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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.”


January 20, 2012

ER (a real one). I Still Hate the NCAA (Rutgers vs. St John’s Revisited) How to Fix the Economy by December. No Wire Hangers and No More Winter (Snow Fooling?) Linda Chorney Out West. January 20, 2011

Filed under: November 2009 — Tags: , , , , — earthood @ 12:25 pm






With Linda Chorney during a NJ Discover TV shoot.

Before we talk about the paucity of Jersey winter snow, here are a few words about Linda. Life is a bowl of cherries as my friend, Linda Chorney sings on her Grammy nominated album “Emotional Jukebox.” I said goodbye to her the other day as she headed west to warmer climate and proximity to Los Angeles for the February 12th Grammy show. Being a tease sometimes, I did mention that the temperature in New Jersey from the day she left hit 85 degrees. I tongue and cheek the institution of global warming, which is real and might make me a millionaire one day. The millionaire deal; if I live well inland, and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean rise because of melting glaciers and ice formations, then one day, but only for a short period of time, according to the Army Corp of Engineers, whom I play scrabble with on line, I’ll have beach front property. One of the corpsmen told me the beach front property deal might only last one season and to sell quickly then run to Western Pennsylvania.








from the movie 'Mommie Dearest' Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford is yelling "no more wire hangers"


speaking of wire hangers. i took this pix 2 weeks ago in downtown Brooklyn USA

Because a few Facebook groups are concerned with meteorology (many of the groupies are known in some parlances as snow weenies; those folks who live for blizzards and paralyzing snows and read a plethora of futuristic computer reports and charts like North Atlantic oscillation) I’ve decided that New Jersey will not have any snow this winter so I don’t have to buy a snow blower (my source of snow removal moved into his own NYC apartment last June). Passing mid-January the other day, and no sign of significant snow well into February (the weenies are depressed and are already looking at long range forecasts for next December. Well some of them. Others have just given up and are hanging out in Reddit) I’ve been gloating on my decision not to buy a snow blower. My next door neighbor, Charlie Brown, agrees with my wisdom.










Joan Crawford. She doesn't look like she hated wire hangers. Go figure.

Yesterday, ceremoniously I ran around the house in shorts and a red Rutgers tee-shirt yelling, “No wire hangers and no more winter snow.” My tolerant wife of many moons thought I was crazy after all these years. I call it unbridled enthusiasm. Oh the ‘no wire hangers;’ it comes from the movie ‘Mommie Dearest’ when actress and Pepsi stockholder Joan Crawford, a very bad lady, yells those words constantly to her abused little daughter, Christina, who later wrote the mother of all tell-all books about her mother.

So I never watched ER the TV show. Actually I never really watch much television; a lot of underlying reasons for such behavior. Give me liberty, some news, biography, discovery, college sports, history and old movies and I’m OK you’re OK.








J. R. Ewing. Can you believe I bought a hat like that in suburban Jersey


Years ago CBS  TV produced ‘Dallas’ starring Larry Hagman, glamourizing oil rich Texans. One season the story line went off a tangent and CBS resolved that by coming back and scripting the whole year as a dream; an easy way to get out of a bad original script, except viewers like me, who actually wore a J. R. Ewing cowboy hat around the streets of suburban Jersey, wasted a viewing year. No wire hangers and no more insipid television. My wife watched ER.








a generic ER pix



they say hospital food is a turn off.

So this wife comes home from work last week with a sore throat and high fever. A higher fever the following morning means emergency room. I love the word triage; makes me think of ménage. I’ve got 6 years of pharmacy studies under my skin so I know things.  We’ve got vitals and a pulse off the chart and with an abnormally high fever and sore throat, probably a strep throat; an untoward bug for a lady adult to have. I would’ve rushed blood tests to make sure it was strep and get her on IV antibiotics, start cardiac drugs to slow the heart (pulse), throw in a blood thinner(anti-pyretic for the fever) because atrial fibrillation. But hours go by, nothing happens and ineptitude is in the air ducts and heating system. And that poor downtrodden weary patient rep in a suit too short, exposing faded argyle socks; he avoided additional contact with this husband who had all kinds of acquaintances and threats to run to yet another suburban hospital for appropriate care.








On the other side of midnight and a curtain separating ER beds is an aged European lady, barely able to speak English. She’s alone and rang for the nurse for an hour, calling out for help in broken guttural sounds but no help comes because life is for the living and she has no one to be an advocate; there’s neglect, uncaring and microbes all over this sad excuse for an ER. The old woman even called in desperation to a custodian with mop. Then it hit me. She was Father Damien Karras’s mother from the movie ‘The Exorcist.’ A cold wind blew on my face; chills ran up and down my extremities. I could hear her calling for ‘Dimmy,’ a term of endearment for her son.  Out of gripping fear of Mrs. Karras, and being possessed, I started walking to the nurse station to help her when finally a nurse approached with an extra blanket; the poor woman was cold; it’s the winter of my discontent with Emergency Room care in suburban New Jersey. One of my favorite movies was ‘The Hospital’ starring George C. Scott. Had I slipped through that wormhole, time stuck in celluloid? For three days I drifted into medieval times of plagues and famine. They sucked her blood three times a day for every kind of test; I later learned some of those tests were wasted days and nights; just good for the paper chase of reporting to the insurance company to pump a bill up and secure profits for the hospital. I know that.  What a business for someone to check and cross check hospital tests with what’s billed and what’s actually done or the best yet, needed.  I surmise major crimes of deceit. It’s all in the game as Tommy Edwards sang. Get thee to a nunnery but stay the hell away from suburban Jersey ER rooms.

You Tube Tommy Edwards “It’s All in the Game”






the joy of honest college sports as Rutgers fans rush court after upsetting #10 Florida. No cheating refs)



(the sports cover of the NY Post the day after refs fixed the St John’s game)

If you are so moved or curious, you can go back and look at my blogs from March 11th 2011 and April 23rd 2011 when I began hating the NCAA (watchdog of college sports). It all began last March when Rutgers Men’s basketball team played St. John’s in Madison Square Garden’s Big East Tournament. All the big money wanted St. John’s to win and play Syracuse the next day. Near the end of the game, Rutgers (a huge underdog) was about to upset St. John’s and cause a lot of bettors to lose ( I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those losers was the head of the Big East Conference.) So the three referees (under the eyes of the NCAA) did everything they could to help St. John’s by not calling five egregious fouls on them which would’ve put Rutgers on the foul line and then in front of the world and the announcers (and me) walked off the court with nearly two seconds left which was enough time for Rutgers to make a three point shot and win.





(more college sports joy; with the Pinstripe Bowl trophy before Rutgers wins it the next day)

Unheard of in college sports but imagine the pay day these referees got for fixing the game and all the money gamblers made. The NCAA loosely comments on the game and moves the three crooked referees out of Madison Square Garden for the remainder of the tournament. Personally, I hate the NCAA because no one oversees them; a neat monopoly. Some of NCAA executives make $300,000 a year plus for more than 30 years. They spit in the eye and there’s still silence across the land. I bring this up because one of the referees from the St. John’s game (Jim Burr) officiated at Rutgers versus West Virginia last week. Rutgers somehow got seven fouls called against them early in the game and West Virginia had none against them. I listened to the announcers when a West Virginia player threw a vicious elbow at a Rutgers player, enough for a flagrant foul, but nothing was called against West Virginia and Jim Burr was there and the NCAA is a vile crooked organization. Now I need a bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with raisins from sunny California.

I champion the absurdities of life. The American Red Cross President and CEO Marsha J. Evans salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses and we all donate to them. I’m also a bit of cynic. The hype is beginning for the end of the world next December. I expect the hype to pick up and become intense by summer, somehow coordinated with the political landscape. Enough people start to buy into the hype, become fatalists and start living for each day by spending large amounts of money on seven-layer cakes, new zoot suits, a weekend in Dubai, a new car, a few packs of cigarettes and six month subscriptions to periodicals.




(the 3 complicit refs and head of big east who obviously ‘adjusted game outcome’ and NCAA looks the other way)

The effect becomes measurable across the land.  Consumer spending increases and factory orders are up and unemployment drops. Economy is booming by the time kids knock on your door and ask for ‘Trick or Treat.” A lady on the street where I grew up in Newark preferred to give us a trick with a deck of cards. She had a heavy Fidel Castro accent and disappeared one day and not until now, being a fully matured cynic, do I wonder what happened to her. And I’m suddenly inspired to close off this blog by saying what Walter Cronkite used to say and he was the most trusted man in America, “And that’s the way it is”  How’s that for a blog ending?






Walter Cronkite



(Seven layer cake sales to soar staring in summer?)



Two friends get published and go to basketball games.







One Important note. Here’s a wonderful music video to listen/watch on You Tube featuring Linda Chorney, right from here in New Jersey, Grammy nominated for Best Americana Album.

Also a great article about Linda Chorney in Huffington Post:

Also a very worthwhile cause to read up on:

Butterfly Circle of Friends.





Facebook:  Cal Schwartz

Twitter:  Earthood

Email: earthood@gmail.comSnow

book trailer. hey its 65 seconds long





If on Facebook check out this NJ Discover site:


OR   Snow


ARE you in search of another blog that is also outspoken, unique BUT refreshingly, topically unbridled which means uninhibited ????  Meet   LINDA CHORNEY:



Immortality Institute (which represents advocacy and research for unlimited lifespan)


LINKS TO VIDEOS.  Please Watch.


1.   ZOMBIE WALK   October 22, 2011



Nov 11, 2011



Nov 19, 2011

Randall Haywood and Victor Jones Interview from Chico’s House of Jazz Asbury Park



Linda Chorney’s Album


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