Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Visit to The Gentle Barn Animal Sanctuary

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to visit The Gentle Barn, an animal rescue and sanctuary in Santa Clarita, California. The Gentle Barn was founded in 1999 by Ellie Laks as a place to rescue, rehabilitate and provide sanctuary for animals. The 6-acre Santa Clarita location has been open since 2003 and currently provides a safe haven for more than 170 animals! Besides saving animals, The Gentle Barn also provides rehabilitation to children and adults from the inner-city, group homes, mental health care facilities, foster homes, and schools by giving them an appreciation for all life through interaction with the animals.

 Vegan Bake Sale was a huge success and raised more 
than $1,300 for The Gentle Barn!

I wanted to show my support for all the wonderful things The Gentle Barn does, so I went last Sunday since they were having a vegan bake sale to raise money for the sanctuary! All proceeds of the bake sale were going directly to The Gentle Barn - vegan sweets for a good cause?! How could I not go?!

Petting Faith the cow!

This was my first time going to The Gentle Barn, and it was a very special experience! I got to hug cows, brush pigs, feed horses, scratch goats, and spend time with chickens, a peacock, turkeys, sheep and all the other animals! Founder Ellie gave a touching talk about starting the sanctuary and everything they do for animals.

One of the Barn's beautiful rescued horses

Her talk was really heartfelt and she spoke how all animals feel and experience emotions just like humans. Just because we have different bodies, we are still all same on the inside and feel pain, joy and sorrow no matter what species we are. I am sure her talk inspired others to respect animals and truly love them by not eating them. Ellie even recommended a vegan diet and provided hand-outs to people who wanted to learn more about a cruelty-free diet.

Jewel, the Barn's resident peacock!

Of course, I enjoyed the vegan bake sale and got to try some yummy treats! I also got to meet fellow vegans that I had only known through Facebook or Instagram! It was so cool to connect with people who shared the same values and beliefs as I did!

 Giving Linus the pig a nice brushing!

Above all, though, the most special part of the trip was being able to see animals happy and seeing people being able to connect with the animals. I'm hopeful that many made the connection that these loving creatures don't belong confined in a factory farm or on a plate, but free to live their lives in sanctuaries like The Gentle Barn. 

Brave Heart was such a sweetheart! He loved getting
scratched behind his ears 

The trip to The Gentle Barn was really really made me re-connect with the reason I went vegan in the first place - the animals! It was so great to see all the different animals with their different personalities and to see them so happy! And eating some vegan treats was an added bonus!

A vegan candy apple from the bake sale! 
It was soooooo good!

I highly recommend everyone, vegan or not, visit an animal sanctuary like The Gentle Barn. It is a wonderful experience to connect with other sentient beings and show them they love they deserve. 

To learn more about The Gentle Barn, please visit their website

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