Mighty Joe Young is safe now, but it made for a harrowing video.
dog rescued from gorilla enclosure with officer who saved him
Credit: Courtesy of San Diego Humane Society

After some casual trespassing and a close encounter with a gorilla, a San Diego pupper is now looking for a forever home that can cater to his sense of adventure.

This story begins on Sunday when the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reported two loose dogs within the park grounds. While it's not immediately apparent what happened to one of the dogs, the second, an energetic German shepherd mix, entered the zoo's gorilla habitat—directly into potential danger.

In the video, originally posted to Instagram by San Diego realtor Ryan Judson and shared to TikTok by ABC News, the doggo races across the enclosure, gorillas in close pursuit. About 20 seconds into the video, all the animals stop running. The pup looked at the people across the crevasse separating the enclosure from the public as the gorillas were content to keep a close eye on him from a distance. People shouted out to the dog in an attempt to get him to follow their voices to safety. One minute in, however, the pup takes off running again, which sends one of the gorillas, a silverback, back into chase mode.

While it's hard to tell what the gorilla is thinking, there's no doubt the primate could have inflicted a huge amount of damage on the much smaller dog if he had gotten within arm's reach. Finally, after a tense couple of minutes, the pup moves away from the gorillas.

"He is incredibly lucky that he did not get any injuries from his encounters with the gorillas," San Diego Humane Society humane officer Samantha Clark said in a video.

Zoo workers were able to remove the primates from the enclosure and allowed three humane officers, Clark included, to enter and secure a lead to the adventurous pup's neck.

"The dog was very easy and sweet," Clark said.

After the harrowing trip to the zoo, the 1-year-old dog was transported back to the humane society's Escondido campus. He had no collar or microchip, but the humane society's veterinarian found him to be in good shape—minus a few ticks. He also received all his necessary vaccinations.

Currently, the pupper—who the humane officers named Mighty Joe Young—is on a four-day stray hold in case there's a family looking for him. If nobody steps forward, the humane society says he'll be scheduled for neuter surgery before he can go up for adoption.

Should that happen, I'm sure he'll draw plenty of interest, thanks to his unique story. Just make sure you get him a good leash and a zoo pass so he can stop sneaking in.