Posted in Jamie Dedes




Jamie Dedes

” ‘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 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   


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.


  1. Very hard to watch that mother’s distress–I’m glad they went back and got her baby. Then I had trouble witnessing the baby’s weakness and stress. Oh, it hurts me inside…

    A wonderful service that organization provides.


  2. I can hardly bear to watch videos like this, Jamie…but I can’t NOT. I weep over humanity’s ignorance!

    I could not be one of the people actually going to the places from which animals have to be rescued. I wouldn’t trust myself to stay rational.


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