Mass adoption event saves small dogs in Vancouver
VANCOUVER — A small airplane came to a halt on Saturday outside the hangar at the Vancouver International Airport, where about 100 people stood at the edge of the tarmac watching and waiting.
The roar of the plane engine stopped and the door opened. That’s when a dog could be heard whimpering from its crate inside the plane. Then it barked. Then dozens more rescued dogs joined in.
More than 80 small dogs arrived in the city as part of an annual event that brings shelter dogs from the United States into Canada to be adopted by loving families.
It’s an emotional moment for everyone involved. Many of the volunteers wiped tears from their eyes as they witnessed the scene.
Dogs are brought by planes and trucks to Vancouver from “kill shelters” in the US that have high kill rates due to the overwhelming number of dogs in need of shelters.
“A kill shelter is a shelter that experiences more surrenders than they have spaces,” said Susan Patterson, the founder of the Thank Dog I’m Out nonprofit organization.
“Some shelters will get 200 animals surrendered to them a day, and because they have nowhere to put them, they have to euthanize them.”
Patterson said Vancouver and the Canadian province of British Columbia have become very efficient at managing the dog population through pet spaying and neutering, so there is more demand now to adopt small dogs here than there are dogs in need of homes.
It’s a different story south of the border though, especially in California, where this summer’s terrible wildfires caused a spike of sheltered dogs.
After her own search for a small dog took her to Washington state, Patterson realized that shelters in the US were bursting at the seams with dogs.
She formed her organization and started bringing dogs to Vancouver five years ago. Since then, nearly 1,000 dogs have been adopted through her nonprofit organization.
Patterson’s efforts are boosted by more than 100
Volunteers hold dogs brought from “kill shelters” in the United States in Vancouver on Saturday.