Ruby the Rescue Dog Passes Away, 2 Months After 'Rescued by Ruby' Premieres on Netflix

Sophie Hirsh - Author

May 16 2022, Published 11:33 a.m. ET

Rescued by Ruby dog
Source: Rhode Island State Police, Netflix

Ruby the rescue dog lived a tumultuous-turned-inspiring life; but sadly, her time on Earth has come to an end. Ruby, who was the basis for the recent Netflix movie Rescued by Ruby, has passed away at the age of 11.5.

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According to a news release by the Rhode Island State Police, Ruby, an Australian Shepard-Border Collie mix, was euthanized on Friday, May 13, after contracting a “sudden, acute, and untreatable illness.” Ruby spent most of her life working with the State Police as a K9 search and rescue dog, and the department is mourning her loss.

“Today the Rhode Island State Police family is mourning the death of K-9 Ruby,” Colonel Darnell Weaver, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, said in a statement. “Her award-winning rescue inspired us and we are grateful for her years of service.”

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“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,” he added. “She had a full, happy, and wonderful life, not only as a trooper, but as part of a loving family. She worked right until the end and never gave up doing what she loved most — making people smile.”

All that being said, Ruby’s story was not always so glamorous.

Rescued by Ruby Netflix
Source: Ricardo Hubbs/Netflix © 2021

Grant Gustin as Daniel O’Neil in 'Rescued by Ruby.'

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Ruby the rescue dog's story proves how important it is to never give up on a rescue dog.

When Ruby was a puppy of only 4 months old, her guardians surrendered her to the Rhode Island SPCA, claiming she was “unmanageable,” as detailed by American Humane. And unfortunately, it took a while for Ruby to find her forever home, as Ruby was adopted and subsequently returned to the shelter by a total of five families. (Though in Rescued by Ruby, it’s seven families!)

Fortunately for Ruby, she had shelter worker Patricia Inman on her side. Inman heard that Rhode Island’s police department was looking for another search and rescue dog, so she reached out. And even though police dogs are typically bred and trained from a young age for their careers, the department's Daniel O’Neil gave Ruby a shot.

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He took her into his home, trained her, and the department eventually appointed her an official search and rescue dog — making her one of the very first shelter dogs to serve the Rhode Island State Police.

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And it was a good thing that O’Neil took a chance on Ruby. One day, Inman’s son was declared missing, and Ruby was able to follow his scent through local hiking trails, where she found him in critical condition. Thanks to Ruby’s detective skills, Inman’s son was brought to the hospital and was able to recover. Let’s call that Ruby’s way of saying thank you to Inman for never giving up on her.

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Ruby lived with O’Neil and his family until her passing, and the family will be honoring Ruby’s life in private, according to the Rhode Island State Police’s news release.

Ruby’s story was introduced to numerous viewers in March 2022 when Rescued by Ruby premiered on Netflix. Her tale is an important reminder to adopt, don’t shop, and to never give up on a rescue dog.

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