Posted on Dec 09, 2014
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
The Gentle Barn was my dream since I was seven- years old, but it has taken me almost 30 years to get it started. I had times where I got lost, but I never forgot my dream and I was finally able to create it fifteen-and-a-half years ago. I have gone through many trials along the way and have sacrificed a lot, but I finally am living my dream each and every day. My biggest hero is my husband who helped me make my dream bigger and better than I had ever hoped, and the animals who have taught me everything I know about life and about myself!
I know there are so many people out there who have dreams too and I wanted to share my story in order to inspire others to go after theirs. My book, My Gentle Barn, Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope, is a love story between Jay and I, a story about going after a dream, and it is a book about resilience starring all the founding animals and the original groups of kids who came to The Gentle Barn to heal.
My favorite thing about writing this book has been meeting people all over the world who were inspired by it and have shared their stories with me. Here is what one woman who read My Gentle Barn shared in an e-mailed note:
“Dear Ellie and all at the Gentle Barn,
Your book was honestly one of the best I have ever read! I loved it to bits. I wanted to read it all at once but didn't want it to ever end! I live in Alberta, Canada, home of the farmer, rodeo and cowboys, yuck! I hope a lot of people here will read your book and gain new understanding of how amazing farmed animals are!
I am sending you a photo of me sharing your book with a black calf named Hope. Hope is my best friend, I spend all my free time with her and the other 12 cows we have. I grew up on a farm and hated it every year when my father would send the calves I had loved so dearly to market. I became vegetarian at 16 and now at 24 I am transitioning to veganism! Last year my father passed away and so my mom and I were left to make all choices on our farm. We immediately decided to 'retire' our cows who had been exploited all their lives and to keep the calves we had with their mothers forever! So we kind of have a sanctuary of our own!
Thank you so much for all you do! I want to be like you one day! I really hope you will write another book, you are so talented at it! I am trying to write a book about my cows and the treatment of cows on small family farms, but it's quite daunting!
Thanks again for saving the animals and God bless!