Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.
Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

Nineteen Years

Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner - Early Years of Gentle Barn California

We have been so focused on our opening in Nashville that I haven’t even talked about our anniversary coming up. On August 26th there will be celebrations in all three Gentle Barn locations as we hit nineteen years of service to animals, people, and our planet. In Los Angeles, we will be celebrating our anniversary along with our calf Ferdinand’s first birthday. There will be music, a snow cone truck, and a big cake for Ferdinand and all his friends to share. In St Louis, we’ll be celebrating our piggy Penny’s first birthday as well as our anniversary. We’ll have lots of treats and fun. And in Nashville, we’ll be celebrating our anniversary along with Dudley’s legacy. Please come join us in the state nearest you!

Time is a funny thing, sometimes passing so quickly I can’t grasp it, and other times there is so much that fills up even a day. When I look back at nineteen years I feel like it went by in a blink, but at the same time, it feels like a lifetime. We have loved so many animals who taught us so very much about life. We have hosted hundreds of thousands of people and loved their stories and fallen in love with thousands of children who opened up their hearts and souls to us. We have had beloved volunteers come and go, and we’ve also had volunteers stay with us through the years to become family. We have overcome crippling losses, persevered through insurmountable challenges, and seen miracles every day. We started on a tiny half acre, and have now grown to have locations in three states. I started alone, cleaning the barnyard, feeding the animals, healing new rescues, and hosting the field trips, tours, and Sundays by myself with a handful of volunteers. Later Jay joined me, and it was just a few of us for years. Then we slowly grew to twenty-five employees and thousands of volunteers.

No matter how big or impactful our organization gets, the issues remain the same. In animal rescue, we are always dealing with the best and the worst of humanity. We see people do cruel and heartless things that bring us to our knees. And at the same time, we see young children with so much love, light, and wisdom, who automatically know what’s right and wrong, and give us so much hope. We encounter people who will probably never change, who have hardened hearts and are willing to be sick rather than change to gentler ways. And then we meet people who the minute they hug one of our cows they go vegan. We experience militant activists who pour their veganism out with hatred, judgment, criticism, and rage. And we also meet people who evolve because they want to love more, and love everyone. At the end of the day, it boils down to one single choice: To choose love or not. This is a very exciting time to be alive, and we are so thankful to be in this movement, as there are more and more people who are choosing love every day!

No matter how big or heartfelt my dream was at the age of seven, or no matter how persistent I was, the reason we are now able to be in three states and save so many animals is because of you and the support of people like you! You have been our partner all along and we are extremely grateful! We can wash the animals’ filthy coats, feed their weary bodies, hold them in our arms, sing to them, read to them, make them feel seen for the first time, and give them something to live for. We can keep their pastures clean, their waters pure, their food fresh, chop up fruits and veggies every day, and give them bedtime cookies every night. But it is only because of your support that we’re able to pay for staff, feed and vet care, and give them the treatments they need to help them recover and thrive. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us do this work for nineteen years, for enabling us to care for animals and tell their stories, and for supporting us in opening gentler hearts around the world!

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Spotlight Sponsor of the Month

Spotlight Sponsor of the Month

Since its founding in 1984 CRYSTAL™ Deodorant has been a vegan, non-toxic, mineral-based line, focused on providing products that are cruelty-free. MyCHELLE Dermaceuticals®, founded in 2000, is known as the creators of the clean skincare movement, and is a brand dedicated to developing high-end, results-driven, cruelty-free products.

Animal testing is still such a problem in the beauty industry and in personal care products. We feel that it is our corporate mission to lead a different way and that is something we are proud to have done with our brands for more than 35 years. CRYSTAL™ and MyCHELLE® are proud to sponsor The Gentle Barns Gentle 12 program for the month of September.
- Catie Wiggy, Vice President of Marketing & Product Innovation for MyChelle Dermaceuticals and CRYSTAL.