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The Gentle Barn, a farm animal rescue organization with farms near St. Louis, Nashville, and Los Angeles, offers visitors a therapeutic opportunity to hug a cow. Skeptics may scoff, but Gentle Barn founder Ellie Laks tells Steve Alexander that it’s something you have to feel to understand. Cow therapy sessions can be booked at, and Ellie says the demand is high. She says people who’ve lost loved ones, are struggling with diseases and navigating other life issues take advantage of sessions where, typically, a cow is lying down and you sit next to it, bury your face in its neck, and the cow “hugs” you by turning its neck into you. The idea of the Gentle Barn started when Ellie was seven years old, and 22 years ago she began pairing her love and respect for animals with her majors in special education and psychology.