Posted on May 06, 2014
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Last week, we were visited by some seniors who took a tour of The Gentle Barn, hugging the cows, giving the pigs tummy rubs, and holding chickens. They were mostly city folk and some had never held a chicken or pet a farm animal before. As one 82-year-old woman said, “It’s never too late!” They had a great time and were all smiles!
When they were getting ready to leave and saying their goodbyes to the animals, one woman pulled me to the side and asked if she could talk to me. She explained that when she was younger she worked in film and television and there was a movie she worked on that filmed at a slaughterhouse for two weeks. She said that she saw and heard things there that caused her tremendous pain and the images have haunted her for the last 30 years. She said that she was nervous coming to The Gentle Barn that day because she was afraid it would cause her to re-live those memories. She had tears in her eyes while she told me that to her surprise, coming to The Gentle Barn actually gave her much needed healing and closure. She was able to apologize to the animals for what they go through and for the way things are. She was able to rejoice that at least our animals are given the love and care that all animals deserve and it gave her hope that maybe one day things will shift and change and animals [won’t] have to suffer or die for us to live.
The woman especially bonded with our cow, Aretha, who was rescued from slaughter and, still has the number in her ear as evidence. Aretha is still skittish of us and we need her to stand perfectly still when we take her tag off. Aretha is gaining more and more trust each day and, hopefully in the next month or so we can take the tag out of her ear and she will be truly free. Hopefully, Aretha’s new friend can come see her then and they both can be free: free of the past, free of the pain, free of the images in their heads!