MY GENTLE BARN by Ellie Laks


Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope
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How one woman's childhood dream to save animals came true.

For Laks, the world of animals was always more real than that of humans. She didn't understand the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of babysitters, but surrounded by animals and nature, she found solace and meaning. "The force that drove me to be with animals defied all reason,” she writes. “I was compelled to have them near me no matter what. I began feeling little whispers deep inside—not in words, just in knowing.” This drive continued into adulthood, through three years of crack use, and ultimately pushed Laks to become an animal rescuer. She started out small and quickly discovered a huge world of animals in desperate need of salvation. Dogs, cats, goats, pigs, horses, rabbits, chickens—Laks' Gentle Barn filled with one animal after another, which she brought back from the brink of euthanasia, disease and neglect, nursing the animals with a combination of unconditional love and respect and healthy foods and supplements. Knowing how happy the animals made her feel, Laks opened her barnyard to at-risk kids, foster children and the general public, teaching people how to read animal body language and show respect to their fellow creatures. The overwhelming response was positive for animals and humans alike. Despite financial setbacks and a failed marriage, Laks remained true to her animals. In the process, she found new love. Her stories of animal rescues, oftentimes from desperate and horribly filthy circumstances, are filled with the sensitivity and kindheartedness she shows her animals. Her honesty and success stories open the door to the world of animal care and cruelty, forcing readers to contemplate the lines among animals as pets, objects and food.

Descriptive and sensitive stories of one woman and the animals she rescued from abuse and death.

Pub Date: March 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-385-34766-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Harmony
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2014


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