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

Finding Ourselves at Gentle Barn, Tennessee

Jay and I are in Knoxville, Tennessee, this week to host children in foster care coming to The Gentle Barn. We also hosted another very special group. We auctioned off a trip from CA to TN during our Thanksgiving event and the winners came to spend time with us and meet Dudley and his pals. We had such a wonderful time!

They arrived at the barn first thing in the morning and got to join in the feeding, cleaning, and caring for all the animals. They helped prepare the bowls of warm grain for the pigs and bring them outside for the day. They were able to assist with putting Dudley's prosthesis on and groom him and Destiny. They were also able to feed them cookies and bring Dudley and Destiny outside for the day. Also, they assisted in helping to groom the horses and feed them carrots. Then we all worked together to clean the stalls, fill water buckets, and set up hay in all the feeders for dinner.

Katherine's dream for ten years was to hug a cow. However, she didn't just want to hug a cow who was scared of her, she wanted to hug a cow who wanted it and would hug her back. So, after all the chores were done we took our visitors to Dudley. He was lying down and welcomed us to sit with him. Jeremy, Katherine, and I got to cuddle with Dudley and take in his loving, healing, warm energy. It was amazing and filled all of us up with joy and happiness!

Their other wish was to cuddle with the pigs. The pigs were sleeping in a giant fluffy leaf pile when we found them and they gladly rolled over for tummy rubs while they grunted thank you’s. We snuggled and spooned Henry and Horton and fell in love.

After lunch we fed grapes and greens to the chickens and turkeys. Jeremy and Katherine helped us bring all the animals in for the night, feed them dinner, give them bedtime cookies and kisses, and tuck them into bed.

A wonderful day was had by all and we all slept with smiles on our faces that night. It's pure magic when we can switch off our cell phones and clear a day to let nature in. Meditating with Dudley, feeling the pigs' velvety soft tummies, inhaling the flowery scent of the fresh air, laying on the grass and watching the fluffy clouds float by in a blue sky, allowing ourselves to make time to be serenaded by the birds chorus - that is what nourishes the soul. That experience is what connects us to animals, to nature, and to true love.

We didn't just spend time with animals that day, we found our true selves. We connected back to what is true, what is real, and what is important. We all live these noisy, over-scheduled lives where we don't have time or space for nature. Is that why we are destroying our environment? Is it because we have forgotten to let her in? Can you imagine a world where we all took the time to rest our cheeks on the fluffy shoulder of a cow, close our eyes, and feel truly alive?

I welcome all of you to come spend time at The Gentle Barn in California or Tennessee. Come hug a cow, give a pig a tummy rub, and remember who you are and who we all are meant to be.

Written by Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn

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