Posted on Jun 14, 2018
My Gentle Barn story started with my first visit. I originally heard of The Gentle Barn from my brother who at the time was doing community service. I had just recently gone vegan, and I remember leaving The Gentle Barn with my cheeks sore from smiling. I wanting to hug every cow, feed every horse, pet every goat, and I especially remember Ellie's beautiful presentation. I could relate to everything she was saying, and I finally felt a sense of relief. During this time in my life, I felt completely alone and wanted to give up everything. I had transferred schools because I was getting bullied, I lost all of my friends, including someone very important to me. I didn't leave my room, I didn't eat, and I didn't have a very supportive family. I cried every day because of how helpless I felt. Going Vegan was how my life first turned around, and I finally felt happier, healthier, and more motivated. I finally built the courage to speak to Ellie to thank her and share my story with her. I wasn't looking to volunteer, but Ellie asked ME to volunteer. I was so touched that I filled out an application that day.
When I first started volunteering at The Gentle Barn I would have never imagined how much this place would change my life. For the first 2 months, I worked with every animal. First cow gate, goats, pigs, Faith the cow, Andrew the horse, and Sun the turkey. But cows always had a special place in my heart, and I knew they were who I wanted to work with. Something about how big they are but yet have such a gentle demeanor attracted me. I felt like I had a lot to learn from them. I put in a request and soon became Gentle Ben's docent, and I was lucky enough to work with him for a year, until; he passed away recently. I gained so many amazing experiences and likeminded friends (human and non). My year with Gentle Ben was absolutely magical. He opened my heart and became my best friend. I never knew I could love a cow as much as I loved him. He allowed me to cry on his soft fur, he made me laugh, and he filled me with so much hope. Knowing he had a hard time in the beginning of his life, yet was able to recover and open thousands of hearts, gave me hope. He was the greatest teacher and ambassador I have ever had!
It's so easy to feel helpless knowing billions of animals are being killed for food, but for the first time in a long time, I have hope and I hope that after reading this and learning about The Gentle Barn, you do too. The Gentle Barn has given me hope that by showing people how amazing these animals are in a gentle, compassionate way, we can truly change the world. Every week I am able to hear stories of how people have gone vegan, witness people interact with animals leaving them in tears, and eventually watch people leave with a new perspective. It's easy to forget about the victims on our plates, but meeting these animals and being able to see and feel their love and intelligence is like no other. We have so much to learn from these animals.
The Gentle Barn is my life now. The other volunteers and the staff have already become a family to me and I look forward to seeing them, along with the animals, every single week. I will never ever be able to fully thank Ellie (or the animals) for how much they have helped me. I came in shy, depressed, angry, lost, and broken. The Gentle Barn is a place of hope, happiness, relief, kindness, and it has given me unbelievable healing that I never imagined possible. The Gentle Barn truly heals animals and humans alike.