STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — Outside an undisclosed 10-acre wooded lot in Strongsville, Vanessa Petrosky excitedly holds a brown bag from McDonald's, full of hot french fries, chicken nuggets, and a hamburger without onions.
"Oh they love this stuff. I often get KFC, but this works too," she said, before spreading out bits of food around and inside a large animal trap, intended for the humane capture of a lost Siberian Husky that's been missing for more than 2 days.
Petrosky is the founder of Remi's Pet Recovery, a non-profit organization based in Brook Park. Its mission is the humane and safe capture, rehabilitation, and adoption of stray dogs, and to help reunite pet owners with their lost dogs.
The 4-year-old Husky unexpectedly jumped a fence last weekend, and with no shelter and no readily available food, the dog's owner is growing more concerned by the day.
"It's also winter," said owner Todd Dittman. "There's only an extent as to how long she can be out. Fortunately she has access to water in a creek that's nearby."
The search has captured the attention of area neighbors, who have been sharing sightings and updates on social media. While their help is well-intentioned, Petrosky urges people not to approach the dog or call out the dog's name, which is why 3News has decided not to disclose the name of the elusive pup.
"[Lost dogs] go into a different mindset, and now it's 'survival mode,' as they call it," she explained. "It saw family members yesterday, and it just took off. Dogs this skittish are really challenging and hard to get, so the more people that know where the dog is, the dog is not going to come." Instead, Petrosky asks for people to contact her directly to share a recent sighting, instead of posting specific locations on social media.
Next to the freshly-baited trap, there is a trail camera that snaps images when it senses movement, and provides Petrosky with notifications on her smartphone.
Hours after baiting the trap, and in the dark of night, Petrosky got a notification late Monday night. There it was -- the lost, cold, and hungry Husky gobbling up bits of McDonald's on the ground around the cage. But after ten minutes of snacking, the dog left. However, Petrosky is thrilled that the dog appears interested, and she plans to bait the trap in the morning with a more tempting treat -- sausages.
When patience does pay off, the feeling for Petrosky is priceless. "When I can get the dog returned to the owner, it makes it all worth it. It's awesome," she said.
For more information on Remi's Pet Recovery, and how you can help the non-profit organization, you can visit its Facebook page here.