CLEVELAND -- Four days after pup Zaychik disappeared, Nichole Martovitz got a lead that brought her to the CMHA police.
"On Sunday, I told myself that was it. He wasn't coming back and here he is," she said. After all the flyers and phone calls, officers there had helped to find her stolen show dog.
"It seemed like I could not get here fast enough," said Martovitz.
Zaychik is one of dozen Brussels Griffon dogs Nichole loves and trains. He went missing from her fenced in yard last Wednesday.
She isn't sure where he's been, but his beard has been cut – maybe to disguise him -- and a vet check-up found an unknown object in his stomach.
"We're going to see if we can avoid surgery. See what's going on in there," she said of the ailment. "If he never makes it in the ring because of all of this, I don't care. I don't care. I know he would have loved it because he just likes to show off, but he's my baby first and foremost."
She did have to pay out a reward of $200 for the dog, worth $20,000 she says.
Rhonda Schwendeman says sometimes dog nappers are thinking of that reward money from the start.
"It makes your dog stealable, I need some money so I'm going to steal your dog and just wait," she said. "If they don't they start puppy flipping them, they sell them on Craigslist."
She sees it happen across Northeast Ohio, and it's part of the reason she's trying to build a complete network on Facebook, Lost Dogs Ohio, to help make it easier to find a missing pet through flyer templates, help canvasing neighborhoods and online communities as well.
"It's such a good feeling to get them back together. They love their dog. They are part of the family," said Schwendeman.
Her advice: keep your pets microchipped, that number registered, keep their licences up to date and keep them collared at all times.
When you're pet goes missing like Zaychik, it's reaching out to the right people – even police – that can help.
"It leaves you speechless that there are still good people in the world," said Martovitz.
A Cleveland Police spokesperson advised protect your pet as you would protect other valued possessions.