Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.
Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

Open Hearts


We had a wonderful group of kids from the inner city visit the week before Thanksgiving. I asked them if they were excited about the upcoming holiday and they all said yes in happy unison. I asked them what was their favorite thing about Thanksgiving and some said the pie, some said eating turkey, some said it was getting together with family. I asked them if they knew anything about turkeys and they said no. So, I told them all about turkeys; how the males love to show off, how the females love to cuddle, how turkeys are so loving and smart, and how one turkey even helped a mute girl speak.

Then we went to spend time with The Gentle Barn turkeys. The children watched Sir Fancy Pants show off and told him he was handsome. They each took turns cuddling with Claire and they were delighted when she closed her eyes and fell asleep in their laps. We also spent time with our newly rescued turkeys, Paloma and Scarlett, picnicking on fresh cranberries and listening to their happy sounds.

We ended our time together at the wishing well where we talked about how Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for us, but not such a great time of year for turkeys. We get to eat great food, relax, and get together with friends and family, while turkeys are ripped away from friends and family and destroyed. Then, each child made a wish at the wishing well: one for themselves, and another one for turkeys everywhere. They each shut their eyes and held on to the wishing well and made wishes for a gentler world for everyone.

While they were piling into the van to head home, I hugged each one goodbye, they thanked me for introducing them to new friends, and I thanked them for being so gentle with our animals. One of them whispered into my ear as I hugged him goodbye, “I don’t think I will be eating turkey from now on.” So young and so loving, ready to make a change for the better and do what is right and peaceful. I feel honored to know them, blessed to have opened their eyes, and safe knowing that the future of this county is in their hands! May we all be so open to love and to change!

Written by Ellie Laks

Founder, The Gentle Barn

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