Ruby, the lifeguard police dog that appears in the Netflix film, is euthanized: “A symbol of hope for all shelter dogs”

A Rhode Island dog whose inspiring story of going from shelter dog to life-saving K-9 cop became the subject of a recent Netflix movie has been euthanized.

State police said Sunday that K-9 Ruby was euthanized Friday after a “sudden, acute and untreatable illness.” She was 11 years old.

State Police Superintendent Col. Darnell Weaver expressed his gratitude for K-9 Ruby’s years of service.

We are saddened to announce the passing of K-9 Ruby following a sudden, acute and untreatable illness. Ruby was rescued…

Posted by the Rhode Island State Police on Sunday, May 15, 2022

“K-9 Ruby dedicated her life to serving the citizens of Rhode Island and making a positive impact on every person she interacted with,” she said in a statement. “She became a symbol of hope for all shelter dogs, showing the world what a shelter dog can do when she is given love and a chance to shine.”

Ruby served in the Rhode Island State Police for 11 years and was commanded by Corporal Daniel O’Neil, Weaver said.

Part Australian Shepherd and part Border Collie, Ruby was one of the first shelter dogs trained to serve in the Rhode Island State Police. He participated in numerous search and rescue missions and made many public appearances during his career.

Ruby gained notoriety in 2017 when she tracked down a teenager who was seriously injured while hiking in the woods. The boy turned out to be the son of the animal shelter volunteer who had fought to keep her from being euthanized.

“She was a knucklehead,” Patricia Inman, a shelter volunteer and dog trainer, told The Associated Press of Ruby, who had been returned by five families for being too boisterous before O’Neil adopted the eight-year-old. months in 2011.

Ruby earned national recognition for the rescue: The American Humane Hero Dog organization named her the nation’s “Search and Rescue Dog of the Year,” and her story was made into the 2022 Netflix movie “Rescued by Ruby.”

“He had a full, happy, wonderful life, not just as a soldier, but as part of a loving family,” Weaver said. “He worked until the end and never stopped doing what he loved most: making people smile.”

Ruby lived with O’Neil and her family and will be honored privately, police said.

“He was given a chance and he’s been doing everything he can to give it back,” O’Neil said earlier this year. “You have this dog who was abandoned and has changed a lot of people’s lives.”

Despite her lauded search-and-rescue career, Ruby’s mischievous spirit was irrepressible: three years ago, she ran away near a state park and turned up safe and sound after a 19-hour search. Most recently, she came back from going to the bathroom with a live skunk squirming and spraying on her jaws.

The antics were part of what made Ruby, well, Ruby. Above all, she was a good dog.

“If you show them love and compassion and give them some kind of stability, they will show their true colors,” O’Neil had said.

Film rescued by Ruby
Ruby, a K-9 who works for the Rhode Island State Police and an ex-shelterer, returns to her partner, State Police Cpl. Daniel O’Neil, outside the barracks in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, on Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

Carlos Krupa / AP


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