CHANGE THE HISTORY: The Gentle Barn’s animals star in Summer 2023

The Gentle Barn is a non-profit animal sanctuary located in Santa Clarita, California, with a mission to provide a refuge for abused creatures – many of whom feature in our Summer 2023 shoot, starring Madelyn Cline.

Founded in 1999 by Ellie Laks in her half-acre backyard in the San Fernando Valley, The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse, neglect and slaughter, providing a loving space for them to heal, find new homes or forever-sanctuary, as well sharing a two-way healing experience with humans. A completely vegan property with a holistic approach to care, The Gentle Barn houses over 170 animals including cows, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, llamas, emus, cats, dogs and birds.

Meet The Gentle Barn animals

Madonna the cow

Taken from her mother at birth and chained so she could not walk, Madonna lives in sanctuary at The Gentle Barn. She was emaciated, filthy, sick and terrified upon her welcome to the barn but, after months of care, Madonna’s wounds have healed and she loves snuggling up to people.

Holy Cow the cow

Holy Cow was rescued from the dairy industry, taken from her mother at birth and stomped on – leaving her unable to walk, and now lives in sanctuary in California. A series of chiropractic treatments several times a week, round-the-clock love and quality vet care has strengthened Holy Cow and she can now run, jump and play amongst her cow and human friends.

John Lewis Thunderheart the cow

Born in a slaughterhouse and orphaned at a week old, John Lewis Thunderheart arrived at The Gentle Barn fighting for his life. He had pneumonia, brought on by a weak immune system from not receiving enough colostrum from his mother and from the stress and chaos of his birth environment. John Lewis Thunderheart was given quality vet care, oxygen therapy treatments and lots of love at the Gentle Barn, and now loves to play with his best friend, Sky the dog.

Meep the rooster

Meep arrived at The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita when he was only a day old, a tiny ball of yellow fluff. He was raised in the house – cuddling, watching films and being loved endlessly. Once he got his feathers, he chose to move out to the farmyard, where he ruled the roost and lived a happy life until he recently passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Rebecca the chicken

Found wandering the streets, Rebecca was brought to The Gentle Barn so she could enjoy a safe and adopted family. Like Meep the rooster, she loves being held and is a bit of an attention-seeker; she is known for answering back when the team tell her how pretty she is.

Rosie the donkey

Rosie was brought to The Gentle Barn as part of an adopted family from a closed-down donkey rescue centre, originally found in a dumpster at just a few weeks old. When she arrived, she

would bite and kick and did not understand boundaries, but over time and with loving discipline, Rosie has developed into a sweet girl with ‘hilarious antics’ and funny faces when vying for more treats.

Earl the emu

Snack-loving Earl came to The Gentle Barn after being found running loose in Santa Clarita. He was kept safe by Animal Control, who took him to a shelter to reunite him with his owner, but they never came. After an adjustment period, Earl lives in sanctuary in The Gentle Barn and now he loves head scratches, hose downs and snacking on broccoli and blueberries.

Shirley Temple the sheep

From backyard butchery to Californian sanctuary, Shirley Temple the sheep has found a forever family at The Gentle Barn. She was rescued from a butcher, who took her away from her mother at a young age, and arrived at the barnyard scared, alone, sick and starving. Gentle rehabilitation and familyhood have given Shirley Temple a new lease on life, and she will only know love and kindness at the sanctuary for the rest of her life.

Stanley the sheep

Stanley the sheep was rescued from a so-called ‘agricultural school’ where students were ‘taught how to work with animals’. By the time he was just two months old, he had his tail cut off, a hole punched in his ear, his horns burned and he was taken away from his mother and twin brother without warning. Traumatised by strangers and people, Stanley was befriended by Josh the sheep at The Gentle Barn, who stayed by his side during quarantine, mealtime and playtime. Now, Stanley is an outgoing, loving sheep who adores bananas and back scratches.

Hannah the goat

Now living in sanctuary in California, Hannah the goat arrived at The Gentle Barn infested with lice and parasites, grossly underweight and malnourished as a result of severe abuse and neglect. In the care of the team, she has regained strength and learned trust in human. Hannah lives happily at the barn with her sister, Amelia the goat.

Lela the goat

Like Shirley Temple the sheep, Lela the goat and her mother were rescued from a backyard butcher. When The Gentle Barn found her, Lela was riddled with parasites, emaciated and suffering from multiple illnesses. Today, she is healthy and happy, and will jump up on the team for hugs and, importantly, treats.

Emperor Skip the llama

Emperor Skip and Queen Joni the llamas were rescued after their original neighbours kept spotting them wandering down a busy and dangerous road in Laurel Canyon, California. They had been kept in improper fencing and care, so the local neighbourhood negotiated their release and transition to The Gentle Barn via their Sun Chlorella Healing Center.

Spot The Gentle Barn animals in our Summer 2023 shoot, shot on Madelyn Cline, and shop the collection online and in-store now.