Itska and Shannon reunited
(Shannon Boothman / Facebook)

This is the type of story that’s fit for a Disney movie, happy ending and all. 

A Tofino woman has been reunited with her pet, who was missing for over two months after being taken from a beach in Tofino in November 2019. 

“I’m just happy to have him back,” Boothman says, speaking to Victoria Buzz over the phone. “It’s a miracle.”

Itska, a 5-year-old husky-malamute-akita mix, went missing on November 2nd, 2019, from near Tonquin Beach in Tofino.

At the time, owner Shannon Boothman and local police believed the dog had been taken from the beach by tourists who believed the dog was in distress. Boothman made an impassioned plea through the police and press asking for the return of Itska, but to no avail. 

“After two and a half months, I handled it poorly,” Boothman says. “I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t work.”

But then Boothman received an anonymous phone call on December 24th, tipping her off to an Oak Bay man believed to be in possession of Itska. 

After following up on the tip and sending several social media messages to the man, Boothman finally received confirmation that he had taken Itska and was looking after the dog.

But after informing Oak Bay Police, Boothman says that officers told her there was nothing they could do. 

Boothman remembers authorities telling her the dog was safe and warm.

“Not safe and warm with me,” Boothman replied.

Victoria Buzz has reached out to Oak Bay Police for their comments, but no one was available to add remarks by the time of publication.

Boothman began contacting relatives of the man on Facebook and eventually received a phone call from the man. He said he had Itska and would drive up to Port Alberni to return the dog. 

itska sleeping
(Shannon Boothman / Facebook)

Reunited at last

Itska and Boothman were reunited on Sunday, January 21st. She remembers the man responsible for Itka’s disappearance seemed upset to be losing the dog, and the two spoke about the process of having police involved. 

“Even he said to me, ‘the police were not on your side’,” Boothman says. 

Reunited and happy with her dog, Boothman says she is not pursuing any further legal action and is instead focusing on spending as much time with Itska as she can. Both Boothman and her dog are local celebrities now, attracting comments and attention from residents of Tofino and Port Alberni.

“I’m so grateful and thankful for everyone that’s been supportive,” Boothman says. “Everywhere I go, people say, ‘Oh, that’s the dog?’ Everyone’s happy he’s home.”

“Are you happy, Itska?” Boothman asks, speaking to her dog. “I think you are.”

Stay in the loop! Get Victoria Buzz news, events and more directly to your inbox. Every day.