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'He's part of our family': Stolen dog reunited with owners thanks to social media, kind strangers

Garry Henderson adopted his 10-year-old border collie Ollie eight years ago.

He’s a rescue dog who finally found his forever home.

“He’s part of our family,” Henderson told CTV News.

On Tuesday evening, Ollie was stolen from outside a Yaletown business, but thanks to what Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP) called "seamless teamwork with frontline transit staff," the dog was recovered in less than 10 hours.

The MVTP shared Ollie's story in a news release Wednesday, explaining that the dog's owner had briefly tied him up outside the business around 5:30 p.m.

When Henderson returned, his dog was gone, and so began an hours-long search in the downtown core.

"We never knew that while we were down there, he was on a SkyTrain heading to Lougheed Mall,” he said.

His daughter shared their story online and the posts quickly spread, eventually reaching a transit worker who just finished her shift around 2 a.m at Gilmore Station. She remembered seeing a woman board the train with a dog that looked like Ollie.

“She thought it was odd, a little bit out of place,” said Const. Amanda Steed of MVTP.

The attendant quickly reached out to colleagues in the area who also noticed a woman with a dog who looked like Ollie from social media on the Number 9 bus near Lougheed Station. The sighting was then reported to transit police.

“Without the social media posts – with people tweeting and retweeting and reposting, and getting that photo out there of Ollie – I don’t think that SkyTrain attendant would have maybe paid any mind to it,” Steed said.

“If it wasn’t for social media, he could be somewhere in Coquitlam and we might never have found him again,” Henderson added.

Transit police asked Coast Mountain Bus Company to put out an alert to all bus operators with a description of the suspect and the dog. Sure enough, a Number 9 bus operator recognized the suspect and Ollie aboard their bus, and "provided police with real-time updates," MVTP said.

Officers intercepted the bus and located Ollie, who was unharmed. Police left the dog in the company of Coast Mountain security officers until he was reunited with his family at around 4 a.m. on Wednesday.

“I can’t tell you how relieved I am. Last night was one of the most stressful nights of our life,” Henderson said.

MVTP arrested a 35-year-old woman from North Vancouver for theft and possession of stolen property. Authorities said she is known to police.

Still shaken up, Henderson is grateful to everyone who helped in the search and said he will be extra vigilant when going out with Ollie.

“Transit police are proud to have been able to play a role in a heartwarming ending to a situation that would be any pet owner’s worst nightmare," said Steed in a news release.

"We are deeply grateful for the relationships that our officers and dispatchers have with the frontline staff at SkyTrain and Coast Mountain Bus. Truly, teamwork is the reason that Ollie is now back at home with his family.” Top Stories

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