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Me with my new friend Magic

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit a truly extraordinary place called The Gentle Barn with my family. My mom has been talking about what a wonderful organization it is for a while now and we finally made the drive out to Santa Clarita for a visit. Here is a description of the organization, taken from their website:

The Gentle Barn was founded by Ellie Laks in 1999 and now run by Ellie and her husband Jay Weiner who joined forces in 2002.  The Gentle Barn is currently home to 130 animals who are rescued from severe abuse, neglect or slaughter.  Once the animals are rehabilitated they stay at the barn for the rest of their lives and serve as ambassadors helping to heal abused children. The Gentle Barn is host to kids in foster care, on probation, in gangs, on drugs and from the inner city, as well as school groups and special needs kids and adults.  Through the interactions with the animals and their stories, kids learn kindness, compassion, confidence and reverence for all life.

It’s truly wonderful what they do. They are open to the public on Sunday mornings between 10am and 2pm. The rest of the week, the animals are free to be animals and the organization hosts field trips, groups of special needs children, etc. The obvious care and love that goes into rehabilitating these animals is astounding. Not only are they given food, shelter, and warmth, The Gentle Barn uses treatments like massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture to help even those animals in the most dire straits to make a full recovery to health and happiness.

As a lifelong animal-lover, it was such a treat to be able to interact with all of the wonderful animals at The Gentle Barn. I’ve been fortunate to meet and love many animals in my life, but I can honestly say I’d never given a turkey a butt-rub (apparently that was this particular turkey’s favorite!), petted a 1000 pound pig, or hugged a cow. I sure have now! The following are the photos I took of just a few of the wonderful creatures I met that day.

My brother Gray with Buttercup the cow.

I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful a place The Gentle Barn is. If you’d like more information on the organization or how to visit or donate, The Gentle Barn can be found at GentleBarn.com ; Twitter.com/gentlebarn; YouTube.com/gentlebarn ; Facebook.com/TheGentleBarn ; The Gentle Barn’s blog.

For more information on all of their wonderful animals, check out their Virtual Barn. Donations can be made via their website and information on visiting can be found here. I hope that you’ll take the time to look into this wonderful place! I will certainly be going back.