The dog pulled from the rain-swollen Los Angeles River a week ago has been reclaimed by his owners after they recognized him in a video of the dramatic rescue on YouTube.
The dog, dubbed Vernon after he was pulled from the river by a firefighter dropped from a helicopter, is actually named Spikey. His family had searched their neighborhood in Maywood for him, but found him on the computer.
“Somebody from the family noticed that the dog was on YouTube, and that’s how we finally figured out that was the dog, ” said Ramon Medina, son of the dog’s elderly owner.
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 will be released as early as next Tuesday, after he is cleared from his quarantine, NBC in Los Angeles reported.
Spikey’s older brother, a yellow lab named Polo, also escaped from the home last week and was found loose Saturday in the same area where Spikey was rescued. Polo is also being held in an animal control facility. Officials believe young children may have left the gates open at their grandmother’s home, allowing the dogs to escape.
“Maybe he was looking for Vernon/Spikey,” Reyes said. “We don’t know.”