60 animals, hardworking staff, life sustaining resource. While it may sound like a farm, it’s not. It’s a charity.
Those 60 animals have all been rescued from some form of abuse or slaughter. There’s a turkey whose toes were cut off, a blind cow, twin horses taken from their mother, and a physically abused donkey.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
They’ve all been saved and given a new home at Gentle Barn, and more importantly they’ve each got a story to tell.
The Gentle Barn is a non-profit place that uses the animal’s real life stories to reach troubled children. For example, kids who have come from foster families or otherwise cannot be with their parents can take solace in being with animals who have suffered the same fate.
Many times the kids identify so much with the animals that they talk to them and pet them, whispering soothing messages.
“When they do that, they’re really talking to themselves,” said Ellie from Gentle Barn.
So what is abuse? Well for Gentle Barn, the definition of abuse can be broad. One of their pigs fell off a truck when he was a baby. Other animals were destined for slaughter.
Two horses were taken from their mother. This happens frequently, as female horses are impregnated only for a hormone they produce. That hormone is found in their urine, and it is used to make Premarin, a drug used widely to combat the effects of Menopause. Premarin stands for Pregnant Mare Urine.
After the horse gives birth, the baby horses stay with the mother for just a few weeks, but 50% of them die from exposure to cold weather before that. The ones that do live face being shipped off, often times for slaughter.
This is just one of the 60 stories that all the animals at Gentle Barn have.
Jay and Ellie, who run the organization, take a personal interest in using these animals to help the troubled children heal. In turn, the animals heal from the love and affection they get from the kids.
When groups of the kids come, they participate in a 10 month program. They come once a week and they learn a specific lesson. If courage was the lesson of the day they might talk about Susie Q. Susie Q is an 800 pound pig that crashed through a fence when she was inline for slaughter and ran down the street.
That kind of lesson proves to be remarkably moving to a child who has encountered barriers in their own life, and must learn to break through them.
There is no way to truly understand the scope of what the Gentle Barn does in one reading, so KHTS will be keeping a close eye on the Gentle Barn, and in the future will post new stories from the organization.
Feel free to check out their page on our site by clicking here.
If you would like to help out the Gentle Barn, they are trying to erect a new metal fence for their cows. That will cost roughly $5,400 and they are raising money for that now. Of course, if you would like to donate money towards the programs there, that is also possible.
The Gentle Barn is open to the public on Sundays from 10am to 2pm with a minimum $5 donation per person. There you will get the full tour and can see and pet the animals.