Where abused and neglected animals go to heal and heal others in the process.
The Gentle Barn is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal welfare organization in Santa Clarita, CA. Their mission is to provide sanctuary for abused animals who would not otherwise be able to find homes. Sunday’s open houses don’t begin until every animal has a volunteer by its side.
The six-acre property has horse and cow pastures, a barnyard for the smaller animals, and an organic vegetable garden. It currently houses 170 animals, including cows, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, llamas, emus, cats, dogs and birds. Their stories are often sad but thankfully The Gentle Barn is there to offer them a happy ending.
“Andrew was kept as a stud for most of his life to breed and make money for his people. When he was too old to breed they abandoned him in a ravine to die. The animal shelter found him and because he was 25 years old, lame, emaciated and fearful of people, scheduled him for euthanasia. At the last minute they called us and asked us to save him. We gave him top quality food, clean water, chiropractic, massage therapy, daily grooming and lot of love and Andrew has now made a complete recovery! Andrew is young at heart and gallops around with his tail up, a smile on his face and his mane flying in the wind.”
Cross Species Love/All God’s Creatures
The mane event with a beautiful horse.
“Grace was rescued from a farm where her job was to have babies to earn her keep. The last time she was bred, the very large bull crippled her. Unable to get up, her muscles atrophied and she was in pain and helpless. We took her to The Gentle Barn to get chiropractic and massage therapy so she could learn to walk again. Her body is strong now and her heart is healed, after 12 years of hating people, she now allows us to pet her and hand feed her.”
“Buttercup was rescued from extreme abuse and neglect. She was 8 months pregnant when we saved her and because she had no proper nutrition or clean water and lived with so much stress, her baby was born thin and weak with underdeveloped lungs and did not survive. After Buttercup mourned his passing, she decided to be a mom to all the orphaned babies we rescue. She is loving and kind and shows her affection by licking everyone like a big dog.”
Cow Lick B&W
“Faith was rescued from the dairy industry. She was taken away from her mom at only a day old so the breast milk she needed could be taken for humans, put into a veal crate, and while she was there had untreated conjunctivitis that caused her to go blind. When she came to The Gentle Barn she would spin in circles, never having walked a straight line before. With the help of our volunteers, Faith learned not only how to walk a straight line but how to run, play and receive love. She is now happy, healthy and loves people!”
“Hope was used to smuggle drugs in and out of Mexico. She was treated with much cruelty and was terrified of humans. She was finally rescued and taken to America. She gave birth to her daughter at the donkey rescue and adopted another orphaned baby donkey as well. When the founder got ill and was no longer able to care for them, all three of them were brought here to learn to trust and stay together. Hope is slowly learning to forgive and trust again, and will stay here with her babies for the rest of her life.”
Ellie Laks who founded The Gentle Barn was unable to give the speech so her second lady in command did it for her.
“His name is officially Sir Francis, but we like to call him Sir Fancy Pants. He is our only male turkey and his job in life is to show off. He puffs up his feathers and parades around demanding attention. He even does a happy feet dance for special guests! He gobbles to us when we whistle and he will be our fabulous spark of magic to impress us all, every day!”
“Jazz was rescued with her sister Jellie from an abusive petting zoo where they had mange and sunburn and were being taken away from their mother way before they could eat solid food. We brought them here to bottle feed, heal, and teach them how to trust humans. They are now big and healthy, and love being loved.”
“Jewel was found wandering around the neighborhood, homeless. He roosted in our neighbor’s trees at night, but when he found out we fed breakfast at 7 and dinner at 5 he started showing up on time for meals. One day we opened the door and invited him in and he has been here ever since. Safe and sound here, Jewel adds color and sparkle to our barnyard and we are honored to have him!”
“Zeus was born at a county fair and when it closed he was going to be sent to slaughter along with all the other animals there. He was saved instead and brought home to The Gentle Barn. Zeus is kind to visitors and gentle with the other pigs and we shower him with tummy rubs and love.”
“Brave Heart was being raised to be eaten, but ran away. Safe now at The Gentle Barn he delights us with his funny pranks and puppy like charm. He is growing fast but there will always be a young, mischievous twinkle in his eyes.”
Brave Heart is a bark eating machine.
“Toulouse lived in a home with a family who loved her. She even watched TV with them. When the neighbors complained to animal control and threw bricks at her, Toulouse was brought to The Gentle Barn for her own safety. It took a long time to get used to the barnyard and the other animals, but she is quite at home now.”
“Stanley was used at an agricultural school to teach the students how to “work” with animals. By the time he was two months old, he had his tail cut off, his testicles cut off, a whole punched in his ear, his horns burned, and was taken away from his mom and twin brother with no warning. At The Gentle Barn he made friends with the other animals and learned that not all humans are cruel.”