Posted on Feb 04, 2015
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
I remember the day I received the call like it was yesterday clearing me to volunteer at The Gentle Barn, a place I barely knew other than that they shared the deep love and profound respect I have always felt for animals. My first day I felt as if I was entering a dream, I finally found a place I immediately belonged to where I could be of service, while deep inside I knew it would serve me more than I could ever serve it.
The beginning of my time at The Gentle Barn, I was given the opportunity to be with the cows, mainly Vegan who was both magnificent in his being as well as his story, act as “bodyguard” to the goats that were compassionately rescued from the Backyard Butcher, but thanks to Ellie I found my home with two of my favorite boys in the universe, Biscuit and Bodhi, who I have been gifted to tell their stories for over 2 ½ years.
My testimonial is not only for the gratitude that The Gentle Barn came into my life, along with 170 animals that I have loved since the moment I met them but also to the maybe lesser known story of how profoundly the people have impacted my life and so many others.
I am an introvert and never thought I was capable of being a voice for anyone. Ellie has a profound gift for understanding animals, but I have witnessed her transform people as well, including myself. I remember the day I was given the gift of working with Biscuit on a Sunday, she looked at me and said she needed someone who could tell his story and she said, “you can do it”. I thought she was completely off base, but I was there to be of service so I did it. That day will be in my memory forever. I was able to tell Biscuit’s story to so many visitors over and over again (and I got some cuddle time with him too)! That was the beginning of my 2 ½ year love story with Biscuit and his best friend Bodhi, and also the beginning I like to say of me.
Some of the best memories of my life have taken place at The Gentle Barn ~ seeing my now husband get “kissed” by Buttercup which changed his life forever, our first cruelty free Thanksgiving with our newfound Gentle Barn family, the Sunday we had these two amazing visitors (Sky and Xray) who stayed with me and Biscuit all day where I got to hear them tell his story to visitors (most precious thing ever!), witnessing every weekend our visitors give so much love back to the animals that were saved and seeing people transform before my eyes when they snuggle with a pig or cuddle a turkey, the laughs and love shared with my fellow volunteers and my favorite day of my life so far ~ my wedding.
The moment I set foot on The Gentle Barn property, I felt the love so deeply and it has been an outpouring ever since. I have to come to know the greatest people and animals that will be in my heart forever and have shaped who I am today.
My life has been forever changed by my time at The Gentle Barn.