Inspiring Kindness and Compassion towards Animals, Our Planet, and Each Other
Inspiring Kindness and Compassion towards Animals, Our Planet, and Each Other

Bodhi - Behind the Scenes

We said goodbye to our beloved Bodhi this week. At the age of ten, he was in the end stages of heart failure, and when it was obvious that he was not responding to any of the treatments, and his symptoms were getting worse, we knew it was time to be strong for him and walk him home.

Helping an animal out of their body and out of their suffering has become a very spiritual experience for me. When all the decisions and arrangements had been made and the veterinarian was about to do what she medically must do to help Bodhi cross over, I did not watch or listen to what the vet was doing, but rather I closed my eyes and connected to Bodhi. I talked to him in my mind and thanked him for the amazing job he did. I thanked him for having the courage to jump out of the truck bound for slaughter and for finding a way into our barnyard. I thanked him for always being gentle to children and all our guests. I thanked him for rolling over for tummy rubs for about 300,000 people over the course of his life with us! I thanked him for the unconditional love he poured out to the special needs children we hosted. I thanked him for opening so many hearts and for being an amazing ambassador on behalf of animals everywhere. I pictured all of us giving him a standing ovation as he left. I visualized him lifting easily and effortlessly out of his body. I saw Bodhi in my mind’s eye joyously bathing in eternal love and light as he transitioned. I felt his spirit glide out of the barnyard, out of this realm and into the next. As I thought to myself, “he’s gone,” the veterinarian put her hand on my shoulder and whispered the same words.

For several hours after Bodhi’s transition, I was so connected to his elation and relief over not being in that failed body anymore that I could not even cry. I was so happy for him. However, when I went to check on the babies for the night, and I realized that I would not be tucking Bodhi into bed anymore, I lost it. I sat in the barnyard and cried and cried. I let myself grieve. My tears started for Bodhi, but after a while I started thinking of all the senior animals we have lost recently and how much it hurts; Sassy, Monty, Biscuit, Lazar. Then I thought of how hard this work is and how much suffering there is left in the world and I cried even harder. The sun set, the night turned colder, the animals all put themselves to bed, and the slightest breeze started to caress my cheeks. I dried my tears, I got up off the ground, and I went to close up the barnyard like I always do. I checked on the chickens, goats and sheep. I fed everyone bedtime cookies by myself in the dark. I hugged the cows for a very long time and let them heal me. Then I tucked our remaining piggies, Zeus, Truffles, and Jellie into bed with their favorite blankets and kissed them on their heads, remembering that they are seniors as well, determined to love them as much as I can, for as long as I can.

It’s not easy doing this work. It is not easy letting go and saying goodbye. It is not easy loving so much that it hurts. I will continue to grieve and go to the animals for support and comfort. As the days pass, and more memories of Bodhi are shared and remembered, the grief will soon turn into gratitude that a Bodhi pig went “wee, wee, wee,” all the way into my heart forever!

If you have pictures or stories about Bodhi or his best friend Biscuit, who we lost a few months ago, please share them with us. It helps so much remembering them and loving them with you!

By Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn

Latest Posts

Upcoming Events

  • Thermal Horizon - Windsong Retreat (Spring 2024)

    May 4th 2024 - The Gentle Barn California

    Let’s come together as a community as we support The Gentle Barn in their endeavor to enrich the lives of abused animals worldwide. Let’s bring our loving hearts, the spirit of opportunity and fill our cups emotionally, spiritually, and physically as we celebrate unity in community by helping these wonderful support animals.

  • Chakra Meditation and Sound Healing (Spring 2024)

    May 18th 2024 - The Gentle Barn California

    Clear, Balance and Align your 7 main Chakras through guided meditation, chanting, and Integrative sound bath. When your chakras are aligned, the energy moves through you more freely, and you can feel in harmony with all aspects of your physical, emotional and spiritual self.

  • Open Sunday in Missouri

    We are excited to be open to the public again on Sunday, at The Gentle Barn: Missouri.

  • Open Sunday in California

    We are excited to be open to the public again on Sunday, at The Gentle Barn: California.

  • Open Sunday in Tennessee

    We are excited to be open to the public again on Sunday, at The Gentle Barn: Tennessee.