Posted on Sep 02, 2014
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Let me start off by saying that I don’t apologize for the length of this; it’s worth all of my words and then some...
I’ve been working at The Gentle Barn, and The Healing Center, for almost 2 years now. I’m a psychology major that’s working toward obtaining my doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on AAT, animal assisted therapy. When I approached the founder and owner, Ellie, she was more than thrilled to have me. I have always been treated with the utmost kindness and respect since day one by Ellie, her husband Jay, and Ellie’s assistant Michelle. The blood, sweat, and tears they put into their work leaves me in awe, and is wholeheartedly inspiring. There’s nothing that’s out of reach for the animals they rescue and rehabilitate. They receive some of the best treatment of any animal I’ve seen, and I’ve been around a lot of animals in my life. There’s nothing that Ellie and Jay won’t do for the health, betterment, and quality of life of these creatures. Truthfully, they are two of the most magnanimous people I’ve ever met.
I am saddened and disheartened to see and hear The Gentle Barn get negative press. I will never be able to understand people who ruthlessly try and tear down and intimidate people that are doing their out-and-out best to change the world. When one contributes toward the betterment of society, one should be praised and supported, not put in the line of fire. This kind of negative, senseless, and self-serving behavior will never make sense to me. Ever.
I can confidently say that Gentle Barn’s goal is to rescue, to rehabilitate, to facilitate connection between human and non-human, to celebrate life, to teach compassion and empathy, and more. The Gentle Barn rescues animals that are the most neglected and abused, ones that nobody else would be interested in saving. The animals that come there are often on their last leg, so to speak. I bet most people would just euthanized them, they are that bad off. But, with a little kindness, love, therapy, proper diet, supplements, treatments, and medications, these animals can thrive and regain quality of life – and their animals absolutely do. They heal their bodies and their souls. For the first time in many of their lives, they are able to experience what life is supposed to be all about – being free, alive, and content. And, when you share their stories with the public and bring in groups of at-risk youth, who have experienced essentially the same, these people see how resilient, beautiful, and strong animals are and the two then create a commonality, a vulnerability – a bond is created – and empathy and understanding flourishes. This helps unveil a kinder and gentler side to us all. With how rough it is to be a human being in our society, after years of heartache, pain, frustration, trauma, jadedness, etc., we tend to shut down and become complacent and apathetic. The Gentle Barn helps you find that kind place that’s still left in all of our hearts and minds. It’s still there; we all have to just find it again. The Gentle Barn’s goal, outside of compassion and care for animals, is to help people find and reveal this. With all that said, how could anyone try and destroy this? How?
In the end, I’m just a regular guy that’s doing his best to stay afloat in a world where it’s easier to drown. Drowning is even encouraged and failure is forced upon in today’s world. I try to live my life as a decent, concerned, and self-respecting individual. "In a world that makes little of preying upon the meek, showing callous disregard for the pain and suffering of others is not only accepted, but is frequently promoted in different ways by our society. This should make us all stop and think about whether we are actually being true to the values we claim to share." ~Angie Flinn.
The Gentle Barn will forever hold a special place in my heart. Ellie and Jay will always have my support, and they deserve nothing but the best.