Posted on Sep 09, 2021
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Not all animals come to The Gentle Barn old and broken, some come to us as youngsters and grow up at The Gentle Barn enjoying many years of love, fun, and happiness. Zazu, Eclipse and Penny have been with us since they were babies and don’t remember life before The Gentle Barn. They get to be nurtured by our volunteers, cared for by our staff, and experience love for the majority of their lives.
The first years of Zazu’s life were not ideal. She spent most of her former years in a cage and self-soothed by plucking her feathers out. Sadly, this is very common with birds in captivity. Birds are meant to live in flocks, making loud noises, chewing on things, foraging for food, flying long distances, and being very social. They were never designed to be solitary creatures. In order to heal Zazu of her plucking and sadness, we had to become her flock and make sure she had lots of activity and fun. I made her fresh squeezed juices and fruit smoothies, gave her tons of toys, and kept her door open all the time allowing her to eat, relax, and play with us all day long. Zazu’s feathers grew in, she became happy and affectionate, and grew up as happy as a bird in captivity can be. Because Zazu was raised by humans, we cannot set Zazu free now to live in the wild. But we can make sure she has enrichment, companionship, and family for the rest of her life, and that is just what we will do!
Eclipse was born at The Gentle Barn to a mom who we rescued just months prior. Eclipse will never know the cruelty, apathy, and suffering that her mom knew all too well. Eclipse has no fear of humans, in fact if anything she is a little entitled, demanding only the good life, like all cows should. If she wants something, she lets us know, and she is not afraid to speak up! Many of our other cows are shy, reserved, repressed, and afraid because of their pasts, but Eclipse will never be. She knows who she is, speaks her mind, and lets us know how she feels, all the time! For Eclipse the world is one big sanctuary where all humans are vegan, and all animals are family. I truly hope and pray that one day that will be reality around the world!
Penny was rescued from slaughter and raised by a kind human from the time she was only a few months old. Penny never knew that there was tragedy awaiting her, and lived in a house like a puppy instead, before outgrowing the home and coming to us. Penny knows gentle hands and soft touches. She trusts and sees only the best in humans. She looks forward to seeing us in the morning and seeks our affection all day long. We will never betray her trust and will work diligently to deserve the honor of her loyalty. The unimaginable horrors that other pigs face in our world has not been shown to Penny and never will. For the rest of Penny’s life, she will live her very best life on behalf of all those who will never get too.
If you would ask Zazu, Eclipse, or Penny how they see the world, they would describe humans as kind, the world as safe, and our planet as peaceful. If only we could all live up to their vision of us, be the animal lovers they think we are, and create peace for not only them, but all animals everywhere. When each of us go vegan, we become who they see us as, and we create the world for all animals that they enjoy at our sanctuary every day.