I'm reviewing the Gentle Barn based on my experience adopting a puppy from them in February of 2013.
A friend shared a photo of two adorable puppies via the Gentle Barn's Facebook page, and I inquired. I was emailed an application from the Gentle Barn, and returned it to the Gentle Barn. I was contacted by the dogs' foster caregiver, and invited to come meet the puppy. I adopted my puppy that day, and paid a $200 fee that was to include microchipping and spay. I was told to wait a couple weeks to chip my puppy, until she was a bit stronger.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I could not get anyone at the Gentle Barn to return my calls or emails about scheduling the microchipping appointment. Frustrated, I contacted the foster mom--who does not work for the Gentle Barn--and she apologized, promising that the Gentle Barn would be contacting me. They never did, so in the interest of my dog's safety, I spent $130+ to chip her through my own vet in late March.
I continued to try to contact the Gentle Barn through email and by phone, hoping to at least get the spay service provided, but received no response throughout the entire month of April. I finally gave up and posted on their Facebook page that I found it deplorable that they weren't honoring their promises. This was yesterday, May 3rd.
This morning, I woke up to a vicious Facebook message from Ellie, accusing me of slandering her organization and basically calling me a terrible person. She threatened to come take my dog from me.
I also had a voicemail from her, that was actually quite crazy, with no apology for the way they've ignored me or failed to come through on their contract. Instead she was furious that I posted negative words on Facebook, which were, of course, deleted before anyone else could see them.
Quote from Ellie's voicemail: "if you don't stop slandering us, we will come over and take your dog away. Because if you don't stop slandering us, you're obviously an unfit home."
So, to re-cap: in three months, I have not been able to get a response from the Gentle Barn regarding services promised in exchange for a "donation." But when I posted a negative comment on Facebook, I got a Facebook message and a phone call the very next day...calling me names and threatening to take my dog.
The foster mother is now roped into this, as Ellie is now threatening to stop helping her spread the word about rescue dogs, because my dog was one she found. According to Ellie, they only helped place my dog "out of the goodness of (their) hearts." The foster mother is now offering to pay for my dog's spay out of her own pocket to ensure that the Gentle Barn will continue to help her rescue and place animals in the future.
My dog will be spayed at my own expense, because even if Ellie and the Gentle Barn offered to do it, I am not confident that they would give me my dog back.
I hate to be critical, because in theory, the work they do is so wonderful. But something is not right at the Gentle Barn, and I wouldn't give them another dime of my money. Ellie is an abusive bully, and now I have my lawyer looking into how I can prevent them from taking my dog. The money is not the concern anymore.
They get two stars because they did bring me and my wonderful dog together, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Thanks for reading.
Have you ever been to a place that was supposed to be fun and happy, but it just felt wrong and sort of creepy? That is my experience with the Gentle Barn. It sounds so good. I love the idea of rescued animals all happy and healthy, but that is not what I found. Some of the animals were great, but some of them were so unhealthy that I think they are being exploited long past the time they should have been released from their pain. There was a red cow there that made me want to cry. How could anyone force this poor guy to keep living? If this cow was my dog, I would have had him euthanized.
And there is something wrong with the people too. I can't really describe it, but something is definitely wrong. It sort of reminds me of a secret society that my friend tried to get me to join back in college. People don't talk freely, and they are always on the lookout to see if they are being watched by anyone else in the secret society. This place felt like that. Creepy. I won't be going back. There are other petting zoos I can take my little girl to visit.