February Star Sanctuary

Angela E. never imagined parting with her beloved mini horse Lexi, but after her husband lost his battle with brain cancer, she was forced to sell their farm. Enter February Star Sanctuary (FSS), a rescue, rehabilitation and permanent refuge for horses and cats in need.

“It gave me peace, when I had lost everything, knowing she was happy and loved,” Angela says. Lexi continues to thrive at FSS, and Angela admits to occasionally browsing the non-profit’s Facebook page for a glimpse of her favorite mini.

Phyllis Smith, the organization’s co-founder, didn’t set out to run a rescue – but when she and husband David purchased the 124-acre farm in 2009, they discovered two horses and a pony had been left behind. Then came the cats.

“It was during the recession, and there was an outpouring of community requests for us to take in animals that they were no longer able to care for,” Phyllis recalls. Facing a snowball of owner surrender inquiries for both equines and felines, she soon added adoption services to complement the thriving rescue. The final piece, community outreach programs, came last – but Phyllis thinks it might be the most important piece.

“Teaching our children to respect and protect even the smallest among us is one of the most important life lessons we can pass on,” she insists. “Our goal with this sanctuary is to give the unwanted a home and to teach children compassion – building a generation of animal advocates, one child at a time.”

It’s a sentiment that clearly aligns with the non-profit’s motto: “Rescue: It’s not just a verb, it’s a promise.”