A Saanich man says he’s ecstatic to have his dogs back home after they were stolen outside a grocery store over the weekend.

The dog owner tied his pets, a wolf/coyote dog named Biggs and a German shepherd named Arrow, outside the Save-On-Foods on Shelbourne Street.

John Heslop says he tied them to a handrail on Saturday around 6:30 p.m. as he had done a number of times in the past.

Before going inside, he noticed a man petting Biggs and Arrow and says he had a bad feeling.

He returned less than 10 minutes later and the dogs were gone.

“Once he came back out he immediately thought of that individual and sure enough a witness did confirm that fellow had untied the dogs and run off with them,” said Saanich Police Sgt. Chris Horsley.

Thanks to searches by police and people in Heslop’s neighbourhood, Biggs was spotted wandering around the University of Victoria area and returned Sunday morning.

“They are our babies, we love them,” he said.

Hours later Arrow was found by campus security tied to a pole near the MacLaurin building.

“I can’t describe the emotion, it’s just like overwhelming,” Heslop said. “It really is like having your kids returned.”

Police say people tie their pets up all the time and to have them stolen is a rare occurrence.

The man police are looking for is described as Caucasian, roughly 25-years-old, about 5’8”, has a thin build, dark hair and no facial hair. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans, dark sunglasses and possibly a lumberjack jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Saanich police at 250-475-4321.

With files from CTV Vancouver Island's Yvonne Raymond