For the volunteers at Thank Dog I Am Out Rescue, Saturday was like Christmas morning.
Months of planning, organizing and stress culminated in this emotional event: the arrival of 60 rescue pups at Landmark Aviation at Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal.
As the small plane operated by the non-profit pilot group Wings of Rescue arrived at the terminal, dozens of volunteers clapped and then fell into a hushed silence, as not to rile up the already stressed out dogs. More than a few had misty eyes.
One by one, dozens of dogs in small stacked crates were unloaded off the plane and given to waiting volunteers sitting in numbered pens along the perimeter of the airplane hangar.
The pups, mostly small breeds, including mutts, poodle, terrier and chihuahua crosses, ranged from extremely excited to cautiously optimistic. While some needed coaxing to come out of their travel crate, others bounded onto the fake grass turf to greet people and play with the other pups.
Volunteers spent the day with the newly-arrived rescue dogs, which made a two-hour flight from a Northern California farm where they have been staying since being sprung from shelter last month.
These dogs were hand-picked from high-kill shelters in the Los Angeles area, where overpopulation means facilities are overwhelmed by homeless canines, and — unfortunately – hundreds are euthanized each week. Some shelters can take in 40 dogs in a single day.
The adoptable dogs will spend the night here before Sunday’s public adoption, where pre-approved adopters will be brought in to meet Vancouver’s newest canine citizens.
It’s hoped that all 60 will find loving homes, but don’t worry about those left behind: Any pups that aren’t adopted by the end of the day will be placed into temporary foster homes in Metro Vancouver until they go to their furrever homes.
Visit Thank Dog I Am Out to learn more about the campaign, and check out all the adoptable dogs.
And here’s a look at the newly-arrived gang: