” ‘SOPHIE is a goat whose taste in books leans toward popular best sellers’, says Solana Mejia-Schnaufer, who reads aloud to her several times a week. ‘I know she likes The Hunger Games because she didn’t try to eat it. That wasn’t true of Animal Liberation.’ ” So begins a November 1 New York Times article that I linked through to this morning through gratefulness.org. The article is about The Gentle Barn, which gives sanctuary to abused and abandoned animals and healing gifts to worn and wounded humans. It is also the story of hope and healing for Solana, a woman previously inclined toward suicide.
A little early day research reveals that The Gentle Barn, founded by Ellie Laks in 1999 who runs it along with her husband, combines the best human values of compassion and stewardship, going beyond sanctuary for animals to provide profound and moving healing experiences for special-needs kids and grown-ups. The children include those in foster care and inner city youth on drugs, on probation, or in gangs. The adults suffer from emotional disorders and/or physical ones.
To read the inspiring stories of the animals and people helped at The Gentle Barn, link to the website HERE and the YouTube channel HERE. The sanctuary is open to the general public on Sundays and the admission is just $5 to help feed the animals. For many reasons, it’s unlikely that I’ll find myself in Southern California; but, if I did, I’d head straight for Santa Clarita and The Gentle Barn and, as Ellie Laks says, I’d “hug a cow, give a pig a tummy rub, and snuggle with a turkey.”
Here is a video about the rescue of a cow and calf. Grab your box of tissues …
© 2011, Jamie Dedes, all rights reserved
Photo credit ~ morgueFile
Video upload to YouTube by gentlebarn