Woman reunited with beloved therapy dog stolen from outside Leslieville mall
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Monday, December 3, 2018 2:00PM EST
Two days after a therapy dog was stolen from outside a Leslieville shopping mall, police have reunited the pup with his overjoyed owner.
Jamie Aitchinson tied up her three-year-old Boxer mix, Ottis, to a bike rack outside Gerrard Square shopping centre on Friday night while she ran errands.
When she returned about an hour later, Ottis was gone.
A surveillance camera located above a bike rack captured the moments a man and woman approached Ottis and started to pet him before untying his leash.
“I literally couldn’t breathe,” Aitchinson said of watching the footage.
One witness told CTV News Toronto that she saw Ottis being taken into a car by a group of people at around 5:45 p.m.
The suspects reportedly told bystanders that the dog had been abandoned for hours.
“I believed them,” Kim Luu said.
“I thought, ‘Oh, it’s an abandoned dog.’ I was so sorry for the dog and I was happy. They said they were going to take the dog and have it adopted.”
Aitchinson adopted Ottis when he was just eight weeks old. She says the dog helps her cope with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which she was diagnosed with after her roommate was murdered in 2011.
On Sunday night, she got the call she had been waiting for.
“I felt unsafe, I felt sad, I had anxiety. So to get that call was just… I can’t even put it into words,” she said. “It was amazing.”
According to Aitchinson, a number of tips led police to find Ottis at an apartment.
Although there are few details about what exactly took place, Aitchinson said she is grateful to have her companion back.