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Active State Police K-9 known for her story being turned into a movie, dies

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Photo courtesy of Rhode Island State Police

The Rhode Island State Police today announced the passing of K-9 Ruby, age 11 ½. She was euthanized on Friday, May 13th following a sudden, acute, and untreatable illness.

“Today the Rhode Island State Police family is mourning the death of K-9 Ruby,” said Colonel Darnell S. Weaver, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety. “Her partnership with Corporal O’Neil was a special one and their search and rescue work in our K-9 Unit was a great service to the Rhode Islanders who have needed their help. Her award-winning rescue inspired us and we are grateful for her years of service.”

K-9 Ruby served with the Rhode Island State Police for 11 years and was handled by Corporal Daniel O’Neil. She was a mixed-breed dog who was adopted from the Rhode Island SPCA and was one of the first shelter dogs trained to serve with the Rhode Island State Police. During her career, she and Corporal O’Neil participated in many search and rescue missions as part of the K-9 Unit and volunteered with the Community, Diversity and Equity Unit, appearing in schools and at many events.

“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. 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. 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.”

In late 2017 Ruby successfully located a lost and distressed teenager who was the son of a shelter volunteer who had cared for her as a puppy. As a result of this rescue, Ruby was named American Humane Hero Dog Search and Rescue Dog of the Year in 2018. Her story was made into the 2022 Netflix move, “Rescued by Ruby.”

Ruby lived with Corporal O’Neil and his family. She will be honored privately.

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