Posted on Aug 06, 2021
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Some animals take a lifetime to heal and recover, and some take one look at The Gentle Barn and realize that they have won the lottery and relish every single new and shiny moment. Our cow Oliver in California, our miniature horse Princess Pebble in Tennessee, and our goat Baron Von Goat in Missouri have been living large and in charge since the day they came into The Gentle Barn, and probably will be for the rest of their wonderful lives.
Oliver is a giant puppy/cookie monster. He is huge but still kicks up his heels and runs for cookies like a giant puppy. He has never grown up, even though he turned five this year and is now full grown. While we are handing out cookies to all thirty cows at our Sun Chlorella Healing Center, Oliver pushes everyone else out of his way, stretches out his tongue like a giraffe, and tries to take all the cookies for himself. And when we are inside the pasture grooming the cows, Oliver follows us around asking for all the attention to be spent on him, even though he just had his turn to be groomed from head to toe. I think we could brush Oliver for hours until our arms fell off, and he would still ask for more. I guess when he has lived the worst life, and finally found the best, the cookies and the love feel so great, he just wants more, and more, and more to make up for what he was missing before we found him!
Princess Pebble was so terribly neglected. She could barely walk with hooves grossly overgrown, and teeth so sore it was almost impossible to eat. But visiting her today, you would not see any indication of her past, because she is full of attitude, sass, and personality. Even when she was suffering the most, she always knew who she was and the good life she was deserving. Now that she is finally recognized as royalty, she is pampered, demanding, and unafraid to yell at us to scram when she has had enough of us. With a flick of her ears or a flash of her tail, she doles out orders to all of us to get her more cookies or get out of her way.
Baron Von Goat was not worried in the least when he strolled down a main highway alone. He was simply looking for a better life, which he found at The Gentle Barn! From the minute he came through our doors he has been the nosy neighbor and the prankster, keeping all of us on our toes and making everyone laugh. He plays bouncy ball with our guests, bonks the other animals, spends more time on his back feet rearing in the air, than on all fours, and he is always up to something. He has been with us for years and we have yet to see his serious side. From sunup to sunset, he is playful, social, and full of life. We were told that he escaped from a pretty awful place, but he bears no evidence or scars, only a twinkle in his eyes, a smile on his face, and a heart full of magic and mischief!
I believe animals are our greatest teachers, and Oliver, Princess Pebble, and Baron Von Goat are no exception. They are sending the message loud and clear that we can always choose who we are, no matter what we have gone through, how we have been treated, or what others say about us. We hold the key to how we act, how we feel, and who we are. I think in the face of the horrors they have gone through, if they can come out the other side with so much joy, happiness, and character, so can we!