and was unsure he would survive the injuries, but he did with her love and attention. Now he is blind in both eyes, but lives a calm and comfortable life at The Yelapa Animal Project.

Then we met the old grandma Burra, the sweet big eared small donkey who was used as a pack animal for many years, transporting bricks, wooden beams, loads of sand for construction, people and their baggage who would come here for vacation, as well as being a breeding animal. Forced breeding is rape with the sorrowful conclusion of giving birth only to have your baby taken from you to be enslaved as well. She now lives her retirement years here with no pressure from the demands of slavery.

We also met Pancho, the goat. A buck in the making, only a year old, he lived his entire one year of life on a small rope tied to his neck until the family decided to use him as jaguar bait. They had cows that grazed in the mountains and one had been killed by a jaguar. The government reimburses farmers for this kind of occurrence because it is illegal to hunt jaguars, but they took it into their own hands by tying pancho up to a tree in the jungle in hopes of catching a jaguar killing Pancho so they could kill the jaguar. Death upon death upon death. We must change our focus.

There are six dogs and 7 cats here at the sanctuary. One special case is Seca, who has no use of her back legs. A man felt like beating her till they stopped working. She still has two working legs and a huge smile in her heart. It is inspiring to see her enthusiasm and desire to get about. She is loved dearly by Dana and friends, but would love to find a forever home. The other dogs and cats all have stories that could break your heart and they all have a sweet forgiveness in their eyes that also could break your heart.  

The Yelapa Animal Projects organizes a neuter/spay clinic every six weeks for people to bring in their dogs and cats for free. They do so much with so little; a small cinder block building with a makeshift operating table that once was Dana’s massage table. Volunteer vets come to help and they welcome any donations, such as collars, crates, bedding, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, etc. We donated to that program and you can too. Dana has a facebook page called the Yelapa Animal Project and a website is on it’s way.

This is an example that starting small with this very step is the key and any dream you have is not going to look like you think it will, but if you stay focused it will be something beautiful and fulfilling. It begins where you stand with what you have to offer. Don’t get overwhelmed, stay close and true to your heart.

Posted on April 5, 2018 .