PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — A Rhode Island dog whose inspiring story of growing from shelter dog to K-9 rescue police was the subject of a recent Netflix movie has been euthanized.
State police said Sunday that K-9 Ruby was shot Friday following a “sudden, acute and incurable illness.” She was 11 years old.
State Police Superintendent Col. Darnell Weaver expressed his gratitude for K-9 Ruby’s years of service.
“K-9 Ruby has dedicated her life to serving the citizens of Rhode Island and positively impacting everyone she interacts with,” he said in a statement. “She has become a beacon of hope for all shelter dogs, showing the world what a shelter dog can do when given just love and the chance to shine.”
Ruby served with the Rhode Island State Police for 11 years and was cared for by Corporal Daniel O’Neil, Weaver said.
Part Australian Shepherd, part Border Collie, Ruby was one of the first shelter dogs trained to serve with the Rhode Island State Police. She has participated in many search and rescue missions and made many public appearances during her career.
Ruby rose to notoriety in 2017 when she located a seriously injured teenager while hiking in the woods. The boy turned out to be the son of the animal shelter volunteer who had fought to save him from being shot.
“She was a real jerk,” volunteer dog trainer Patricia Inman told The Associated Press of Ruby, who was fired by five families for being too rambunctious before O’Neil adopted the then eight-month-old child in 2011.
Ruby has earned national recognition for rescuing – the US organization Humane Hero Dog named her the nation’s “Search and Rescue Dog of the Year” – and her story was incorporated into the 2022 Netflix film “Rescued by Ruby”.
“She had a full, happy, wonderful life, not just as a soldier, but with a loving family,” Weaver said. “She worked until the end and never gave up on doing what she loved the most: making people smile.”
Ruby lived with O’Neil and his family and will be honored privately, police said.
“She was given a chance and she’s doing everything she can to pay it back,” O’Neil said earlier this year. “You have this dog that was abandoned, and she changed the lives of so many people.”
Despite her lauded career in search and rescue, Ruby’s mischievous spirit was unstoppable: Three years ago, she ran away near a state park, ending up safe after a 19-minute search. hours. More recently, she returned from a bathroom break with a live skunk writhing – and pulverizing – in her jaws.
The antics were part of what made Ruby, well, Ruby. Above all, he was a good dog.
“If you show them love and compassion and give them some kind of stability, they’ll show their true colors,” O’Neil had said.