Faith Sadiku didn’t set out to run a horse rescue, but as a self-described advocate for any animal, especially horses, she found herself collecting rescues. Finally, in 2016, she formally established Faith N Friends (FNF) Rescue & Sanctuary, a non-profit committed to keeping horses safe, happy and healthy while they wait for forever homes.
“The goal of Faith N Friends is to rehabilitate, love and train those horses who are lucky enough to get a second chance,” she explains.
Every FNF horse has a story. Take Coco, who arrived severely malnourished, filled inside and out with parasites, and carrying a real disdain and fear of humans. Sadiku recalls, “Although we didn’t fully know her history, it was clear she had been through a lot in her little life. It took a long time, lots of love and heaps of patience to get Coco back to trusting and relying on people, but now she’s a shining star.”
A success story from FNF’s rehabilitation and training program, Coco now thrives in her new role as a part of the non-profit’s expanded mission to serve humans too. Her days are filled with love as she helps children with speech impediments read, participates in riding and therapy lessons, shows off at parades and more.
Sadiku is particularly proud of the non-profit’s “Reading with the Rescues” program, which pairs a certified speech-pathologist with special needs children to target language, literacy and other social skills. Run in collaboration with the University of Tennessee’s Audiology Department, the program serves as a training ground for undergraduate students while supporting young clients. The multi-faceted therapy uses horses like Coco to increase motivation and sensory input, while decreasing stress.
“I know that the work we do not only helps the horses but also people,” Sadiku emphasizes. “That’s why our motto is ‘Helping Horses Help People.’ In a world that flashes so much darkness, we can be the light.”