Photo of Laurie Zaleski with her fur babies as a tribute to her mom on Mother's Day. Courtesy of Laurie Zaleski/ Facebook.com/FunnyFarmRescue
Life is very unpredictable, and sometimes if we allow them to, our horrible experiences can teach us the best lessons. Laurie Zaleski, daughter of a woman who survived an abusive marriage, is a beautiful example of this.
Life of Annie McNulty
It all starts with Annie McNulty, the mother of Laurie, who has been described as a lovely, kind, free spirit who unfortunately found herself in an abusive marriage.
She endured her abusive marriage for several years, but her silence broke when it became a threat to her children’s lives after her husband threatened to kill them.
This was Annie’s breaking point and finally, she took her first step towards freedom. In 1973, just a few days before Christmas, she took flight with her kids and left for a new journey.
They went to a ramshackle farm that was in the woodlands, in South Jersey, offering a fresh start for both Annie and her kids.
At this farm, not only could they explore new things, but it was also an opportunity for them to get acquainted with the funky characteristics of many unique animals.
The Inspiration Behind the Animal Rescue
Life for Annie and her kids was surely tough, but things got better with time. It was difficult for Annie to manage the household being a single mother.
Laurie observed the unbreakable resilience of her mother, which served as her inspiration to become strong.
To be able to support her family, Annie started working at an animal control center. Her kind-hearted nature provoked her to take many of the animals home that were dismissed by society.
Annie served as a great role to her kids as they began to mirror the same behavior. They took care of all the street cats, goats, and dogs. And, the more time they spent with all the different personalities of these furry creatures, the more they realized how much they enjoyed their company.
Eventually, when all the siblings grew up, they moved away to live their lives separately. Yet Laurie remained to help her mother.
It was always Laurie’s dream to buy a large rescue farm for her mother as a tribute to her struggles. And so, that’s exactly what she did. Unfortunately, just two weeks before Laurie bought the 15 acres of land in New Jersey to build the farm, her mother passed away from cancer.
The heartbreak from losing her mom and just before making her dream a reality almost broke Laurie. Yet she persevered, and with the help of her sister and a few close friends has built what is known today as The Funny Farm Rescue and Sanctuary.
Quoted From; https://www.facebook.com/FunnyFarmRescue:
"Thank you for the many prayers, love, and donations to help this boy get the oral surgery he so desperately needed. Now he has the best chance for a happy rest of his life - and a lot more kisses to give! Some would ask why we didn’t put him down at this age. Not at the Funny Farm. None of us know how much time we have so we will make the best of each moment. Lorenzo deserves the best life possible. Thank you to Dr. Beier and his wife Diane and their assistant Alana Miller. This is an incredible team who literally saved Lorenzo’s life. He was in so much pain that he didn’t eat for days before his surgery."
The Success of Funny Farm Rescue
Building this new venture wasn’t always easy, in fact, Laurie faced many challenges along the way. However, with resilience ingrained in her from watching her mom, after 22 years, with the help of her team, Laurie has turned what was once a dream into one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the United States.
Today, there are over 600 rescued animals all living their best lives at the Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary, most of which are allowed to roam free.
Thanks to many of the rescues being in the social media spotlight, people from all over the world come to visit them.
The most heartwarming part is since there was once a time when her family struggled economically, Laurie decided to always offer free entry to everyone who visits the sanctuary. She does this both in remembrance of her mom and so anyone can come and love on the animals no matter their economic status.
Laurie Writes Her Story
Not only is she saving lives and inspiring people, but Laurie also just released her first book titled "Funny Farm, My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals". The book tells her story and talks about her inspiration to create Funny Farm in much more detail.
The book is quickly becoming a hit with many readers even purchasing and commenting on it around the world. Just goes to show that we all love to feel inspired by true stories of others rising from the ashes to create something beautiful. To purchase a copy the book, visit here: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/funny-farm/
The Funny Farm Rescue: https://funnyfarmrescue.org/our-story/ ; https://www.facebook.com/FunnyFarmRescue ; de Luna, D. (n.d.). This Animal Rescue Farm Is Inspired by a Mom Who Survived an Abusive Marriage. The Animal Rescue Site News. https://blog.theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/funny-farm/ ; Hoffman, B. (2022, February 26). How my mom's escape from a violent marriage inspired our animal rescue farm. New York Post. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://nypost.com/2022/02/26/escape-from-a-violent-marriage-inspired-this-animal-rescue-farm/