Farmer Gil, a.k.a. Russ Murdock, has always loved animals. Because of an abusive childhood he was drawn to caring for animals, especially those that had been abused. Animals are very non-judgmental and are quick to recognize and respond to kind and loving hearts. Approximately eight years ago he purchased a small farm in northern Utah and began rescuing abused horses and orphaned livestock. This hobby farm soon became his healing passion. Helping animals trust humans and experience kindness became a way he could heal from the painful childhood memories. It wasn't long until other people learned of this safe haven and began volunteering around the farm.
Russ was content being a single dad until a kindhearted Texas cowgirl caught his eye. However, he was determined to never "fall in love" again (because it didn't work out too well before). As their friendship began to blossom, he still refused to sign any correspondence; "Love, Russ" instead choosing to sign letters ; "Growing in love, ...". Eventually the nickname G.i.l. (Growing in love) stuck. For those who truly know him, this new name is very apropos, because of the love he freely gives to the people and animals he is surrounded by.
Gil and his new wife were married and he moved his farm to Taylorsville, half a block from his wife's home.
In 2012, the company Gil worked for laid-off nearly 23,000 employees. He either had to give up his hobby rescue farm or "go big". With the support of his sweet wife, Gil decided to pursue is dream of creating a place where people and animals could come together to heal. A chance visit to purchase a gift at The Doll Shop at Gardner Village led to conversations that eventually opened doors to opening a petting farm and pony ride business at Gardner Village. In the years since expanding the animal rescue, a whole new "family" has been created around helping these sweet animals heal, and in the process many lives have been changed for the better.
Farmer Gil would like to thank everyone who has become part of this mission to bring joy to animals (both the four legged and the two legged variety). Many of you have "adopted" him as a son, brother, uncle, father, and grandfather. He continues to"grow in love"with each of you every day.