Netflix star Ruby the rescue dog dies of sudden illness after heroic life serving Rhode Island

K-9 Ruby the rescue dog who inspired Netflix's Rescued by Ruby film
(Image credit: Facebook / @RhodeIslandStatePolice)

Netflix star and celebrated K-9 Ruby the rescue dog has sadly died after a short illness it has been revealed. The courageous pup had to be euthanized on May 13 following what has been described by the Rhode Island State Police as a “sudden, acute, and untreatable illness.”

Having lived the ultimate hero's journey, Ruby’s earlier days were marred with struggle after she was surrendered to the Rhode Island SPCA by her family at just four months of age after she was deemed unmanageable.

From there Ruby bounced between the shelter and multiple temporary homes, all of who returned her to the shelter stating that she was too much hard work. But even though the Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix did have some hard-to-manage behaviors, shelter volunteer Patricia Inman refused to give up on her believing that she would eventually find a forever home.

And that’s exactly what happened. But Ruby didn’t just find a home, she also found a purpose. Adopted by the Rhode Island State Police and overseen by her handler, Corporal Daniel O’Neil, Ruby went on to become a certified trooper with their K-9 unit. 

Serving the citizens of Rhode Island for 11 years, Ruby shot to stardom in 2017 after she located a boy that had been missing for 36 hours. In an astounding twist of fate, O’Neil and Ruby later discovered that the boy was the son of Inman, the shelter volunteer who had advocated for Ruby all those years ago.

Now, just two months after the release of the Netflix film ‘Rescued by Ruby' that shares the pup’s most famous rescue, O’Neil, Inman and the Rhode Island State Police department are in mourning after they were forced to euthanize a dog that had become a national treasure.

"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," Col. Darnell Weaver, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, said in a press release

"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." 

Weaver went on to say that Ruby “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," 

While Ruby may be physically gone, her spirit lives on, no more so than in the film that bears her name. 

“We like to imagine that a scrappy rescue dog named Ruby, saved in the 11th hour by Trooper Dan and a Godwink, has now arrived at her heavenly destination and heard these words: 'Good dog, my faithful servant’,” SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, the executive producers of Rescued by Ruby shared in their own statement upon hearing news of her death. 

One thing is clear - it’s unlikely that any of us will ever forget this heroic dog who taught us that from the struggle to fit in and the pain of being unwanted can come a powerful story of love, courage and redemption. Rest in peace Ruby. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.