Spoiler Alert: Christmas miracle brings Brian Griffin back to Stewie on 'Family Guy'

(Daily Mail) After fans grew outraged over the death of Brian Griffin last month, Family Guy has brought the beloved canine back to life.

On Sunday night's Christmas special the Fox cartoon resurrected the intellectual dog with the aid of a time traveling Stewie.

Series creator Seth MacFarlane tweeted after the holiday episode aired to thank viewers for 'caring so much about the canine Griffin'.

On November 25 Brian was killed by a car and by the next episode he was promptly replaced by another family dog named Vinny.

The new pup was voiced by Sopranos alum Tony Sirico whose tough talking ways was a jarring departure from the effete and erudite Brian.

But fans quickly got the martini loving pooch back after more than 150,000 people signed an online petition to revive the beloved character.

Entertainment Weekly previously reported that the network was refusing to confirm if the character was coming back, but next year's series rundown shows the dog has a role.

In the episode description, it says: 'Stewie devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas.'

The website reported: 'How exactly Brian - who is voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane - will re-emerge from the land of the dead is unknown, but he will continue to play a role on the show.

'In an episode slated to run next fall, for example, he becomes enamored with an avid runner, played by Maya Rudolph.'

In the Christmas special that aired on Sunday night Brian is indeed resurrected as Stewie Griffin is heartsick over losing his 11-year-old best friend.

He then uses a time machine to travel back to the moment just prior to Brian's tragic death.

Cutting back to the past we see Stewie and Brian walking outside to enjoy a game of street hockey completely ignorant of the bloody spectacle awaiting them.

The past Stewie can be heard saying: 'Hey Brian I'm just putting this out there but I'm a baby and only d**** don't let babies win.'

Ignoring the tot, Brian exclaims: 'God look at this day. You know usually I'd be inside writing and you'd be working on some sort of machine. But here we are enjoying it.'

Stewie then goes back inside to get his knee pads and at that very moment future Stewie arrives through a portal to rescue Brian.

As future Stewie materializes on the sidewalk a car comes hurtling towards Brian who is standing in the middle of the street completely unaware - a moment now familiar to fans who watched in horror as he died a few weeks ago.

But this time Stewie tackles Brian from the oncoming car.

After body checking the canine, the tot is overcome with joy as he says, 'You're alive, my friend.'

Brian says bewildered: 'What the h*** do you mean? Of course I'm alive.'

But Stewie patiently explains: 'Brian that car killed you and when it did a little part of me died as well. I couldn't live without you. So I came back from the future to save your life.'

Overcome with gratitude Brian exclaims: 'Wow Stewie, thank you for saving my life.'

But then in a meta-nod to the last few weeks of plot on the series, Brian says: 'You know a lot of other families would have just gotten a new dog and moved on.'

Stewie then says self-consciously: 'Oh, we could never do something like that Brian.'

Although the moment is short-lived as Stewie begins to disappear as the timeline he comes from is erased now that Brian is alive.

In the final moments before he evaporates entirely Stewie says: 'Merry Christmas Brian.'

After the episode aired MacFarlane tweeted: 'And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash.'

He then suggested that the death of Brian may have just been a bid for a ratings boost: 'I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be f****** high.'

But he quickly added: 'Oh and hey thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude.'