Hero Shelter Dog Who Saved Lifeguard’s Son As Rhode Island Canine Police Get His Own Movie


Ruby the rescue dog

Courtesy of Dan O’Neil

Ruby the hero dog is about to become a movie star.

The rescue dog’s life story is the basis of the new Netflix movie, Saved by Rubypremiering on March 17. The film will follow the dog’s remarkable journey from his pet shelter to being shot by the heroic K9 police.

“Our hope, our prayer honestly, is that people see the movie and go out and adopt a shelter dog, said Louise DuArt, one of the Saved by Rubythe executive producers of SQuire Rushnell – told PEOPLE.

To ensure that rescue pets were central to their film, DuArt and Rushnell tapped talented shelter dogs to star as Ruby in the new Netflix movie. In Saved by Rubythe titular hero is played by two rescue dogs, Bear and Shiloh, a bonded couple adopted from a shelter by the film’s animal trainers.

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“There really is an incredible parallel between the dogs,” Rushnell said of the film’s stars and Ruby, all dogs who were once at risk of being put down.

Ruby’s story begins at the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where the energetic dog was fired five times after being adopted due to her difficult-to-manage behavior. Luckily, even after several false starts, shelter volunteer Patricia Inman remained dedicated to Ruby, training the dog and working to find her the perfect forever home so Ruby wouldn’t be euthanized.

Home Forever ended up being with Corporal Dan O’Neil, then a Rhode Island State Trooper, who was looking for a dog to train for a place in the Rhode State Police K9 unit. Island.

“I tried for the K9 unit for several years and kept getting overlooked. Then Ruby came into my life in 2011. She was the first shelter dog to be adopted and assigned to the Rhode Island State Police.” O’Neil, now coordinator of the Rhode Island State Police’s K-9 unit, said.

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Ruby the rescue dog

Ruby the rescue dog

Courtesy of Dan O’Neil

“She was aggressive, food aggressive. She was very protective because she had never been in a stable environment,” he added of the obstacles he helped Ruby overcome during their first months together.

Thanks to O’Neil and Iman’s faith in her, Ruby began to thrive. After working on her behavior with O’Neil for a year, Ruby took a human remains detection course and passed “with flying colors”, according to her partner, and then passed a search and rescue course shortly after. after. In 2012, Ruby became a Certified State Trooper with the Rhode Island State Police.

“It was quite an achievement because it was the dog that wouldn’t even sit for five seconds. To pass the test, I had to have her sit for a minimum of five minutes,” O’Neil said.

Ruby the rescue dog

Ruby the rescue dog

Courtesy of Dan O’Neil

No one knew then how Ruby would pay it to the shelter worker who had saved her life. In 2017, O’Neil received a call from the Gloucester Police Department of Rhode Island asking for help locating a boy who had been missing for over 36 hours.

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After six hours of searching, Ruby located the missing boy and stayed by his side with O’Neil until rescuers came to take the child to the hospital.

Once the boy was on his way to safety, Ruby and O’Neil met the child’s family and were shocked to find that Iman, the shelter volunteer who never gave Ruby up, was the mother. of the missing boy.

“She started crying. I started crying,” O’Neil said of his and Iman’s reactions to realizing Ruby had saved her rescuer.

“Even six years after not seeing her, Ruby was wagging her tail and jumping on Pat, giving her kisses,” the corporal added. “I said to Pat, ‘Pat, that was Ruby’s way of saying thank you for giving her a chance.'”

Ruby the rescue dog

Ruby the rescue dog

Courtesy of Dan O’Neil

Saved by Rubdive into this touching story and celebrate what a rescue dog can do when given the opportunity to shine. Ruby still shines today, well into her 11th year as a Rhode Island State Police trooper.

“There’s no end in sight for her. She can still run for hours and hours. She’s just amazing. She just won’t give up,” O’Neil said.

“It’s this little mutt that continues to kick today,” he added.

For more on Ruby and her turbulent life, watch Rescued by Ruby, premiering on Netflix March 17.

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