He’s named after Rust-Oleum paint, thanks to his new “graffiti nerd” owner.

A little (quite dirty) dog has a new home and gained some TikTok clout along the way.

The story starts when Micheal Vega, a San Francisco-based graphic designer and self-professed "graffiti nerd," was out doing some urban exploring along a series of storm drains. The area, as Vega explains in a follow-up video, is a well-known dumping ground for trash as well as more exotic items ranging from car keys to weapons. It's also a much-used location for graffiti artists, which is what attracts Vega to the area on his walks. But on his most recent excursion, Vega found much more than old cans and street art.

a little dog stuck in an urban tunnel right before being rescued
Credit: Courtesy of mvargas.art / Tiktok

"You're not gonna believe what I found urban exploring," the opening caption reads on a video posted Jan. 3. From there, we follow the camera up a stream of water to a drain hole in one of the walls, where the camera pans to show a little white dog, curled up inside a storm drain.

In the video, which has 11.5 million views as of this writing, the dog—who appears to be a Morkie—is lured out of the drain by the promise of food, as the video captions posit that he's been down there for days. As Vega lifts the small dog out of the wall opening, he and the person shooting the video comment on how bad the dirty little pupper smells before placing him inside a plastic bag for easy transport.

Vaga took the doggo to the veterinarian where he was looked over and, according to the video, "given medicine." After the exam, where the vet placed the pup's age at about 3 months, Vega took the little guy home and cleaned him up. Judging by the follow-up videos posted to Vega's Tiktok account, the dog, now named Rusty (after Rust-Oleum paint), seems to be friendly and happy and doing well. 

Vega explains the vet checked Rusty for a microchip, finding none, and that he'd looked around the neighborhood and online for any missing dog information and come up empty. So now Vega intends to give the little Morkie the happy home he deserves, which includes using his graphic design skills to make a little custom-made swag.