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Spikey, dog rescued from flooded L.A. River during rainstorm, is reunited with owner

February 2, 2010 |  1:42 pm

Maria Medina and Ramon Medina get their Spikey back as Senior animal care 

technician Stephanie Webster says goodbye as Spikey, the German Sheperd rescued 

by the Fire Department during the recent heavy rains, is reunited with his 

owners at the Seaaca Animal Care and Control in Downey

Spikey, the lucky dog rescued from the flooded L.A. River during heavy rains Jan. 22, has been returned to his owners. The 4-year-old German shepherd mix had been under quarantine at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority shelter in Downey since shortly after he was pulled from the river to monitor him for signs of rabies after he bit the firefighter who saved him.

Animal control authorities presented Spikey to his owner, Maria Medina, and her family in a ceremony Tuesday. Although he hadn't acted aggressively since the Jan. 22 incident, Spikey was muzzled for the occasion.

Spikey and Medina's other dog, a Labrador retriever named Polo, apparently escaped her backyard when her grandchildren left a gate open. Polo was found wandering loose on the day Spikey was rescued from the river and was impounded by animal control officials, who agreed to return him to Medina's care once she cleaned up her backyard.

A family friend reclaimed Spikey at the SEAACA shelter last week on Medina's behalf, but the dog remained at the shelter for several additional days.

When the friend arrived at the shelter, Spikey "just went crazy, his tail flapping," the organization's director of operations, Aaron Reyes, told our sister blog L.A. Now. "We see it all the time: Gosh, he really knows this guy."

The firefighter, Joe St. Georges, suffered a fractured thumb and lost a fingernail during the dramatic river rescue, which was broadcast live on many TV news stations. He told reporters that he didn't blame the dog, however, because "[he's] cold, he's wet, he's scared, and then here's this stranger jumping on his back for all intents and purposes, and he did what dogs do."

Photo gallery: Dog rescue in L.A. River

-- Lindsay Barnett

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Photo: Maria Medina and Ramon Medina look on as animal care technician Stephanie Webster says goodbye to Spikey during a ceremony Feb. 2. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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