A Kelowna man whose golden retriever was stolen on Saturday has been reunited with his beloved pet, after police recovered the dog in Penticton.

Taylor Galt’s emotional reunion with 15-month-old Atlas, who ran out of a police cruiser into his owners arms, was captured on cellphone video that’s been seen hundreds of thousands of times on social media. 

“There were no words to describe how joyful we were to see Atlas again,” said Taylor. “When he jumped in my arms we just started crying.” 

It was a happy ending to a dognapping saga that began on the weekend. Atlas was in Taylor’s father’s backyard Saturday afternoon, when the elder Galt heard the gate open. 

“And I saw this girl, well-dressed girl running down the left hand side of the street,” said Ian Galt. “ I realized this person was taking the dog. And my heart, my head were going a million miles an hour.” 

He phoned his son, who was away working on the Site C dam project. “When I initially got the news it was a gut-wrenching feeling, one that I never thought I could experience,” said Taylor. “ Atlas means the world to me, and when my dad said he was taken from his property, I felt helpless.” 

On Monday they viewed a neighbour’s surveillance footage of the dognapping. “I had an idea at the time who this person was,” said Ian. 

Taylor advertised a $5,000 reward, and Ian was contacted by a man who claimed he knew where Atlas was. But that man wanted the money before revealing the dog’s location. The Galts took the information to police, who confronted the man and got Atlas back. 

“The person we received the dog from yesterday, he was holding our dog for ransom,” said Taylor. They believe he was working with the person who took the dog, a woman the Galts know. 

“The police are telling me they can’t do anything with him. As far as they can tell, he hasn’t broken any laws. But the investigation is moving forward to speak to the girl in question that took the dog,” said Ian. Father and son would like to see charges laid, but for now they’re just happy to have Atlas back.

“He’s part of the family, he’s my child, my fur baby, he means everything to us,” said Taylor.