Comforting Cows and Coffee…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster

Life got you stressed out?

You might want to consider a trip to Santa Clarita, California.

That’s where you’ll find “Gentle Barn”.

They open the facility by appointment.

You can also visit any Sunday when they’re open to the public.

“Gentle Barn” rehabilitates once-abused, neglected or sick cows.

They also take in a wide variety of critters with nowhere else to go.

Once the animals have been “repurposed”, we (you and I) can go there to hug a cow.

The founder of “Gentle Barn” says she’s seen the power of spending time with animals since this business started more than 20 years ago.

The California facility is 30 miles north of Los Angeles.

“Gentle Barn” is currently home to more than 130 rescued animals.

On their website, you learn you can go there to “hug cows, feed carrots to horses, hold a chicken, pet the goats and sheep or simply sit beneath a shade tree, munching popcorn and making new friends”.

This will “help kids learn kindness, compassion, confidence and reverence for all life.”

You can do that any Sunday, from 10:00am until 2:00pm…for a $22 “donation” per adult or $12 per child.

There’s also a “Gentle Barn” in Tennessee just southeast of Nashville and another just southwest of St. Louis in Missouri.

So, allow me to do some thinking aloud.

Let’s say you were stressed enough to need to hug a cow and you went to “Gentle Barn”.

Suppose you needed that therapy once a week.

That would set you back more than $1,100 in a year, not counting the cost for the popcorn “Gentle Barn” officials said we could munch on while sitting beneath a shade tree.

How does that compare to the cost to adopt a dog or cat, plus feeding and care in one year?

Plus, on the off-chance that you might need more “de-stressing” than once a week, a 24 hour puppy or kitty might be a real deal.

Okay, you don’t have to let your “hugged cow” out to potty or clean up behind it (Heaven forbid if it had an accident indoors!)

My wife and I have been “dog-free” for several years after we had to put down both Bailey, our Boxer and Sofi, the mini-Dachshund.

It’s nice if we just want to go somewhere and not have to “pooch-proof” the place before we leave.

But, I gotta tell you, the tap-dancing sound of a wiggling dog at the door when you come home is something I still miss.

When I was working full-time, I could come home beaten down and weary and our furry friends would be happy to see me.

I guess if I lived in an urban environment, “cow-hugging” might be a more, long-term cost effective means of dealing with stress.

But $22 bucks a pop does make me wonder.

Plus the price of popcorn is unknown.

Now, on a rather apparently-unrelated matter, I read a survey that claimed adults believe coffee has the most enjoyable aroma of anything we might sniff.

I’m a coffee drinker and I’ve always thought it would be nice if the stuff tasted as good as it smells when perking.

Nothing better than the aroma of coffee on a campfire…other than frying bacon.

Although I doubt the stuff my old-time cowboy heroes were pouring from those tin pots at a campfire tasted much better than hot 3 in 1 oil.

Now, the aroma of a fresh pot of coffee is a winner but is there anything worse than the smell, and taste of that last pot of coffee perked about 5 hours ago?

“Scorched” leftovers.

Despite the potential flaws with coffee, it can be a pretty comforting thing to have a warm cup of it in your hands at a stressful time.

Even if you consider the gourmet coffee shops, a cup is still cheaper than a $22 cow hug.

Plus, there’s still that matter of the popcorn price.

Also, the aroma of a cow barn can sometimes be “challenging”.

Remember, at “Gentle Barn”, they also have horses, goats, sheep, chickens are more.

Don’t think you can “litter train” any of those.

It reminds me of a story my sister told me.

She visited a friend whose family owned a commercial pig farm.

When my sister got out of her car, she took a whiff and asked, “Oh my! what’s that smell?”

Her friend said, “Profits.”

Would enough “profit” help you be less stressful?

Some might say, “Yes!” but I’m not so certain.

So, when I’m tense, should I hug a cow, pet a dog, cuddle a cat or just have some fresh coffee?

Having to choose is getting somewhat stressful.

Author Karen Salmonsohn told us, “Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day-by-day.”


I’ll let you know my decision later this week.


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