It’s been over two weeks since Shannon Boothman’s dog Itska was allegedly taken from Tofino by tourists and she now fears her best friend is no longer on Vancouver Island.
Itska, a mixed-breed—malamute, akita and husky— unneutered male with a dark brown and black body, tan-coloured head, white legs and a curly tail, went missing on Nov. 2.
As reported in last week’s Westerly News, a Tofino RCMP officer had found Itska with two tourists who believed the dog was in need of care, but the officer was unable to find Boothman before being called to a “higher priority” situation and leaving the scene.
Boothman told the Westerly News on Sunday that she recently received an unconfirmed sighting of Itska at the Nanaimo ferry terminal with a couple who matched the description she’s been given of the two tourists. She said she relayed the report to the RCMP, but Itska was not recovered.
“In my heart of all hearts, I know he’s not on the Island anymore,” Boothman said, adding she “will never stop” searching until her dog is returned.
“I love him. He’s part of me. I will not stop until I find him. Every moment of every day…Everybody knows that it is my life’s dedication right now to find my dog. It’s not like I’m just going to go find another dog; I want my dog back and he wants to be back here.”
The story of Itska’s disappearance has spread quickly through Black Press Media publications and social media channels and Boothman said she’s grateful for the attention her situation has received, but is worried public interest will wane as the days go by.
“It’s been two weeks now and [the interest] is going to die, people are going to stop; it’s old news now,” she said. “It’s painful. I don’t know what else I can do. I want my dog back… I know that my dog being missing is not the most important thing in the world, but it’s the most important thing to me.”
She said she has reached out to as many Vancouver Island veterinary clinics as she could find and spread photos of Itska through various social media pages as well as on posters around town.
“I ask the tourists from out of town to share it in their town because he could be anywhere,” she said.
She said she believes the tourists that allegedly took her dog likely had good intentions, but she’s struggling to understand what made them think Itska was in need of care, though she added that Itska does suffer from an occasional skin condition.