A couple of weeks ago, quite by accident, I came across an organization that stole my heart. I knew I needed to share The Gentle Barn with everyone to raise awareness about the amazing work they do, and hopefully, entice donations.
Yes, I am an animal lover. It doesn’t matter whether they have fur, feathers, scales, or skin. In my eyes, they deserve equal ground in this world.
Animals don’t often get equal ground. In fact, at some factory farms the animal’s feet never touch the ground. They have never known the taste of green grass or felt a misty rain. But at The Gentle Barn, they get a second chance to do just that and an opportunity to experience love, kindness, and respect. Ellie Laks founded the Gentle Barn in 1999, fulfilling a dream to create a home to host animals in need. What is really amazing is that it has evolved into a healing home for both animals and humans. The Gentle Barn has expanded to three states: California, Missouri, and New York. Her goal is to have a Gentle Barn in every state.
What I love about this place is that there are so many ways to give. Donate money or time. Muck a stall, become a docent, help out in the office, groom the horses. There is an opportunity for everyone. My favorite page on their website showcases all the animals you can sponsor. Do you want to help out a chicken rescued from a slaughter house? Sky, the blue-eyed dog? An emu named Earl? They are all there waiting for your attention.
Then the animals reciprocate as only an animal can. Need to hug a cow? No kidding, a cow can be therapeutic. I see this all the time at county fairs. The 4H kids, exhausted from showing their animals, are often found asleep or lounging on their beautiful cows. It’s like having a cow nanny. If cows aren’t your thing, there is Horse Therapy and Barnyard Therapy. Pet a pig, talk to a goat. When listening to Ellie on Tik-Tok, her animal wisdom is overwhelming. My guess is that she understands the powerful linkage between animals and humans, something overlooked for far too long by many of us.
I could go on and on about this, but have a look for yourself. Check out their website at www.gentlebarn.org/programs. If you live in one of these cities or plan on driving through Santa Clara (near Los Angeles), Nashville or St. Louis, consider arranging a visit for yourself or the family. They are also on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thegentlebarn. I guarantee your eyes won't stay dry.
There are events in our lives that are lifechanging. We don't go into the experience assuming that will happen, but when we emerge, we realize it was a special encounter that will hover in our hearts forever.
Share your love with an animal friend.