Family Guy fans are celebrating after the hit US television show resurrected Brian the dog, a main character since the series' 1999 launch who was apparently killed off last month.
The show's creator Seth MacFarlane joked about the plot twist on Twitter, after Brian Griffin returned in an episode aired Sunday night in the United States.
"And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash," he wrote.
"I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be ... high," he added, using an expletive.
Brian died after being hit by a car in an episode which aired November 24, entitled Life of Brian, triggering an online petition and a flood of comments on social media including a Facebook page "RIP Brian Griffin from Family Guy".
The Griffin family replaced him with a new dog called Vinny - who in Sunday's episode helped revive Brian in a storyline involving time travel by Stewie, the posh English-accented infant of the family.
When Stewie saves Brian from being hit by the car, the dog says: "Thank you for saving my life," adding: "A lot of other families would have just gotten another dog and moved on."
Fellow cult animated show The Simpsons has said that one of its characters will die during the current 25th season, which premiered in September, triggering a surge of laments and speculation about who will go in Springfield.