Cindy, a rambunctious 10-year-old Maine coon cat, is expected to get a home soon — after being taken in by a Gilbert animal shelter more than a year ago. If adopted, she’ll leave behind 17 other cats and dogs that have been at the Friends for Life shelter for more than a year.
The no-kill shelter is on a mission to find them homes — and make room to rescue more pets.
The dainty, longhaired tabby is among a revolving door of cats and dogs at the shelter that often wait more than a year — some as long as three — for a permanent home.
“They’re really wonderful pets, and a year’s a long time to be living in a shelter environment,” said Barb Savoy, shelter spokeswoman.
Sun Lakes resident Tom Stern, who plans to adopt Cindy, said he wants her because she’s older, and calmer — already trained and just wants love.
“We don’t want a kitten,” he said. “We’re not very kittenish ourselves. We want a cat our own age.”
Some of the cats and dogs at the shelter are old, some are young, and a few need special care. Bunni, for instance, is a gray-and-white cat who must be the only pet in a home, after losing a leg.
“People come in looking for cute and fluffy puppies,” said Erica Wellman, office administrator and on-site caregiver. “We’re highlighting how beautiful older dogs and cats are. All these older dogs, are very easy and a lot of dogs can live past 15. They’re all very healthy.”
The shelter is often the first place people come to when animals need to be rescued — but the shelter can get overlooked when people seek their next pet, she said.
“For every cat or dog we adopt, that’s one more we rescue off the street,” Wellman said.
With limited space, the shelter is often forced to care for stray animals — while they still live there.
In one case, the shelter has volunteers helping keep puppies alive that are living in a culvert in Queen Creek.
All the animals at Friends for Life are spayed or neutered, tested for illnesses, and given shots and microchips.
The shelter’s policy is to take back any animals if an owner becomes ill, dies or is unable to care for the pet, and find them a new home.
Friends for Life houses about 100 cats and dogs at any time, and has placed more than 11,000 in homes since its establishment in 1993 in downtown Gilbert.
Adoption fees help pay for the medical care and testing pets receive when they arrive at the shelter, which has a monthly operating cost of about $15,000.
Adoption fees start at $85 for adult cats, $95 for kittens, $110 for adult dogs and $175 for puppies.
To look at photos and read about the cats and dogs up for adoption, visit www.azfriends.org.
Donations of food, toys and other supplies can be left at the offices at any time at 143 W. Vaughn Ave.
ADOPT A PET
What: A New Year, a New Home event
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Friends for Life Animal Sanctuary, 143 W. Vaughn Ave., Gilbert; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Sunday at the PetsMart Luv-a-Pet Adoption Center at Stapley Drive and Baseline Road, Mesa