Posted on Feb 06, 2020
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
February brings Valentine’s Day and with it, flowers, romance, and great appreciation for our loved ones. I will definitely be spending some special time with Jay and adoring our children with vegan chocolates. But I want to spend some time acknowledging our animals who love as deeply as we do, and have beautiful relationships in our barnyard. I first started realizing how bonded animals are and how affected they are when separated from their loved ones when many years ago an old goat passed away leaving his much younger girlfriend. She was very healthy but refused to live in a world without her soulmate and passed away a week after he did. We even did a necropsy to be sure we didn’t miss an illness and sure enough, the veterinarian confirmed that there was nothing medically wrong with her. And many times people come to me to communicate with their horses who suddenly seem distraught and inconsolable. And when I ask if their horse or any of their horse's friends in the barn have moved, the answer is always yes. Animals love as deeply as we do, they mourn as deeply as we do, and they want to remain with their loved ones just like we do!
This Valentine's Day we will be celebrating our horses Zoe and Willy Wonka who have been a couple ever since Zoe’s twin brother passed away and Willy promised to care for her. The two of them can be found grooming each other from head to toe, or just standing side by side daydreaming. We have tried to acclimate them to the rest of our herd but Willy is so protective over Zoe that they need to be in a separate honeymoon suit instead. And while Willy Wonka will occasionally show off for the other ladies from afar, at the end of the day he is always right next to Zoe keeping her safe and making her feel loved.
In the twenty-year history of The Gentle Barn, we’ve had many love affairs between species. The chickens seem to love the pigs and can often be found sleeping on top of them. And our goat, Gus loves our turkey, Sun. The two of them have a very special bond and will find each other every day to meditate together and speak a silent language that only the two of them understand. Sun will close her eyes, lean her tiny pink head against Gus’ side, and Gus will encircle her with his neck, the two of them in a trance together for hours. These two enlightened beings see the similarities, not the differences between them, and serve as a tribute to all unique couples everywhere. Love is love no matter the orientation and at The Gentle Barn, we recognize and celebrate them all!
Karma is the matriarch of our cow family and by her side is her mate, Forgiveness. This royal couple disciplines the adolescents raises the young and cares for everyone in their family. Each morning after breakfast they can be found grooming each member of their tribe and then meditating together in a circle. Forgiveness allows no one to disrespect the ladies, and Karma enables everyone to feel safe and secure with her wisdom and grace. Karma and Forgiveness are both in their teens and living longer than their life expectancy, but we all hope and pray that this royal couple rule for many many, more years to come!
And then there is the budding romance between Honey Bear and our newly rescued mommy pig, Menorah. While they haven’t yet met outside together in the yard, they do share a bedroom divided by a see through the fence. Honey Bear touches each baby on the nose before bed, and he lays right by the fence with Menorah and the babies right up against him, on the other side. Menorah is still nursing her piglets once a day and she has little time to date. But I dare say they have a crush on each other and I can imagine them all growing into one big happy family very soon.
Whether you are dating, married, divorced, have kids, or are single, there is so much love for you here at The Gentle Barn! Please come visit us on Sundays, hug the cows, cuddle the turkeys, give the pigs tummy rubs, hold the chickens, make new friends, have a Beyond Meat lunch, and let The Gentle Barn fill you with love, hope, and kindness this Valentine's Day!