Tierra de Animales – A Personal Experience

by Jan Walkeden (March 2012)

Spending a month in Akumal this past February was wonderful, and part of what made it so special for me was my trip to see Ricardo Pimental, and visit with him and the dogs of Tierra de Animales Sanctuary, just outside Cancún, in Leona Vicario.

I've been a strong supporter of TdA since its inception ... and supported Ricardo and his family with their care of the dogs before the sanctuary was built, so it was with much excitement that I planned my visit!

Even just thinking about meeting him would make me emotional. To me, he was "larger than life," he was and is my "animal hero," and every time I think of what he's doing, I continue to wish I had unlimited funds/won the lottery, or both! Lisa Edwards (U.S. counterpart and partner with Ricardo and TdA) and I have been "friends" for some time now too,  since Tierra de Animales. Often we "chat" behind the scenes, which really makes me feel a part of it all, so thanks to her, I drove up from Akumal, with great instructions and a map ... and a cell phone to text her along the way! I had travel mates: Joanne Cain (Luna’s new adoptive Canadian mom) and her daughter Hayley, and her mother, Pauline. We ALL wanted to meet Ricardo and see TdA. After stopping at Chedraui to fill the trunk with dog food and treats, we were finally on our way! Lisa met us in Leona Vicario, so we could follow her in. (Believe it or not, I had actually had a dream in January, where I was in tears because I couldn't find the road into the sanctuary; so it was for this reason, I didn't want to "miss" the entrance!)

First impression: it was so CLEAN! The grounds are so clean, they work so hard to keep the area "poop" free ... amazing really, given the number of dogs. Second impression was of Ricardo, and how "humble" he seems. To me, he's "larger than life," where he thinks he's just doing what he personally has to do. Ricardo is soft-spoken, speaks great English and really REALLY is the pack leader! Those dogs follow him everywhere. You know, it truly, truly is amazing what Ricardo does. He's so humble ... so unassuming, and yet those dogs LOVE him. It's stunningly evident that he is the "alpha" male ... and he rules those dogs with grace/humanity and love ... truly!

Tierra de Animales is still building. The quarantine area and small dog area need to be completed and they're making great strides to "get there," but they continue to need our support to get this done. I will continue to support Tierra de Animales in any way I can and hope to get back there soon to spend more time, getting dirty, and wet, washing dogs and helping out. Please, if you get a chance, go visit the dogs (and Ricardo). If you have the means, PLEASE consider donating to such a worthy cause. 

Enjoy one of the videos I took. All my photos are here.


Tierra Animales near Cancun
Akumal Villas

Cabanas Tulum