For the Love of Animals


Ilona Urban was a retired school teacher from Cleveland until she noticed an interesting article in the daily paper. It was one about Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, a safe haven for animals who had been abused or neglected. When she Urban decided to volunteer at the sanctuary, she did not know how big of a part of her life it would become. She describes the peace she feels when she is around the animals and she cites the many visitors, young and old, who describe a similar feeling. She specifically describes one event the farm holds where mentally disabled children are able to visit with the animals, and the way that the animals and children interact with each other she could only describe as a special experience.

One particularly interesting experience she has had while working at Happy Trails is working with someone who dropped his own successful business to work on the farm. He said that he did not feel happy or content with himself and being around the animals brought him more happiness than his old successful job ever could.

Because of her work with both the animals and like-minded coworkers, Ilona says she feels a sense of peace when she is at Happy Trails. “Their ability to survive, trust, forgive and love after the suffering that they endured never ceases to overwhelm and humble me. To be in their presence is and honor and a gift,” she said. Something must be said for a place that brings not only joy for the visitors, but for the workers themselves.

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