Posted on Jun 21, 2018
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
This week marks the year anniversary of Dudley’s passing. For many of us, the news of his transition brought pain, tears, and stopped us in our tracks. I remember not being able to stop screaming. I didn’t want a Gentle Barn without Dudley and I didn’t want to live in a world without Dudley! But as the shock sunk in, and life pulled us forward, we could not help smiling every time we thought about him. I remember him pulling down our Halloween decorations and running around the yard with them, enticing us to chase him. And then we took the corn stalks and ran, and he chased us. He played with a giant bouncy ball, ran around with the pigs, knocked over the wheel burrows whenever he could, and was always making us laugh.
As hilarious as Dudley was, he was also so tender! Each month when I traveled to Tennessee, I would go see Dudley the minute I got there. When he heard my voice, his ears would stand at attention, his eyes would widen, and he would walk forward to greet me. We would look into each other’s eyes, and then I would hug him, and he would wrap his neck around me in an embrace. I would have traveled around the world for one of those hugs! I remember one time he was playing in the pasture with his bovine wife, Destiny. But the foster children were there for their monthly visit and needed him. I asked him if he could give us just ten minutes for the kids to hug and interact with him and he agreed. He stopped what he was doing and lay down. The children all brushed and pet him, and took turns putting their faces on his side, closing their eyes, and feeling his life-changing energy. At exactly ten minutes, when the last child raised her head from his furry shoulder, Dudley got up and looked at us, as if to say, times up, and went right back to playing.
Dudley brought people to tears the minute they saw him for the first time. He inspired fans from around the world to overcome illnesses, persevere through emotional struggles, and adopt a gentle diet. He made us laugh and he showed us all that no matter what we are going through, we can always find joy in each and every moment. I am so deeply grateful for my husband who honored a birthday wish to rescue a cow. I am thankful to our board of directors who gave us the green light to save him and open a Gentle Barn for him. And I am most appreciative of all of you who donated, supported, believed in us, and enabled us to be touched by an angel. He changed the world forever, he changed us forever, and as painful as his leaving was, I would not trade the time I spent with him for the world. If you knew him, you loved him, and if you have not heard about Dudley, please check out his story.
When I close my eyes, Dudley never left. He is right here beside me, and I can still feel his embrace. When I ask a question, he answers me. When I am lost, he finds me. When I am lonely, he fills me. When I close my eyes there is no loss, only love!