Inside the Story: Farmer finds healing through rescuing animals

Inside the Story: Farmer finds healing through rescuing animals Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) He rescues dozens of animals and has started his own petting zoo at Gardner Village. But it turns out, Gil Ma, also known as "Farmer Gil," is the one being rescued.

Ma has been rescuing abused horses for about 10 years.

But he never expected it would later lead to a petting zoo, that's become a place of healing for all involved.

Gil's farm is on the west side of Gardner Village, complete with horses, pigs, lambs, alpacas, goats, bunnies, and chickens.

"It's an actual petting zoo," Ma said. "It's hands on. They get to go into the stalls."

It's a full nonprofit animal rescue farm that Ma has been running for five years.

About 90-percent of the animals were rescued from abused or neglected homes.

The goal is to eventually get the animals back into loving homes.

But rescuing them has actually helped rescue Ma, who suffered abuse in his childhood.

"I get the therapy of helping something that can't help themselves. Helping people, providing a place for people to come. A safe place," he said.

Ma isn't the only one finding healing. so are his four employees and volunteers. Some of them have special needs.

"It's like the perfect thing for me. It makes me happy all the time," said Victoria Cochrane.

"There are so many times where it gets hard and I want to quit," said Ma of running the farm. "I can't because it touches too many lives."

Ma's ideal situation would be to expand his farm and turn it into an old western set.

The farm survives on donations and entrance fees.

For more information or if you want to help out, visit the farm's website.