12 therapy animals killed after counseling center burns to ground
Seven dogs, three cats, a bunny and a bird, are all dead after a horrible fire in Warsaw Sunday morning. The therapy animals were used to help treat the Isaiah 11 Ministry's clients who have endured trauma and are seeking treatment.
"I was praying the whole time that the animals that were inside were alive, but all of them perished," says Linda Ozier, the Executive Director of the Isaiah 11 Ministry.
The ministry was her life's mission.
"We started with wanting to make a difference in the lives of people: children and adults. Especially those who have been through trauma like abuse, rape, foster care, adoption," explains Ozier. "It's a dual purpose. To serve all of these people, as well as rescuing the animals."
She combined her love for animals, with her calling to help others.
It's a farm that is currently filled with horses, pigs, goats, and more, but is now missing dogs, cats, a dove, and a bunny after Sunday's fire ravaged the entire main building.
"My mom woke me up at 9:30 yesterday morning, and told me the house was completely engulfed in flames and all of the therapy animals were gone," remembers Layla Silveus, a client and volunteer at the Ministry.
It was a place the 13-year-old loved coming to.
"This place is a home for a lot of people," says Silveus. "This is where people go as their safe place."
A safe place that Ozier is determined to keep in operation.
"One of my clients came by and I told her, 'I'll see you for your next appointment!' and she said 'where?'," explains Ozier. "I don't know, maybe we'll be in the pig pen, or maybe we'll be out with the cats in the back, or maybe we'll be in the barn. But I'll be here and you'll be here."
Her strength is fueled by faith.
"We will rise. So no, we're not stopping we're going forward," she says.
The extensive damage and loss will make it harder to do so. The Ministry does not have insurance to cover it all, and they operate solely on donations.
But Ozier still maintains a hope that the community will continue to help out, with donations and volunteer work, to make sure the future is bright.
"[I hope] it's bigger and better and serves more people, and that more people know about us, so we can continue to be a beacon of hope for the community." says Ozier.
A YouCaring page has been set up to help fund the clean-up and rebuilding of the Ministry. The link to the page can be found here.