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November 17, 2017
















The 45 year old horse at Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary


with ‘Socks’ another friend from Funny Farm Rescue

One of the first reality TV shows was Candid Camera (for those of you who remember) and it actually began around 1948, before my viewing maturation. The point being, the tag line of the show was something akin to “when you least expect it.”  I’m about to segue the tag line to how I arrived at the Rutgers Equine Science Center Event on Thursday November 9th. The interconnectivity of the universe fascinates me.

I’ve known Warren Zimmerman, Co-Chair of Equine Science Center and Past Chair & CEO, State Theatre New Jersey, for the past six years of my journalism. Our paths have often crossed in varied venues of Rutgers participation, athletic viewings, football, men’s and women’s basketball and arts and culture.

Recently, I spent the day at Funny Farm Rescue-An Animal Sanctuary in deep South Jersey, where they nurture and care for 500 unwanted animals. One of the animals, a retired horse, was enjoying life at 45 years old. I wrote an article for NJ Discover on my time there. Warren read it and when we were together at an event in the foothills of Bedminster a few weeks ago, he asked if I’d be interested in learning about horses, and the Equine Science Center. My response was instant intent. I prefaced by reminding Warren of my commitment to animals, having stopped eating all animals with four legs in 1975.  So, when I least expected it, in Bedminster, sitting near a fire pit, I was on my way to a new world of Equine Science and a very special evening of learning about the science of horses.



with Warren Zimmerman pre-event


Physiology: Horse and the treadmill

How often have I randomly quoted Aldous Huxley, as it is a brave new world? At the VIP reception for the evening, I immediately met Dr. Karyn Malinowski, Director and Professor of Animal Sciences. We exchanged verbal credentials, mine paltry compared to hers. Later at the banquet dinner, attended by several hundred supporters, students and enthusiasts, Dr. Malinowski presented a scientific paper, “The Effect of EAAT on the Well-Being of Horses, and Veterans Diagnosed with PTSD.” EAAT is equine assisted activities therapy

Interestingly, I was quite absorbed with the science involved. Sitting next to Warren at the dinner, he repeatedly asked if I was enjoying the proceedings, meaning Dr. Malinowski’s discussion. Smiling broadly, I held up my yellow legal pad, filled with six pages of notes. What hooked me was the aspect of the study as to working with horses and with Veterans with PTSD. I’ve been writing about and interviewing for the past two years and had him as guest on my NJ Discover LIVE TV Show, a Marine Veteran, Robert Consulmagno, diagnosed with PTSD. He became a world ranked Jiu Jitsu fighter and PTSD advocate, working with the Veterans Administration.



Dr Karyn Malinowski addressing event

It’s not within the scope of this article to go in depth scientifically but there is an exclamation point to Dr. Malinowski’s study. There was no change in physiological readings of the horses which means they were not stressed out working with Veterans. And now the best. There was a tremendous reduction in PTSD symptoms after five days!  In the study they used one woman and six men.  For me, this evening was the continuing discovery of what Rutgers University is all about. A singularity in purpose, accomplishment, research and practical betterment of life.

What is the Equine Science Center? Simply, “Better Horse Care through Research and Education.” It’s always best to go to the website and explore their initiatives, faculty, students, outreach, research and resources. There is a brave new world right here in Central Jersey.

The first part of the evening was a facility tour of the Equine Treadmill Demo, part of the Equine Exercise Physiology Lab on College Farm Road. Unfortunately, I missed that, networking, meeting and greeting at the opening reception. At the shank of the evening, I met with Kyle Hartmann, Public Relations Specialist, who mentioned another treadmill demo down the road. I was invited, so this story to be continued.

The banquet dinner was held at the Cook Student Center, an environment replete with airs of agriculture advancement and studies; the food was right up my flexitarian ‘alley.’ Somehow, thinking of the science of horses, you forget the cultural, practical, historical and business aspects of horses.




Brittany Smith

Brittany Smith from the Warren County 4-H spoke about the Triple Crown with its storied history. Citation won in 1948 and was the first horse to win one million. Even as a student of sports history, I didn’t know that. A history of the Triple Crown is a history of America; the lyrics changed in the Kentucky Derby’s “My Old Kentucky Home.” Secretariat setting records in 1973. I remember where I was.

Later, PhD. Candidate Dylan Klein spoke on “Fit as a Horse: Body Composition and Aerobic Capacity During Training and Detraining.”  For me, very practical aspects cutting through the science. What happens to the body when you stop exercising. Training does improve oxygen uptake in horses. Hopefully, I can’t be far behind.  After the crowds had left, I spoke to Dylan (background in nutrition) on my nutritional pursuits since leaving Rutgers Pharmacy School in 1969. To be continued.




Dylan Klein


Warren Zimmerman & Amy Butewicz

Awards were presented. The 2018 Spirit of the Horse Award to Laurie Landy, who runs the Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center. The film of her work with a special needs child was hugely emotional. The 2018 Gold Medal Horse Farm Recipient went to Dorsett Farms owned and operated by Larry and Ann Dorsett.

At the end of the night, the banquet room lights dimmed, I spoke to Amy Butewicz, Co-Chair, first introducing myself and mentioning how the universe and Warren Zimmerman had brought me here, when I least expected to be so captivated and moved. Then the nightcap of synchronicity in the universe; Amy and I both have the same animal activist friend, Amanda, in California, who has a farm for retired, unwanted horses. I knew it was all good about being here at the Equine Science Center, about things meant to be and continued.




Calvin Schwartz

Calvin Schwartz graduated from Rutgers University with two science degrees and spent 12 years in retail Pharmacy and over 25 years in optical sales and management. Along the road of personal reinvention, there were several trips to Sedona, Arizona for barefoot red- mountain vortex climbing and decades of Jersey shore jetty sitting and Atlantic Ocean salt air inhalations. What followed was an evolution to a spiritualist, environmentalist, and trans-humanist (looking for ways to live to 150 years without overdosing on broccoli). Ten years ago, his first novel ‘Vichy Water’ was published and he subsequently morphed into a journalist, producer, co-host of NJ Discover LIVE TV and a ‘Jack of All Trades’ writer for NJ Discover where he covers music, environment, homelessness, animal causes and anything else relevant to Jersey’s molecular magic. A second novel is in the ‘reinvention’ works.   

Facebook:  Cal Schwartz    Instagram:  cal_schwartz       Twitter: Earthood      Novel Website:      Email:

October 17, 2017

Meet Laurie Zaleski, Animal Activist, Owner, Funny Farm Rescue; an Animal Sanctuary; A Most Amazing Place and One of New Jersey’s Top Ten Family Places to Visit. By Calvin Schwartz October 17th 2017

Meet Laurie Zaleski, Animal Activist, Owner, Funny Farm Rescue; an Animal Sanctuary; A Most Amazing Place and One of New Jersey’s Top Ten Family Places to Visit.  By Calvin Schwartz 

Oct 17th 2017














with Laurie Zaleski & George DuBois & canine company


This is a short story before my story. Cut to around thirty years ago. I was a regional manager/salesman for Luxottica Group, the world’s leading eyewear company. One of my favorite eyeglass accounts was George DuBois, optician extraordinaire and humanist. He employed a teenage student from across the street, Laurie Zaleski, as an optical technician. That’s the beginning of my story.

I left the optical business ten years ago and drifted out of touch with George and Laurie who was working with the FAA in graphic design. Over the years, an occasional email dealing with current events arrived from George. A few weeks ago, I saw the Funny Farm Rescue Facebook page. I mentioned to George in an email, that I haven’t eaten anything with four legs since 1975 and everything Laurie (and you) are doing to care for abandoned, sick animals is so meaningful.  It hit me; I needed to do an NJ Discover story on Laurie and the farm and get a chance to see them both after so many years.



Laurie & friends



George in the Club Car

Two weeks ago, I drove down to May’s Landing with two GPS systems to help my navigation. I was going to deep south Jersey where they still have general stores and on a relief map, it’s actually not that far from the Mason-Dixon Line.

It’s October and there is supposed to be a chill in the air. It was in the low eighties with a cloudless blue sky. One GPS told me to make a left, the Google Maps told me right turn. It was right as I pulled into the farm complex of 20 acres. I hugged George and Laurie while several dogs gathered around. We sat at a picnic bench; my yellow legal pad primed.

Many years ago, Laurie’s mother rented a house across the street from George’s optical store and when she was a young teenager, started working for him; filing and miscellany.  “My mom worked for animal control so we always had animals. She rented that house for 20 years and when she died, I bought this farm and moved here in 2000.” At the time, Laurie had a graphic design and photography business and works for the FAA as an outside contractor for the past 27 years. To add to her fascinating persona, she has a pilot license.



with “Chuck”


“Chuck” in the Bailey Chair

“When I moved here, I brought 30 animals with me and the numbers slowly grew. I met Dennis, my boyfriend, at the airfield. He’s a pilot too. Now we have 500 animals here. We spend $4000 per month just on feed which becomes $110,000 per year for everything. Five years ago, we started to get donations. Of course, we both work full time.”

The thought occurred to me, that a main thrust of this article should be reaching out to our NJ Discover audience and encourage you all to donate something, anything to help Laurie and company care for these precious 500 animals.

The farm is open for visitors two days a week, Tuesday and Sunday. “People drive from New York and even come from all over the world to see our farm and animals.  Sundays in the summer brings 2000 people to visit. We have a wish list, that people bring food and/or donate but only if they can…. It’s 20 acres so we do hayrides also.”



The goat and my yellow legal pad


Laurie & Goat

Next, Laurie introduced me to ‘Chuck,’ a beautiful German Shepard dog. She explained, with a distinct hint of emotion in her voice, that ‘Chuck’ has a mega-esophagus and has to sit up when he eats. “He can only drink a concoction of blended food as a liquid because the esophagus is blocking food from being absorbed in the GI tract. When I took him to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, they told me it was the worst case they’ve ever seen. They didn’t give him long to live; maybe six months. But that was five years ago.”

There was a lot of love and devotion coming across; it’s so easy to see and feel. Laurie was replete with a refreshing genuineness. All of a sudden, a small black and white goat jumped onto the table top. She hugged him and in a flash the goat was munching on my yellow legal pad. It was a scene perhaps from the ‘Sound of Music.’  (The Lonely Goatherd).



Feeding horse “Socks” with an onlooker


feeding pig and looking for Charlotte’s web nearby

Laurie told me about how they feed ‘Chuck;’ in a Bailey Chair which you can even buy on Amazon. When they brought him home from the hospital, they taught him how to sit. The dog sits upright in this chair so the liquid can go straight down and get partially absorbed into the GI tract.  “Chuck even knows how to hold his own bowl. The hospital bill for ‘Chuck’ was $10,000. The power of Facebook brought 20,000 followers…. 100,000 people prayed for ‘Chuck’…. $7000 was raised in a few weeks.” She told me they don’t use Go Fund Me. “We don’t beg for money. We don’t put sad things up…. Our philosophy is live your life, be happy and give things a chance.”

I was in a tell me more place, totally enthralled/awestruck with her devotion and caring. I think she could tell. “I rehabbed a peacock who lived in my kitchen for three months.” I asked about her dreams for the farm. “I’ll leave the farm to be an animal rescue forever. I think this is the last animal rescue in New York, New Jersey and Delaware (as far as I know) We are one of the Top Ten places to go with a family in all of New Jersey.”



with volunteer Jack & lonely goat


the “cat house”

“How did this farm all happen?”  “This place took a life of its own when I came here with 30 animals. I met Dennis flying. He is the equipment guy and sees the big picture about making a difference. George is so devoted and incredibly handy with tools. We have 20 loyal volunteers and a pool of 100 more volunteers. Pete, over there, volunteers and is on oxygen…. Funny, we started with 30 animals, which became 300 and now 500.”

Laurie explained that there is no politics on the farm. “Just be kind to the animals.” She talked about some dealings with the local vegans, about their complaining that she had leather seats in her car. “I’m a vegetarian, different from being a vegan.”  I told her about my being a flexitarian since 1975. I eat nothing with four legs, but do eat chicken, turkey and fish. I’m not perfect yet. “My mission is not to change you into a vegan. Be kind to animals. She told me about a little girl who came to the farm, held a baby chick and then told her mother she’ll never eat chicken again.




the horse is 45 years old and is loving life


Laurie & happy donkey

My mind was swimming in thoughts about writing this article and continuing to spread the word about all the goodness and caring going on here. I’ve got ideas, I told Laurie and George. Next up, was the tour of the barns and stables in the Club Car (from a golf club) with George. He built many of the animal residences. I fed the pigs and looked all around for Charlotte’s web. George showed me the barn with the cat houses; I took a few pictures leaving the innuendo outside. There was probably a dozen cat sleeping quarters.

Later, Laurie and I took a walk past a barn and a horse grazing. The horse was 45 years old and was peacefully living out a life. This kind of sums the experience up for me. The love and caring everywhere. Earlier, I fed a white horse, ‘Socks’ some bread. When I was writing notes, I felt a warm moist sensation on my arm. It was ‘Socks’ thanking (kissing) my arm.

George, Laurie and I hugged again, vowing to get together much sooner than later. There is so much here that people need to know about. I love the mantra of NJ Discover; to elevate the people and places of New Jersey. And now we’ve done that to animals.  And please help out this non-profit. Everything, anything helps. And so it goes.


Facebook page:

DONATIONS:  can made by PayPal, or mailed to:  Funny Farm Rescue   6908 Railroad Boulevard.  Mays Landing, NJ 08330

For more information, please contact:

MISSION: “The Funny Farm Rescue is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charity. We are personally and professionally committed to the well-being of abused and abandoned animals. We provide food, shelter, medical care, compassion and love for the rest of their natural lives in a permanent, safe and healthy environment.”


“The Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary takes in animals from the SPCA, the Pig Placement Network, Atlantic City Police, Atlantic County Wildlife Aid, Humane Society, as well as the public. By starting a non-profit 501 (c)(3), the help from donations, we can pay for food, veterinary expenses and improve facilities, aiding in the quality of life for the animals.”


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