Posted on Nov 05, 2014
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Tatti’s family was moving and could not take him with them. He was so sweet that we wanted to make sure he didn’t get left behind at the shelter. So, we agreed to help him find a loving forever home. When we posted him on Facebook, we got many wonderful applications and we called to arrange the first home check. The potential home was an hour and a half away, but well worth it if he could get adopted and be adored for the rest of his life. On our road trip, Tatti tried to sit in my lap, but I feared it would be unsafe because of the airbag if we got into an accident. So, he sat on the seat next to me with my arm around him the entire time: what a love!
About an hour into the drive, as we were snuggling and singing love songs together with the radio, we passed a slaughter truck and the fun mood screeched to an immediate halt. I was afraid to look, afraid that seeing their faces would destroy me. I felt guilty for not looking. How could I not be their witness? The world seems blind to their suffering. I should at least have been brave enough to look them in the eyes and apologize.
I thought it so ironic that here Tatti was, one kind of animal being driven far away for the chance of finding a wonderful new home because he is precious and valuable, while the other kind of animal being driven to their death because society does not recognize their intelligence, their worth. Why? It seemed so unfair! Oh how I wished I could pull that truck over and bring all those cows to The Gentle Barn so that we could love them, hug them, brush them, and care for them, as they deserved!
I kept praying that at the very least their death was easy, painless, and quick! Soon, they would be home with the angels, away from this place, feeling no fear anymore. And I prayed that one day, soon, people would open their hearts and make kinder choices so that all animals would know love and be valued in our society as our neighbors, healers, and friends.
I cried the rest of the way, Tatti licking my tears and consoling me the best he could. It seemed so ironic to me that if the home check worked out, Tatti would be eating dog food made out of the cows that we just saw on the highway. So, after Tatti explored the house and I talked to the woman and approved her to adopt him, I talked to her about the possibility of feeding Tatti home made vegetarian food made from quinoa and brown rice, beans and lentils, and different vegetables. I told her that this mixture was totally veterinarian approved and in our experience made the dog’s teeth cleaner, their weight more manageable, and their coat more shiny. Tatti’s new mommy seemed open to the idea and in a way that made me feel a little less helpless, a little less hopeless, that we had made a tiny difference that day.
I left the home check smiling for Tatti and his new family, but behind the smile were still tears and the images of the slaughter truck that will stay in my mind forever. I may not have been brave enough to look at the cows as we drove past the truck, but I am writing this story so we can all be the cows’ witnesses.
I dream of a world where there are no more slaughter trucks, but instead all we will see on the freeway are miles and miles of fruit and vegetable gardens. I dream of a world where we value cows, not for their flesh, but for their hugs and unconditional love. I dream of a world where we see animals not for how we can eat, wear or use them, but for the healing gifts they have for us and us for them. Please help me create that world, please?
Written by Ellie Laks,
Founder, The Gentle Barn