My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope
An Animal Rights Article from


The Gentle Barn
February 2014

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gentle barn Ellie Callahan

My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope

“My Gentle Barn is a wonderful book. You'll love Ellie Laks and the animals she rescued--and who rescued her back.”
–Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig

"If your heart has ever gone out to a stray animal on the side of the road glimpsed from a passing car, read this book. This is the inspirational story of a woman who followed her heart, becoming a skilled animal listener. Ellie Laks vividly describes how she rescued countless broken domesticated animals and then learned to decipher the language of their pain. In giving voice to the voiceless and love to the unloved, Laks healed her own damaged childhood, then blazed a trail for the salvaging of the lives of other at-risk kids. In the end, Laks and The Gentle Barn raises the bar for animal rescue operations and lowers the boom on animal abusers. I loved this book."
–Jana Harris, author of Horses Never Lie About Love

““My Gentle Barn is a heart-wrenching and heart-warming, enthralling and inspirational, but most importantly, reading My Gentle Barn and learning there are people in the world like Ellie and Jay doing meaningful work to benefit animals was sanctuary for my soul.”
–Teresa Rhyne, Author of the bestselling The Dog Lived (and So Will I)

Founder Ellie Laks started The Gentle Barn after adopting a sick goat from a run-down petting zoo in 1999. Some two hundred animals later (including chickens, horses, pigs, cows, rabbits, emus, and more), The Gentle Barn has become an extraordinary nonprofit that brings together a volunteer staff of community members and at-risk teens to rehabilitate abandoned and/or abused animals. As Ellie teaches the volunteers to care for the animals, they learn a new language of healing that works wonders on the humans as well.

My Gentle Barn weaves together the stories of how the Barn, came to be what it is today, with Ellie the founder's journey. Filled with heartwarming animal stories and inspiring recoveries, The Gentle Barn is a feel-good account that will delight animal lovers and memoir readers alike.

About the Author

Ellie Laks has always loved animals and from the time she could walk she headed into the woods daily to be with them, sometimes bringing them home—much to her parents’ chagrin. In 1999, Ellie founded The Gentle Barn, an animal sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates severely abused and neglected farm animals. Once the animals are healthy, they help Ellie heal at-risk inner-city and special-needs children. Ellie lives on the property outside of Los Angeles with her husband, who runs the Barn with her, and their three children.

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