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The U.S. is struggling with a dog population problem.

Basically, there are too many pets and not enough people to adopt them. Which is why, each year, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that about 1.2 million dogs are euthanized. It’s a terrible, preventable problem — and this year Canada is stepping in to do something about it.

Vancouver-based dog rescue society Thank Dog I Am Out is set to fly 120 pets from kill-shelters in California to a “doggy-topia” at Vancouver International Airport on Nov. 7, where 150 people will be waiting to adopt them. But this won’t be a typical mass dog giveaway; all of the prospective-owners have been vetted by the society’s volunteers. They’ve even had their homes checked to ensure everything is pet-friendly.

“We don’t want it to be like a Black Friday shoe sale,” Thank Dog I Am Out Founder Susan Patterson said during a telephone interview.

Patterson started up the society after she began looking for a new dog in 2009. When she wasn’t able to find a smaller one in any B.C. shelters, her attention quickly shifted south of the border, where Patterson soon learned just how many dogs are euthanized each day due to a lack of homes. Ever since then, it’s been her mission to save as many as possible. “We’ve never turned a local dog away,” Patterson said.  

Dogs from other countries, however, can be more complicated. Patterson says the society has saved about 500 dogs since it was started (and there’s hundreds of people on a waiting list to adopt more). The California shelter where the latest batch is coming from, the Humane Society of Imperial County, has a strict no-kill policy. But it’s also overcapacity, opening the door to the possibility that some of the animals could be relocated.

Instead, they’ll soon be playing with a variety of loving owners who want to take them to a forever home.