Sassy, now renamed Sadie, was at the Arizona Animal Welfare League for years before she was adopted. Because AAWL is a no-kill shelter Sassy’s life was spared.  

The wish of many volunteers at Arizona Animal Welfare League came true July 16 when the cat who had been in the shelter the longest, Sassy, finally went to a good home.

Sassy had been at the shelter for years awaiting adoption. Jenna Skinner, the cattery supervisor at AAWL and SPCA, said Sassy was actually at the shelter as a kitten. She was adopted as a kitten and returned some time later when the family was moving and couldn't take her with them.

"She was a very independent cat," Skinner said. "She liked to be the dominant cat and the bossy cat. She was not a lap cat. She was really kind of aloof which is part of why she didn't get adopted very quickly."

When directors at AAWL realized how long Sassy had been in the shelter they were desperate to find her a good home. If she had been in a county shelter she probably would have been euthanized, Skinner said.

Finally, Pam Paige came in looking for a new cat. She says when she saw Sassy, now renamed Sadie, she just knew she was the right cat.

"She's very sweet," Paige said. "When I picked her I couldn't really tell because they had just brought her out of the cage and she was just so happy to be out of there she was just roaming around. We had been there a while looking at all the cats and when I saw her I just thought, ‘She's the one.' Sometimes you just know."

Paige says she has another cat that she's slowly introducing Sadie to but for now Sadie has complete run of the downstairs of her house and plenty of love from her new family.

AAWL is hoping for many more stories like Sadie's by the end of its "Empty the Shelter" day Saturday, July 30.

During the 12-hour event, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., adoption prices will be drastically lowered to try and get as many pets into good homes as possible.

"Summer is probably the biggest time shelters see more pets coming through the doors but it's also a time we have the lowest adoption rates of the year," said Shannon Blizzard, director of shelter operations for AAWL. "These kinds of events are really in response to the needs that the animal welfare community has to try and bring that message to the community to help us."

This is the second year AAWL has thrown an "Empty the Shelter" event. Last year, 200 cats and dogs were adopted out during the event. Blizzard said the more animals they can get adopted, the more space they have for new animals to be saved.

The shelter will also have a low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic on site from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call (602) 273-6852, ext. 116.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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