Mass adop­tion event saves small dogs in Van­cou­ver

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - World -

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

LIANG SEN / XINHUA

Vol­un­teers hold dogs brought from “kill shel­ters” in the United States in Van­cou­ver on Satur­day.

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