Posted on Mar 12, 2015
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Volunteering at The Gentle Barn is like no other experience. Working in the upper barnyard each week gives one a perspective of being privy to the inner feelings and lives of the formerly abused, abandoned, or neglected animals that have been rescued by The Gentle Barn. A volunteer's reward is to see how these animals can overcome their fear of humans and start trusting again. There are so many stories that are touching and can bring tears to your eyes. Each and every animal has an unique story. Formerly abused and neglected children who visit The Gentle Barn see with their own eyes how these animals have left their unhappy pasts to discover joy, happiness, and a life without fear or hunger. The animals who have learned to forgive and trust again demonstrate that there is hope for all, child or animal, through love and respect. Reina, the goat, is an example of a rescued animal who came to the barnyard, not trusting anyone or even the protective environment of The Gentle Barn. When all of the other animals that were rescued at the same time, began to accept the love and respect of the staff and volunteers, Reina resisted. She was a hold-out. Reina isolated herself from not only the humans, but even from her fellow rescued animals. One can only imagine the abuse and suffering she must have endured in her past life. Being a volunteer has allowed me to see how Reina has grown to trust us and not be afraid anymore. It was a longer process for her, but eventually, she started to realize that she was in a safe place. This is just one reason that I love volunteering at The Gentle Barn. Volunteers can make good changes happen.