Posted on Jul 01, 2016
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
I discovered The Gentle Barn when a friend of mine posted something about Dudley on her Facebook page. After reading it, I immediately started following the original Gentle Barn Facebook page. Shortly after that, I decided to take a break from social media which made it difficult to follow Dudley's story. While having lunch one day, my friend and, now, fellow co-volunteer, Leslie, informed me that The Gentle Barn was coming to Tennessee and that they would be looking for volunteers. I was ecstatic! I had been wanting to work with an animal sanctuary, for a while, but we didn't have one close by. I started volunteering at The Gentle Barn Tennessee in August. I remember my first night volunteering and Andrea asking me if I wanted to give Henry and Horton tummy rubs after they had eaten dinner. I was in heaven. I sat on the muddy grass, listening to Henry snort, Rick crowing in the background, and the smell of animal waste in the air. I felt at peace. Every time I got to come volunteer I was so excited and I, still, get that feeling. I love washing the animals food bowls, after dinner, and Dudley's prosthesis but one of my favorite jobs is scooping the pasture. For me, it's meditative.
I've always felt different than other people. I'm highly sensitive, an empath, an introvert, I notice things that others don't, and I communicate differently. When I came to The Gentle Barn Tennessee, I knew that I would find other animal lovers and that was good enough for me. What I never expected was to find others that cry as easily as I do; the beauty of a sunrise, a random act of kindness, and, yes, cruelty to animals. I never expected to fall in love with these people that I work beside, and I, now, call my Gentle Barn family. Several months back, I purchased Ellie's book, "My Gentle Barn" and I started reading it the next day. From the very beginning of the book I was crying because so much of what Ellie went through hit very close to home and then it hit me, I'm not just a volunteer at The Gentle Barn, I am a part of The Gentle Barn-The Gentle Barn Family. The Universe brought me, here, because this is where I'm supposed to be.