Lights, camera, bark!
A new four-legged action star just came Netflix. Rescued by Ruby, which premiered March 17th, tells the true story of a rescue dog who became a hero police dog.
Rescued by Ruby, the Netflix feature from writer Karen Janszen (A Walk to Remember) and starring Grant Gustin (CW’s The Flash) and Scott Wolf (CW’s Nancy Drew) follows Rhode Island state trooper Dan in his dream of joining the state police K-9 search and rescue, and a shelter dog who made it happen.
After being rejected 7 times, Dan has one last chance to qualify for the Search and Rescue program when he learns that the K-9 unit has run short of funds. With the program lacking the budget to bring in any more German Shepherds, the breed usually used in search and rescue teams, Dan decides to adopt a shelter dog named Ruby to train her himself to become a part of the Rhode Island k-9 Search and Rescue team. Rescued by Ruby follows the successes and failures of a man and dog, working together to succeed after many attempts to prove they’re more than a seven-time failure and an “un-adoptable” dog.
The actual story begins in Rhode Island as well, at the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where the energetic dog had been returned five times due to her hard-to-manage behavior. Ruby was in danger of euthanization if not for shelter volunteer Patricia Inman, who continued training the dog and working to find her the ideal forever home. When Corporal Dan O’Neil, then a Rhode Island State Trooper, showed up looking for a dog to train for the Rhode Island State Police K9 Unit, he was in for a challenge.
“I tried out for the K9 Unit for several years and just kept getting passed over. Then Ruby came into my life in 2011. She was the first shelter dog to ever get adopted and put into police work in the Rhode Island State Police,” O’Neil, now the Rhode Island State Police K-9 Unit Coordinator, explained. “She was aggressive, food aggressive. She was very protective of herself because she had never been in a stable environment.”
But Ruby thrived in a training environment and after working with O’Neil for a year, Ruby passed her “human remains detection class” and passed “with flying colors,” followed by passing a search and rescue class shortly after. In 2012, Ruby became a certified state trooper with the Rhode Island State Police with her partner Dan O’Neil, now Rhode Island State Police K-9 Unit Coordinator
“It was quite a feat because this is the dog that wouldn’t even sit for five seconds. To pass the test, I had to have her minimally sit for five minutes,” O’Neil said.
Ruby’s origin story would be enough to inspire a feature film on its own but her story is nowhere near complete. In 2017, Dan O’Neil received a call from Rhode Island’s Gloucester Police Department, requesting assistance locating a boy missing for over 36 hours. After six hours of searching, Ruby located the missing boy, staying at the boy’s side with O’Neil until rescuers arrived to take the child to the hospital.
But there was another twist.
Ruby and O’Neil were shocked to discover that Patricia Inman, the shelter volunteer who never gave up on Ruby, was none other than the missing boy’s mother.
“She started to cry. I started to cry,” O’Neil said. ”Even six years after not seeing her, Ruby was wagging her tail and jumping up on Pat, giving her kisses,” the corporal added. “I told Pat, ‘Pat, this was Ruby’s way of saying thank you for giving her a chance.’”
And with that chance, Ruby the “un-adoptable” shelter dog who became a K-9 Search and Rescue officer, now has a movie all about her story. Rescued by Ruby will hopefully inspire other potential fosters and adopters to not give up on the difficult cases. After-all, even the most challenging dog could be a four-legged hero in waiting.