I first heard about Yaqui Animal Rescue while walking through one of the buildings on my university’s campus. I noticed handmade signs directing people where they could drop off donations for the group. I soon found an event that Yaqui was having near campus and decided to go check it out. After meeting lots of cute dogs at this event, I learned that the group rescues all kinds of animals: horses, donkeys, bunnies, cat, pigs, chickens, geese, and more! When they invited me to visit the ranch, I immediately said yes!
The Yaqui ranch is located in Sullivan City, a small town in South Texas. The founder of Yaqui, Sonia Venecia, purchased the property in 2004 for the sole purpose of using it as a no-kill shelter for animals in need. It once belonged to her grandparents and was a working ranch. Sonia decided to name her new rescue group after her grandmother’s ancestors, the Yaqui Indians.
I brought my camera along to observe life at the Yaqui ranch. It’s pretty much an animal lover’s dream. For me, there’s nothing better than being able to watch animals be animals without the threat of harm or exploitation. I wish all animals could have such a peaceful experience on this planet.
Check out the photos from my recent visits to this awesome rescue ranch, plus a short video (directly below) detailing daily life for the beautiful creatures that reside at Yaqui Animal Rescue.
Most of the animals free roam, such as the geese, chickens, guinea hens, turkey, cattle, donkeys, and horses. The cats have a fancy barn to hang out in, the pigs have their own areas with mud baths, the bunnies have a quiet hutch, and the dogs have outdoor enclosures with long runs with plenty of room to play. Other than animal sounds and the occasional car, it’s nice and quiet, and the natural vegetation is gorgeous.
Unlike most animal rescues, who don’t accept public intake, Yaqui is willing to help any animal in need regardless of where they come from. That’s no easy task in South Texas, where people’s mindsets about proper care of animals is a little antiquated. Many people here have dogs for the sole purpose of guarding their house (chained up 24/7 in all weather), dogs and cats are dumped on the sides of busy roads and often hit by cars, and people don’t tend to spay/neuter their animals which results in litter after litter.
Yaqui takes in animals that are homeless, neglected, abused, or their owners cannot sufficiently care for them. The latter scenario was the case for Gringo, a pure white donkey (he looks like a unicorn to me!) whose owner lives nearby but couldn’t care for him. Yaqui took Gringo in and now he is best friends with Jack, a brown donkey who is prone to the occasional seizure, so Gringo sticks with him to ensure he’s okay. Isn’t that the sweetest?
When I found a homeless dog living in a cemetery and reached out to Yaqui, they didn’t hesitate to help me out. I was able to get the dog checked out by a vet, where we discovered she has heartworm, but she’s going through her treatment now. I’ve been fostering Opal for nearly two months and she’s like a completely different dog! All thanks to the support I received from Yaqui.
Yaqui Animal Rescue holds lots of local events to fund raise for their organization. They rack up hundreds of dollars in vet bills to take care of needy animals, and survive entirely upon donations, so every dollar counts. If you live in the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas, you can adopt, foster, or volunteer with Yaqui. No matter where you live, you can donate to their cause. Check out their website to learn how you can help.
Yaqui Animal Rescue is doing much needed work in South Texas, and hopefully other local animal organizations will follow their example. Animals should be free to roam and enjoy their lives peacefully. Yaqui exemplifies this standard and you can tell they truly care about the qualify of life of the animals that live there. I can’t wait to visit the ranch again!