Ellie Laks, The Gentle Barn 20th Anniversary


Ellie is the Founder of The Gentle Barn. She is responsible for the daily care of the animals and programs at The Gentle Barn and has been since The Gentle Barn’s inception in 1999. Ellie is the face of The Gentle Barn and manages daily posts on Facebook, twitter and the Blog. Ellie is also the Educational Outreach Director working with hundreds of inner-city, at-risk and special needs children each year and has directly rescued, cared for and supported thousands of animals that would otherwise have been killed. Ellie has dedicated her life to being the voice of the voiceless.

Ellie began her career working with special needs children and spaying and neutering and releasing feral cats in the alleys of Los Angeles. She started a dog training, walking, boarding and grooming business, that she used as a means to rescue animals from being put down at the animal shelters in Los Angeles. Ellie rescued and worked with about 500 dogs and cats before founding The Gentle Barn. Ellie is also a professional animal trainer and specializes in working with severely abused and mistrusting dogs.

The Gentle Barn is now home to over 170 animals in Santa Clarita, California, who Ellie has healed, along with twelve staff members, about a thousand volunteers and her husband Jay Weiner who runs The Gentle Barn with her. Once healed and happy, the animals help Ellie and Jay heal at-risk, inner-city and special needs children, who have the same stories as the animals. Ellie and Jay live on the property together, with their 3 children. Together they get to rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of animals each year and get to see miracles connecting animals and children every day. Ellie attended California State University, Northridge, specializing in childhood development.

“There is nothing more fulfilling to me than looking into the eyes of animals and children, who have no chance, telling them with certainty that they will be ok and then watching them go through the healing and growing process and coming out the other side and watching them become ambassadors helping others who are in their old shoes. It is what I live for each and every day.”

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