Television's most-watched German shepherd (sorry, Rin Tin Tin) is finally going home, thanks to the hard work of rescue crews and, now, YouTube.
The pooch rose to stardom last Friday when he was trapped in the rising Los Angeles River in Vernon. The rescue was broadcast and livestreamed across LA's media outlets, and the video found its way to YouTube. Animal shelter workers nicknamed him Vernon, after the city where he was rescued -- although his actual name, we now know, is Spikey.
Spikey's human family searched around their neighborhood for the dog, but didn't have any luck until a family member spent some time browsing YouTube, said Ramon Medina, the dog owner's son.
"Somebody from the family noticed that the dog was on YouTube, and that's how we finally figured out that was the dog, " Medina said.
The family contacted officials at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority on Monday to claim the dog, officials said.
"We've interviewed him at the animal care center, we've gone to his house, interviewed neighbors, verified dog license and vaccination records," said SEAACA director of operations Captain Aaron Reyes. "Vernon went nuts when he saw him. His whole demeanor changed -- like he found a long lost friend."
Spikey/Vernon will be release as early as next Tuesday, after he is cleared from his quarantine, said Reyes.
Spikey's older brother, a yellow lab named Polo, also had a run-in with rescue crews last week. The dog was found loose Saturday in the same area where Spikey was rescued, and is also being held in an animal control facility.
"Maybe he was looking for Vernon/Spikey," Reyes said. "We don't know."
Officials believe young children may have left the gates open at their grandmother's home, allowing the dogs to escape.
"Polo will be released when the property inspection ... is completed, which can be as early as Friday," said Reyes.
Shelter officials said many people had called to ask about adopting Spikey. They say many other animals are still in need of a home.