Posts by Susan Patterson

Afganistan Rescue Update

We at Thank DOG I Am Out  Dog Rescue have joined the amazing SPCA International coalition team working closely with the Kabul Small Animal Rescue’s team on the ground in Afghanistan to successfully complete the mission to rescue the 300+ dogs and cats abandoned, or left behind as their owners fled the country and get them to North America!

The coalition team , under the umbrella of SPCA International, consists of Thank DOG I Am Out Dog Rescue, War Paws, Marleys Mutts, and Rain Coast  Dog Rescue…all of us committed  to see this  historical  rescue mission through to the finish line.

You may remember the chaos resulting in so many dogs being released at the Kabul airport.  So far KSAR has  been able to extract over 70 dogs from the airport!  The work doesn’t stop, there are more animals to be rescued, more lives to be saved, their team will continue to provide rescue services and work to remove as many dogs as possible from the airport.

It is our hope to bring these cats and dogs to Canada early in the New Year. Setting up a temporary shelter in North America to ensure these animals are properly cared for until they can go to their forever homes is no easy feat. We are on the homestretch, but none of this is possible without your support, please donate today so that these cats and dogs, who have already endured so much, can finally have their happily ever after. 

Previously raised funds have been used to support the ongoing rescue and care of the animals at KSAR after the failed August evacuation as well as constructing a temporary facility here in North America to house the animals upon their arrival.

Our teams here in North America have been working non-stop to support KSAR and to see this rescue mission through. We have been working with our dedicated partners War Paws, Marleys Mutts, Rain Coast Rescue and Thank DOG I Am Out Dog Rescue to meet all import and housing requirements.

Thank DOG I Am Out Dog Rescue Society , Charitable Status # 81653  8581 RR0001 has been working tirelessly under the radar preparing to make this mission a success.

Please support the mission of Thank DOG I Am Out Dog Rescue by donating on this page, or by clicking the DONATE button on our website 


 If you prefer to donate internationally please donate to SPCA International directly  – SPCAI never given up on these animals.

Here is the link to their donation page:

From the SPCAI :

These cats and dogs have already endured so much but SPCAI  is so close to the finish line. We need YOU to help us bridge the gap and meet our goal of $70,000 by January 5th. Your donation will ensure that every animal that comes to North America will receive the best care possible and have every opportunity to find a loving forever home.

2021 Recap: $270k was raised to rescue animals from Afghanistan. We are thrilled to announce that your support will bring hundreds of dogs and cats from Afghanistan to North America. If all goes as planned, they’ll arrive within the month. 

Five People You’ll Meet at Our Charity Walk

Hosted by Jonny Staub of Virgin Radio, our #DontShopAdopt Walk aims at raising awareness for rescuing dogs from high-kill shelters. This event is the first ever for Thank Dog I Am Out and we have a TON in store for May 13th. Our walk is only 4 km long – it’s over and done within half an hour, so you have plenty of time to get your pawtay pants on and join the festivities. Can’t make it for noon? That’s okay! The walk only STARTS at noon, but you can join in anytime between 12:00-12:30. Just be sure you’re back in time for the Costume Contest at 1:00. We’ll have a BBQ, music from DJ Mike Woodhouse, prizes from TISOL on Grandview HWY, and SO much more. You’ll also meet the fab crew from the internationally famed rescue organization Soi Dog Canada who work tirelessly to save dogs being killed in support of the Asia Dog Meat Trade. Register HERE to join us Saturday, May 13th. $25 per adult; kids 16 and under walk for free. Help us save dogs at risk of being euthanized, abused, surrendered or neglected.


Thank Dog I Am Out - DontShopAdopt Walk

Whether you’re the parent of a dog, a friend of a dog-crazy person, or just want to come out to dance with some doggos, and win cool prizes, then you should iron your party pants because May 13th is our first ever Charity Walk and we want you to join us. Why? Aside from being really fun and a great way to both help and celebrate other dogs, there will be some really cool people there (aside from us, of course).

Here are the 5 types of people you’ll likely meet at our walk next Saturday.

Dog-less Dog Lover

Thank Dog I Am Out - #DontShopAdopt Walk

Dog lover, not yet a dog parent, the Dog-less Dog Lover exudes triple the energy of a 5-month-old puppy – well-meaning, ready to get in there, but overwhelmed by the sheer magic of a world where dogs are everywhere. Their excitement cannot be contained or measured by any quantifiable number we know. They like dog puns and will go out of their way to cross a busy street to get to a dog that needs a pat.

As a dog-less dog lover, it’s tough out there. Everyone, especially in Vancouver, is coupled up with a dog, being happy and stuff. Walking around, leash in hand, a loyal bestie, posting adorable selfies together. The dog-less dog lover has life FOMO but they are dog-less for good reasons.

Whether they’re not financially ready, too busy, or just aren’t ready to enter a committed relationship, these dog lovers are happy to just snuggle up, feed off second-hand dog ownership, and go home with the knowledge that, one day, sometime soon, they too will be ready to commit to the best years of their lives. Until then, these dog lovers will be out in full force on Saturday, and you can expect that many of them will have stuffed treats in their pockets in order to present their most attractive selves.

Quote of the Day: “Can I pet your dog? Can I get them a treat? No, don’t worry, I brought my own. No…I don’t…I don’t actually have a dog.” *awkward silence*


Helicopter Dog Parent

Thank Dog I Am Out #DontShopAdopt Walk

Some say neurotic, we say conscientious. Dog parents love their dogs to the moon and back, obviously. We all want our dog to thrive in their short but magical lives. But among dog parents exists a small percentage of overly-conscientious hoverers, called Helicopter Parents. You will know them by their worrying side eye, the hesitation they exude at letting their dog do anything without their supervision. They are always within an arm’s length distance of their dog. They’ve memorized their Vet’s number but also have it on speed dial because that’s faster and helps them sleep better at night. They are currently contemplating installing a video camera in their home, not because they think their little one is getting into mischief, but so that they can check in every hour on how they’re doing, if they’re dreaming while they’re sleeping, etc.

Helicopter dog parents only helicopter because they love their magical boofer a sweet, sweet amount, and just want what’s best for them. Nothing should ever harm them or their pure souls. They will be there on Saturday, hovering on the sidelines, analyzing every movement their dog makes, showing other dog parents all 189 photos of their sweet baby while sleeping, but will also ready at a moments notice to swoop in should any perceived trouble occur.

Quote of the Day: “I think I’m going to go with the “Pet Minder 5000; it has the most battery life and also – CeeCee, baby, don’t do that – it has a built in microphone so I can speak to – CeeCee, no, that’s too far, come back right now.”


Partner of the Crazy Dog Lover

Thank Dog I Am Out #DontShopAdopt Walk

Their patient smiles, their nods of understanding to fellow tagalongs, the way they try to subtly check their watch so they don’t offend their very excited, very happy dog lover person. The partner of the dog lover probably likes dogs. Like, on a scale of 1 to 10, they like them around a 4-5. A “normal” amount. Dogs are cool, they’re awesome at being cute, and they’ll pat one on occasion, but they’re really just at the Walk to appease their partner, who just bought an “Adopt and Chill” t-shirt, has their very own Instagram account for their dog, and also cries in movies where the dog dies.

The partner of a dog lover would do anything for their significant other, even if they don’t share the over-the-moon, dog-crazy love that they do. They will follow them around as they hop from dog to dog on Saturday, in a similar manner to someone who follows their partner in a mall with all the shopping bags, waiting outside stores while playing Candy Crush on their phone. There’s probably 5 other things they would likely rather be doing on a Saturday, but they don’t care. The atmosphere, the dogs meeting dogs, the music, the food, their significant other running from dog to dog telling them how good they are – there’s no place they’d rather be than in a field full of woofers.


“I’m Here for the Selfies”

Thank Dog I Am Out #DontShopAdopt Walk

Suns out, duck face out. If there is one thing that every social savvy selfie-takers know, it’s that dogs = likes. Because duh. Dogs are great! We’ve had this conversation already and don’t need to go over the main points again, but as a refresher dogs are: cute, loveable, loyal, master of the always adorable head tilt, friend to all except squirrels. They are also almost always photogenic and will generate much likes, so wow.

So, in full force, the Instagrammers of Vancouver will be out on Saturday, hashtags at the ready, treats in hand to lure the eyes of a floofer, their thumbs already twitching at the perfect captions and emojis they will tap into their phone. The Selfie Expert knows that the trick to not looking like a fangirl who just met N*Sync is to count slowly to 1,000 between each one. It’s a fine art. Like a marathon, they must pace themselves so they don’t tire out or look too crazy.

If you’re opting the Celebrity Parent route and would rather no paparazzi take photos of your baby doggo so they can grow up normal without the pressures of fame and celebrity, then you can politely decline the Instagrammers request to take their photo. Or dress up your doggo for our Costume Contest – a proper disguise for you and your four-legged bestie will keep the paparazzi at bay.

Quote of the Day: “Your fur doesn’t really work with my filter of choice; can we move to a different light?”


The Hero(s) We Don’t Deserve

Thank Dog I Am Out #DontShopAdopt Walk

The volunteers. The hands that went into food prep, the bodies that carried the signs, the balloons, the tents, the food, the coal for the BBQ. The sleepless nights, the stress and prep. The care and attention to detail that went in to creating an event that is dedicated to saving innocent creatures whose only fault in the world is loving their people too much.

These people are the active volunteers who dedicate their lives, time, pieces of their souls, and all of their hearts into rescuing, rehoming, and loving dogs who need a do-over at life. They are the hero we don’t deserve for how hard they throw themselves into each and every dog rescue, for how much they love, appreciate, and work at helping a shelter dog find their way from cold and alone to loved and at home. On Saturday, You will know them by their volunteer shirts or hats, by their ability to suddenly be in 4 different places at once while they manage the itinerary of the event, and by their extensive knowledge of where everything is. But most of all, you will know them by the complete and utter love they give unconditionally to each and every dog they encounter at the walk. The boofers and the floofs, the puppers and the doggos, every one of them has a story, a life that is worth saving, and they are the best kind of people we know.

Register HERE to sign up for our walk on May 13th! Registration is $25 per adult; kids 16 and under walk free. All proceeds go towards our rescue organization and helping other dogs find their furever home.

A HUGE thank you to our generous sponsors, donators, and partners who are helping make this pawtay as successful as possible.



Jonny Staub of Virgin Radio 


Save Me Sunday: Kirsten + Ollie

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

You don’t know me but you might know my dog. He’s just like yours: soul piercing eyes, a heart of gold, farts that make you evacuate the building, and an unwavering sense of love and selflessness.

Ollie has been in my life for almost 7 years. I call him the face of love. Part lab, part basset hound, and all parts sassy, he is the longest relationship I have ever had, likely the only man I’ll ever need in my life – which is probably how he likes it.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

I’m Kirsten. I’m a full-time writer, part-time dog high-fiver, who lives in downtown Vancouver. People ask me how I like writing for a living and I’ll tell them I love it, obviously, but after 30 seconds, I’m already telling them that I love my job most of all because I get to bring Ollie to work. Whether the conversation ends or continues after that will tell me if that person is a dog person or not and how much I should really tell them about the extent of my dog crazy-ness, which, is extreme.

In my Tinder profile, for instance, my dog is in more than half of the photos. A quick glance at my profile will show you that I mention the word “dog” 8 times. I also link my profile to my Instagram account, which might as well be Ollie’s Instagram account; more than half of the photos are of him and his face of love.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

When I’m matched with men and they ask me what I do for fun, I’ll regale them with stories about my dog. Ollie comes with me on the first date as a pseudo litmus test: first to see how they are with him, second to see what he thinks about them. And, because I’m an awkward person by nature, when I run out of things to make small talk about, and I usually do, I revert to stories about Ollie. Or will show them photos of Ollie. Or will ignore them completely and rub Ollie’s belly. Which is usually met with: wow, you weren’t kidding when you said you’re dog crazy.

I won’t disagree. But I’d say I’m not dog crazy. I’m just crazy. I’m a crazy person. Who also happens to love my dog an inordinate amount.

I’m allowed to say I’m crazy because it’s me. And I am.

I live with Social Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Two mental illnesses that affect me in two completely different ways that often leave me utterly exhausted at the end of the day. One winds me up, takes my heart on marathons and has me obsessing over the most irrational things. The other drags me down with weights and has me obsessing with ideas of hiding away from everyone until I disappear forever.

You wouldn’t guess it if you first met me. That’s because I’ve spent more than two decades carefully constructing myself in a way that hides all my quirks and ticks in an effort to appear “normal”.  And while my mental illness does not define who I am, it does affect me in ways that shape my life. It’s the reason, for instance, why I workout 6 days a week (yay endorphins!). It’s the reason I eat healthily, journal, read, see a therapist, have a dog (YAY), walk everywhere, meditate, be social even when I don’t want to, and take medication.

It’s the reason I speak up during Bell Let’s Talk and Mental Health Week (May 1-7). I do so because mental illness runs in my family. Because it affects some of the best people I know and love. Because 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness throughout their lifetime.

It’s why I faked sick for 3 weeks in elementary school. It’s why I faked sick for 4 in University. It’s why I used to turn to alcohol to numb my pain. It’s also the reason I have self-harmed, contemplated suicide, and, just last year, wanted my life to end and, in fact, had a plan to do so.

But I didn’t. I’m still here. And there’s a big reason for why. Actually, it’s the only reason. And he’s sitting beside me right now, snoring and emitting gas in his sleep.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

In the short time that I have been blessed to call Ollie my best friend, my dude has been with me through countless life events (both good and bad) just as I’ve been with him through his own life events (good and bad).

I rescued Ollie 6.5 years ago. I was 22 and he was 6 months old and the only thing I knew about him was that he was saved from a high-kill shelter in California, a day before he was set to be put down. In his adoption photo, instead of the energetic, happy puppy he should be, I saw a sadness in face; his eyes had this weathered look that told me he had seen too much in his short life. I thought how good it would be to make this dog happy and see his eyes light up. It didn’t matter to me that I was a 2nd year University student with little to no idea of her future. I just knew I wanted to rescue a dog, that I wanted this dog, so I could show him life could be so good. It’s funny, now, how years later, Ollie has returned the favour tenfold.

I have had 6.5 years of goofy, sassy, Ollie love and watched him grow from an unsure pup to a wise senior that prefers couches over coffee walks, squirrels over cats, and has mastered the long-lost art of the judge-y side eye.

I have watched him run out onto a speeding highway and return unscathed. I was there when he had to be get stitched up after puncturing his chest. He has been to tops of Yukon mountains with me, swam in the ocean with me, peed on the side of highways with me. I have witnessed him get trampled by a moose, get chased by a ravenous goose, watched him side eye my tinder dates, and, most recently, seen him do somersaults over my passenger seat while we almost, but not quite, went over a cliff in Northern BC.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

I am lucky to know him, feed him, house him, pick up his poop, and call him my friend. Because above being super cool, really brave, and having met a moose and lived to tell the tale, Ollie, bless his pure soul, saved me.

It is no secret to my family and close friends that I live with mental illness; I’m not ashamed of it. But that still doesn’t make it easy to admit or talk about. And that tells me a great deal. It tells me that talking about it is still in great need.

For people who don’t live with mental illness, it is easy to excuse and harder to understand. It’s because the battle that someone is fighting is completely invisible. Every day, someone with a mental illness wakes up and goes to battle with their mind, which, to me, makes them a badass motherpupper. But not everyone understands the symptoms of mental illness or why it’s something that grapples them so. And in an attempt to bridge a connection with this person who is struggling in ways that aren’t comprehensible, words often escape one’s mouth that, in I’m sure are well meaning, but do more damage than they intend. Words like just snap out of it. Have you tried exercise? Have you thought about just getting outside more? Smile! Let it go and be happy – there are people out there who are worse off than you.


I have heard many of these. In fact, I’ve heard all of them. And while their intentions may be good, the impression that is left is that I am burdening that person with something that even I don’t understand fully.

So, on days when it’s good, when I’m not in the clutches of its invisible claws, I live life to the fullest, like Ollie. Because I know that sometime soon, around the corner, there could be a bad day. And that I can try all the things in my cocktail of crazy remedies to make it better, which may or may not work.

The one thing I know of all my tried and true methods for self-love is that when all else fails, I have Ollie.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

Ollie has seen me through and brought me back from the depths of dark places that I know I’ll likely revisit again. We all will. Mental illness isn’t something that can be shaken from your shoulders. It can’t be smacked out of you like ketchup coming loose from a bottle. It’s ever present. It’s deep and tangible. It looms. On good days, it feels like there is nothing wrong with you at all. On the bad days, the dark days, everything is a struggle and the weight of it is enough to make you believe the lies that it tells you.

But dogs.

Dogs have that magical ability to simply just be. They’re there, with a goofy smile or kind eyes that just kind of say, “Oh, hey. What’s up? Wanna go for a walk or something? No? We could eat? No? Cool. Well, whatever you want to do is really cool with me. Let’s just chill here.” And will be unselfishly happy to do so for as long as you want to. Because dogs just are. They are just. They will sit with you, love you, comfort you, just by being there, regardless of what you are doing or not doing. They are wonderful creatures who love you more than they love themselves and that is what makes them pure magic.

It’s no coincidence that people with mental illness report improvements to their wellness after being around a dog, even if it’s just for 30 seconds. Dogs simply live in the moment, unaffected by the complex emotions that humans do. Time is constant and linear and they move forward effortlessly in ways that I truly envy.

Ollie is the best remedy to every dark day I know. He’s the one thing that always brings me back to myself every single time I get to the brink of something that can never be undone.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

Ollie has sat by me through 2 breakups and 1 soul crushing, air deflating heartache. He watched me through a hospital scare and sat by me for a 3-week recovery. He was there when I graduated University and had whimsical dreams of taking over the world with a good word and a pen full of ink. I held his fur when I was first diagnosed with major Depression, feeling a sad comfort that I had something to define the dark urges I was having, disappointed that I wasn’t “normal”, but calm that I had a four-legged tether to anchor me to my new world.

He moved up north with me and then back down south with me. Sustained injuries in a car crash with me. When my mental illness took me to haunting places that pushed the boundaries between thought and action, he was there. Just being a dog. Every time my fingers twitched on a steering wheel, when I eyed a bridge with adrenaline, when I thought how easy it could be to finish my cup of coffee, go outside, shut my eyes and walk in front of a passing bus, I thought of his face of love. His eyes, his fur, his soft woofs while he sleeps, and always always always Ollie brought me back to being here.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

Ollie is the one purest, good thing that I have in my life. His health, his happiness, his entire being depends on me. If I did something to myself, if I left, if suddenly I was no longer a presence, he would be alone. And I could never do that to him.

For how little I love myself in those moments (which, with a lot of daily work, time, and care, are now few and far between these days) for how strong the desire I have had to end everything, always, I feel this strong anchoring, the four-legged tether to this 7-year old sack of love, gas, and gracelessness.

I saved Ollie 6.5 years ago. But Ollie saved me, too. And he saves me every day. He is my constant; my northern star. On the days when it’s hard and the weight of my invisible battle is a pressure on my chest that cannot be moved or shrunk or stilled, I reach for his fur and he meets my hand with a gentle bob of his head or a heavy sigh that I choose to interpret as his way of saying do not worry, I am here.

Kirsten Barkved Thank Dog I Am Out

Please join us May 13th for our first ever #DontShopAdopt event, where we will walk to raise awareness of the importance of dog rescue. Because, most often, it’s not just one life you are saving. Rescue goes both ways. We have so many incredible dogs that need your help, who need saving, who, like all of us at some point in our lives, are scared, alone, feeling lost, and need someone to reach out, remind them they are not alone, and to just be there.

If you’re struggling with mental illness, please: reach out to someone. You are not alone. A friend, a co-worker, your doctor. There are anonymous hotlines you can chat online or call where you can speak to someone – sometimes all we need is someone to listen (dog or human) and often, though it may seem small, it can make a difference.