Posted on Sep 22, 2015
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
My name is Nicholas Moran, “a.k.a . Hat Guy,” and I have always wanted to become a veterinarian. To me, being a veterinarian is more than just a career, it’s a way for me to connect to animals that are in trouble and need my help. I wanted experience working with larger animals, so I would be better prepared for veterinarian school, and I found the perfect place to give me the experience: The Gentle Barn. After a few weeks of working in different locations with different animals, I was assigned to work with Aretha, a cow that had been badly mistreated by her previous caretakers who had trust issues. She would back away from the visitors and frequently would try to hide behind the other cows. After working with her a few times, I wanted to find a way to help her see that not all people were dangerous. Little by little each Sunday, I would pet her, have conversations with her, and feed her carrots. I did this a little each morning and over time I started noticing signs of trust. She started nudging my arm as her signal to me that she wanted me to pet her. Little by little, she allowed the children to pet her too. As I watched Aretha change, it struck me, that all she wanted was for someone to be there for her, to care for her, to protect her. I found myself treating her as if she were my own child or one of my own well-loved cats. Working at the Gentle Barn has given me the opportunity to learn how to communicate with all of the special animals, and give them the voice that they never had. Not only has working with the animals changed my life, but meeting the fantastic volunteers and hearing their stories every day has made me feel part of an amazing community. I have met so many new friends and I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of The Gentle Barn. Not only do I say thank you to the animals and to the volunteers for changing my life, but I thank Ellie and Jay for giving me this great opportunity. This all started the moment I was called “Hat Guy”.