Posted on Apr 01, 2016
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Like most of us here at the Gentle Barn, I discovered this amazing organization on Facebook. I would sit on my couch, tears streaming down my face, as I’d read about the heartbreaking and inspiring stories of animal rescue and rehabilitation. I shared these stories with anyone who would listen, including my husband, Jimmy. A fellow animal lover, Jimmy, shared my excitement about the Gentle Barn and we decided that taking a trip out to California was another item on our ‘bucket list’. When it was announced that the Gentle Barn was opening its second location in Knoxville, TN, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that the nonprofit organization that touched my heart so deeply was going to be 10 minutes from my house. Jimmy and I bought our tickets and visited the new Gentle Barn Tennessee in June 2015. It was such a wonderful feeling meeting the animals that I’d read about on Facebook. And then I met Ellie. I was star struck! The woman that I’d admired from a distance was now autographing her book for me and having her picture taken on my cell phone! I knew immediately that I needed to be a part of this worthwhile cause.
So 8 months later, I’m not only part of an incredible organization but a member of a family who shares an unending passion for animals. The joy I feel when I’m at the barn is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. The volunteers are the most positive, compassionate, giving people I’ve ever met. And the animals fill my soul with their resilience, forgiveness, and love. Whether I’m working a midweek barn shift, tending to the piggies on a Saturday, or attending an advisory board meeting, I feel so grateful for the Gentle Barn.