I woke up with the overwhelming need to go cuddle some farm animals, so Dan and I headed to one of the hidden gems of Southern California, The Gentle Barn. We first visited The Gentle Barn last Spring and couldn't stop telling everyone about it, it's such a wonderful place.
The Gentle Barn is an animal rescue organization in Santa Clarita. They open up their doors every Sunday from 10am-2pm and for a ten dollar donation, you can come and interact with all of the animals. Most of the animals have been horrible abused, but the staff at the Gentle Barn, has worked with them to where most will gladly accept pets and attention.
The barn is divided into three areas. On the lower level, there is a barn for the cows and a barn for the horses. The upper level, a short walk up hill with stairs, has a menagerie, that includes pigs, llamas, chickens and goats.
On this visit, we headed to the top first. The family in front of us at the entrance, had a elderly woman in a wheelchair and we overheard a volunteer offer a cart to take her to the top. If you have someone with mobility issues in your group, they are very helpful in making the facility accessible, calling ahead would probably be a good idea.
The first animal that we encountered was King, the Llama. He was presiding over the barnyard, clearly running the show. Although he took an interest in us, he definitely was not interested in being petted. He scooted away when we got too close.
Bella, the goat, broke my heart. She followed me around the yard, limping, wanting attention. She kept looking at me and raising her front hoof up, as if she was trying to show me her injured leg, part of an injury she sustained after being attacked by a dog and left untreated, making the damage permanent. She was a total sweetheart.
I am fairly certain that one of the most popular animals at the Gentle Barn is Biscuit, the thousand pound pig. Allow me to repeat that, a thousand pound pig!!! We found him sleeping today, with his buddy, Bodhi. His size makes him seem intimidating, but Biscuit is extremely gentle and loves cuddles.
The Gentle Barn took in a lot of animals from the Backyard Butcher case, where Santa Clarita resident, Roberto Celedon, was slaughtering ill and malnourished animals in unsanitary conditions at his home. It was considered one of the worse cases of animal abuse in Los Angeles. Many of the animals were saved and sent to The Gentle Barn, along with several other animal rescue organizations. It was a terrible thing to see on the news and luckily many of the animals are now living great lives.
Here are some more pictures from the Barnyard.
When you enter the cow barn, there is a bucket of brushes, but I recommend just petting the cows. They are so soft. Unexpectedly soft. Today, two of the cows were available for petting, Buttercup, the super sweet brown cow, who was rescued from the Backyard Butcher years before he was brought to justice this year and Faith, the beautiful Friesian cow. Faith is blind from untreated conjunctivitis.
Dan's a horse lover, so we saved his favorite part for last, the horse barn. In the horse barn, they sell a bag of carrots for two dollars. Our first trip to the Gentle Barn was on a busy day, where the horses had been fed a ton of carrots and were not so eager. Today, was slow and they were aggressive in trying to get your attention for carrots. They were still gentle, when they took them, they were just a lot more aggressive with nudging and trying to grab your attention.
We walked around and gave a little to all of the horses and the donkey, but our favorite horse, got a little extra attention and extra carrots. Caesar was rescued from the movie industry and he is just absolutely beautiful.
We ended our trip with a delicious vegan gingerbread cupcake. Yum. If you are an animal lover, the Gentle Barn is a must visit. it's a great organization and the volunteers clearly love what they do. They are very welcoming to visitors and love to answer questions and introduce you to the barn residents.
Check out their website and plan a visit!