425: Animals Heal: Cow Hug Therapy, Overcoming Trauma, Finding Forgiveness, and Eating the Rainbow with The Gentle Barns’ Ellie Laks


In a world filled with stories of cruelty and neglect, Ellie Laks stands as a beacon of hope and compassion. As the Founder of The Gentle Barn Foundation, Ellie has dedicated her life to rescuing and rehabilitating unwanted animals, while also providing a sanctuary for individuals with similar experiences of abuse and neglect. Her tireless efforts have earned her the reputation of being a celebrated animal welfare advocate, an animal communicator, a powerful speaker, and a renowned author.

Ellie Laks established The Gentle Barn in 1999, and it went on to transform the lives of both animals and humans alike. But it wasn’t just about rescue and rehabilitation for Ellie. She developed her own unique “Gentle Healing method,” a holistic approach that blends Western medicine, alternative healing modalities, holding therapy, and an abundance of love. Through this method, old, sick, injured, and terrified animals find a safe haven at The Gentle Barn, where they are given the opportunity to heal and thrive once again.

One of Ellie’s most remarkable contributions to the world of animal therapy is her invention of Cow Hug Therapy. By inviting visitors to embrace the gentle giants of the barn, Ellie allows for a profound connection between humans and animals. This groundbreaking therapy has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have sought solace and hope at The Gentle Barn.

Ellie’s impact has reached far and wide, as she has appeared on some of the most influential media outlets, including The Ellen Show, People Magazine, Animal Planet, and The Today Show, to name just a few. Her powerful voice and unwavering commitment to animal welfare have garnered attention and support from audiences all over the world. As a TEDx speaker and keynote speaker, Ellie motivates and inspires her listeners, urging them to embrace higher awareness, profound compassion, the pursuit of dreams, and a sense of purpose that extends beyond themselves.

With a heart full of love and an unwavering determination, Ellie has saved thousands of animals and welcomed over 500,000 guests to The Gentle Barn. Currently home to approximately 200 animals, The Gentle Barn has expanded its reach across three locations in Los Angeles, California, Nashville, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri. Ellie’s ultimate goal is to be the unwavering voice for animals, sharing their stories and opening the hearts of humanity to the plight of all living beings. She firmly believes in the power of teaching kindness and compassion to animals, each other, and our planet.

To learn more about Ellie and The Gentle Barn Foundation, please visit www.gentlebarn.org and www.ellielaks.com.

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