Jon Taylor’s world turned upside down for a moment when he heard a stranger had claimed his lost dog.
Five-year-old German shepherd Sheila arrived four days earlier from Manitoba before she broke through the screen door of their home on the night of Aug. 18, chasing away what Taylor believed to be a bear.
He called her name, but without a response, Taylor immediately knew something was wrong. He reached out to a veterinarian friend in Nanaimo to help spread the word on social media of his lost dog.
Hours later, a Good Samaritan found Sheila along Otter Point Road in Sooke and posted about the find on a Sooke community Facebook page.
But before Taylor saw the post, a stranger claimed they were the owner and picked up the dog that same night.
On the morning of Aug. 19, the day of Taylor’s birthday, the man woke up to find that Find Lost and Escaped Dogs (FLED) Vancouver Island had posted about the German shepherd, but it was all too late.
The lost and found situation was now a rescue mission.
Taylor began a police file and contacted B.C. Ferries in case a car matching the description the Good Samaritan had given would match with someone trying to leave the Island.
Meanwhile, posts about Sheila’s story were being spread across Facebook and amassing hundreds of shares and likes.
“She’s a super happy dog that isn’t aggressive at all,” said Taylor. “If you open up a truck door for her, she’s going to think you’re one of my friends giving me a ride.”
Luckily, Sheila was found in the same area she was spotted the night before later on the morning of Aug. 19. Taylor was reunited with the dog at the Sooke RCMP detachment later that day.
Taylor believes the person that claimed Sheila saw the posts and decided to drop her off in Sooke.
“I was just so emotionally exhausted,” said Taylor. “She’s my buddy. I’ve had her since she was six months old. To be apart from her while I was settling into Sooke the past six months, then to have her taken away was almost traumatic.”
Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital officials say the best way to ensure you’re giving a dog to its rightful owner is by asking for photos of the dog with its owner.
“There’s no fault to the person who gave her over to the stranger,” said Alanna Hibbert, with the veterinary hospital. “I would’ve done the same thing. I’m just glad that this situation had the best possible ending because it could’ve been much worse.”
As far as how Sheila is doing, Taylor said the dog took a four-hour nap the moment she arrived back at home.