Dozens of dogs were stuck at an animal shelter after a van ordered to bring the animals to foster parents in Vancouver crashed last week in southern California before picking up the animals.

Cora Chok, a volunteer with B.C. animal rescue group Big and Small, arranged to have almost two dozen dogs brought from California to Vancouver.

"We have to get a van, we have to get enough crates of different sizes for all the dogs, we have to get harnesses, leashes, water bowls, food, anything that a dog could need within the three days it takes them to get up here," Chok told CTV News.

The Big and Small Rescue organization only learned of the crash when the shelter alerted them that the van didn't arrive to pick up the dogs on Thursday.

Michelle Hutchinson is an animal foster parent who said the dogs were spared thanks to another volunteer.

"If we didn't have a volunteer that dropped everything to go down to California to pick up these dogs, they would have been euthanized,” Hutchinson said.

Rescue group Big and Small has brought nearly 1,000 dogs to B.C. from high-kill shelters in Manitoba and California since 2012. Without foster parents the rescue group would not be able to bring the dogs across the borders.

"These foster [parents] that are willing to take in these dogs are literally saving a life,” Chok said.

The rescue group has never faced a crisis of this kind where the dogs were stuck at a shelter. Hutchinson said the non-profit group would benefit from having their own reliable method of transportation.

"If they had their own vehicle, they would be able to save a lot more animals and they wouldn't be at the mercy of using this other company," she said.

After the delay the animals are expected to be in B.C. next Thursday ready for local loving families.

To donate visit the website for Big and Small Rescue.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Hurst