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A man who went on a walk down a canal and was shocked to find a helpless dog trapped in a drain.
TikTok user and artist @mvargas.art from California goes urban exploring as a hobby and told followers "you're not going to believe what I found" in a video he shared on Monday (January 3).
As he treks down the canal in rubber boots, he spots a scruffy-looking puppy trapped in one of the drains that feed into the waterway.
The dog is surrounded by litter and poo and the man comments he "smells so bad".
Luring out the puppy with some food, the TikToker and a friend manage to put him in a carrier bag and take him to the vet to be examined.
"I took him straight to the vet, got him cleaned up, and got him some medicine," he explains.
Back home, the approximately three-month-old puppy already seems so much better and starts to explore and play, wagging his tail and coming up to his new owner for pets
"I'd like to introduce Rusty my new puppy," the TikToker writes.
The clip was watched more than 8 million times and received 1.6 million "likes" and thousands of comments.
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One viewer said: "Thank you so much for rescuing him and even more for keeping him! Hope this will be an amazing year for you.
A second user commented: "The amount of dogs that are in terrible situations breaks my heart.
"I'm glad this one had a good ending. You're a good man."
"He looks like a little Maltese Yorkie mix so cute," gushed someone else.
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A few people were negative about the story and said the dog could belong to somebody even if he doesn't have a microchip.
In a follow-up video, the TikToker responded to some of the "hate" he'd received for saving the dog.
He explained the canal is in a rough neighbourhood and said weapons and even a dead body have been dumped in the water.
"When we found Rusty his belly was extremely matted, his nails were very long, he has some sort of trauma because his eyes are red, we don't know if he was strangled…
"Nobody cared for this dog or if they did they were probably abusing him."
He said all the dog shelters he rang were completely full which meant Rusty would have been put to sleep if sent there.
"I'm saving this dog, y'all can kiss my ass," he said.
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