After more than two months desperately searching for her missing dog, Tofino resident Shannon Boothman was delighted to have her best friend back in her arms.
Itska vanished near Tonquin Beach on Nov. 2, and Boothman and police believed at the time that two tourists had taken the dog, thinking it was in need of care.
Boothman said she received a phone call around 9 a.m. on Sunday from a man who said he had Itska and planned to return him.
“He’s driving up right now from Victoria to give him back,” Boothman told the Westerly News on Sunday afternoon. “I’m really happy. I’m ecstatic. I can’t believe that I’m actually getting him back because it’s hard not to give up hope after so long.”
She sent a photo to the Westerly News around 5 p.m. of her hugging her returned companion.
The story of Itska’s disappearance spread rapidly through social media back in November.
Boothman said she received an anonymous phone call from a person late on Christmas Eve, who gave her the name of an Oak Bay man believed to have the dog.
Boothman said she contacted the Oak Bay Police, who investigated and found Itska, but did not determine the people who were caring for him had criminal intent and handed the file over to the SPCA.
“The people felt they were caring for the dog,” said Oak Bay Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties. “You aren’t apparently allowed to just care for someone else’s dog, whether you like it or not.”
Boothman was able to find the man’s mother on Facebook, and began messaging the woman’s friends.
The man called her on Sunday morning and assured he would deliver the dog immediately. She said he admitted he had seen the news she was searching for her pet.
“My heart kind of goes out to him. I think he was well intentioned, but when he saw all the posts and everything and how desperately I was searching for him, he should have stepped forward a lot earlier than now,” Boothman said.
“Because that’s actually very negatively impacted my life. But, none of that matters right now.”
Once she has him back, she said she plans to take immediate steps to ensure she does not lose him again.
“The first thing I’m going to do when I get a vet appointment is get my dog microchipped.”