Tearjerker: Netflix Star And K-9 Dog Euthanized

By Jacob Taylor | Sunday, 22 May 2022 16:45
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A Rhode Island dog, whose inspiring story of shifting from shelter dog to lifesaving police K-9 became the subject of a recent Netflix film has been put to sleep.

State Police reported that Sunday K-9 Ruby had to be put down Friday following a “sudden, acute, and untreatable illness.” She was 11 years old. Col. Darnell Weaver, superintendent of the state police, expressed gratitude for K-9 Ruby’s years of service.

“K-9 Ruby dedicated her life to serve the citizens of Rhode Island and make a positive impact on every person she ever interacted with,” he expressed in a statement. “She became a symbol of hope for all shelter dogs, showing the world what a shelter dog can do when just given love and the chance to shine.” Ruby served with the Rhode Island State Police for 11 years and was handled by Corporal Daniel O’Neil, Weaver noted. Part Australian shepherd and part border collie, Ruby was one of the first shelter dogs trained to serve with the Rhode Island State Police. She participated in multiple search-and-rescue missions and made many public appearances throughout her career.

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Ruby gained notoriety in 2017 when she discovered a teenage boy who was severely injured while hiking in the woods. The boy, as it soon turned out, was the son of the animal shelter volunteer who had fought to keep her from being put down. “She was a total knucklehead,” shelter volunteer and dog trainer Patricia Inman had told The Associated Press of Ruby, who had been returned by five families for being too rambunctious before O’Neil adopted the then-eight-month-old in 2011.

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

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“She had a full, happy, and wonderful life, not only as a trooper, but as part of a loving family,” Weaver said. “She worked right until the end and never gave up doing what she loved most — making people smile.” Ruby lived with O’Neil and his family and will be honored privately, police revealed. “She was given a chance and she’s been doing everything she can to pay it back,” O’Neil said earlier this year. “You have this dog that was given up on, and she’s changed so many people’s lives.”

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Despite her lauded search-and-rescue career, Ruby’s mischievous spirit was irrepressible: Three years ago, she bolted near a state park, turning up safe and sound after a 19-hour search.

Rhode Island State Police said at the time that Ruby ran off near Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick earlier in the day. Col. Ann Assumpico says the Australian shepherd and border collie mix disappeared near Ives Street. She didn’t say what Ruby was doing there.

More recently, she returned from a bathroom break with a live skunk writhing — and spraying — in her jaws.

Above all, Ruby was a good dog. “If you show them love and compassion and you give them a certain type of stability, they’ll show their true colors,” O’Neil had said.

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