Her pets are Nichole Martovitz's "children," she says, and now one of them has been stolen

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CLEVELAND -- A show dog worth thousands of dollars has disappeared from outside its Cleveland home.

Her pets are Nichole Martovitz's "children," she says, and now one of them has been stolen.

Nichole is not just an animal lover, but a veterinary technician who breeds and trains Brussels Griffon dogs for shows.

"I literally sacrificed everything I have for these guys. It will never be a business to me," she said. "To me, this is always going to be a life."

Eight of her dogs were out in her fenced-in yard around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when she heard the gate open. When she came back outside, she had to call to her neighbor to help her corral them.

"When I finally did the final head count, there was one missing, Zaychik," she said.

Zaychik, a 2-1/2-year-old Brussels Griffon, was adopted from Russia and was just two months away from his first competition. Nichole says he's tattooed on his inner thigh with his lineage, and he's worth about $20,000.

"I had waited many years to get the right, the right dog, the right build, the right shape, the right bone structure, the right face, it took literally almost four years to get the right dog. And this was him. And we've been training all this time," she said.

She's filed a police report and called area shelters, and she's posting flyers around the neighborhood.

One of the neighbors helping Nichole search for Zaychik talked to a witness who saw a man with the dog at the RTA station on East 55th Street. When someone approached him about the animal, he is said to have taken off toward Kinsman.

WKYC talked to people at the Rapid station and contacted RTA about surveillance video. A spokesperson says they are processing our request.

"This video might be the only thing we have to finding him," said Martovitz.

She lives paycheck to paycheck but is offering a reward to whoever can bring Zaychik home.

"I just have to hope that somebody, whoever took him, has got the right intentions in their heart and just wants to bring him back," she said. "Just please give me back my child."

Zaychik is a reddish-brown color with a darker beard and weighs about 10 pounds.

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