Is ‘Rescued By Ruby’ Based On A True Story? What Do We Know About Dan And Ruby?


Directed by Katt Shea, “Rescued by Ruby” is a film based on a true story about a shelter pup who made it to the K-9 Unit with her owner. The film is a heart-melting tale about Ruby, who seemed to never get along with those who adopted her and was left back at the shelter for being too mischievous. Patricia Inman, the shelter volunteer, always trusted in the goodness that resided within Ruby and believed she would be adopted by someone as special as her.

Meanwhile, Dan O’Neil had tried his luck in joining the K-9 Unit but failed in all his seven attempts; this was his 8th and last attempt at achieving his dream. Dan went in search of a cheerful young dog who would make a great team with him. Patricia was elated when she watched Dan bond with Ruby, as she was terrified that Ruby’s behavior might lead her to be dropped by the shelter.

Dan could relate to Ruby since he was equally impatient as she was. With many obstacles in their path to joining the K-9 Unit, he found strength in his wife, who supported his dream. With home training and immense dedication from O’Neil, Ruby managed to pass the test and fulfill O’Neil’s dream. By the end of the film, we witnessed a few snippets of the real-life pair. “Rescued by Ruby,” of course, chose to take some creative freedom to retell this remarkable tale and encourage the fact that even a shelter pup with great training and dedication could perform brilliantly.

In the film, Dan met Ruby in what can be called a chance encounter, and he helped save Ruby’s life. In real life, the story is slightly less dramatic. Patricia worked for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals with the Rhode Island Society, helping Ruby to correct her behavioral problems. When O’Neil was looking for a search and rescue dog, Patricia vouched for Ruby and helped O’Neil decide to train the mischievous dog to be a part of the K-9 team. Of course, Dan was the hero in Ruby’s life who chose to give her a chance to prove herself. The extremity of the do-or-die situation was stretched in “Rescued by Ruby,” but without it, the film would definitely be too bland.

What remained the same was the bond between Dan and Ruby. He indeed helped her to understand the routine and trained her. In 2012, Ruby was certified as a state trooper for the Rhode Island State Police. While the climax might seem too good to be true, surprisingly, it was how the real event had unfolded. When a teenage boy went missing after going on a hike, it was Ruby who managed to find him in an unconscious condition in a ravine.

Even in the real incident, Dan’s radio could not pick up the signal deep inside the forest, and his GPS had also gone out of range. Just like in “Rescued by Ruby,” Ruby’s barking saved the day. Her barks acted as a signal for the police to retrieve the boy. It was found that the missing boy was Patricia’s son. Such rare coincidences do occur in real life! It was Patricia who had always advocated for Ruby, and perhaps it was her love for Ruby that acted in the most miraculous way possible and resulted in saving her son’s life. Had it not been for someone’s empathy for Ruby, who knows how the story would have ended?

Ruby’s achievements do not end just there. In 2018, she was named the American Humane Hero Dog’s Search and Rescue Dog of the Year. “Rescued by Ruby” indicated that even to this day, the incomparable pair, Dan and Ruby, still work together. It is not just Ruby who was awarded for her brilliance; Dan at Rhode Island State Police is now responsible for overseeing an 18-dog K-9 Unit.

Ruby continues to be the energetic and cheerful dog that we witnessed in the film. “Rescued by Ruby” is a tear-jerker with a happy ending. A tale of such a coincidence is truly rare to find. The rise of Ruby from a hopeless shelter pup to a thriving K-9 is comforting to watch. What is also great is how such films encourage adoption from shelters instead of buying pure breeds. After all, given a chance, with the right training and partnership, any dog can be a good dog!

See More: ‘Rescued by Ruby’ Ending, Explained: Do Daniel & Ruby Join The K9 Unit?

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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