Adored K-9 Ruby, the Shelter Dog-Turned-Hero, has Crossed the Rainbow Bridge


The Rhode Island State Police, along with the global community, is grieving the loss of K-9 Ruby.

K-9 Ruby

The department shared the somber news of her passing on Facebook, stating, “We regret to inform you of the passing of K-9 Ruby due to a sudden, acute, and untreatable illness.”

K-9 Ruby 4

Her remarkable journey, transitioning from a repeatedly returned shelter dog to a K-9 who rescued an injured boy in the woods, serves as an inspiration to all. Ruby, a mix of Australian shepherd and border collie, started as a spirited puppy, adopted and returned five times before finding her purpose and forever home.

Adopted by Corporal Daniel O’Neil of the Rhode Island State Police, Ruby became one of the first shelter dogs trained as a K-9 for the department. The once mischievous and energetic pup transformed into a seasoned K-9 veteran, leading a fulfilling life of service to her community, delighting everyone with her playful antics.

K-9 Ruby played a crucial role in the Search and Rescue team, gaining nationwide recognition when her heroic mission went viral. In 2018, she was honored as the American Humane Hero Dog Search and Rescue Dog of the Year, and her story was adapted into a Netflix movie titled “Rescued by Ruby,” released in February 2022. One of her notable rescues involved locating a lost and injured boy in the woods, who happened to be the son of the woman from the animal shelter that had saved her.

K-9 Ruby 2

Ruby received the acclaim she deserved before peacefully crossing the Rainbow Bridge at the age of 11.5, leaving a void felt by all.

Colonel Darnell S. Weaver, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, expressed in a press release, “K-9 Ruby devoted her life to serving the citizens of Rhode Island, leaving a positive impact on everyone she encountered. She became a beacon of hope for shelter dogs, demonstrating the extraordinary potential that lies within them when given love and an opportunity to shine. Her life was rich, happy, and wonderful, not only as a trooper but as a cherished member of a loving family. She continued to work tirelessly until the end, never abandoning what she loved most – bringing smiles to people’s faces.”

Ruby and O’Neil made numerous appearances at community events and schools over the years, allowing locals to meet the heroic pup and witness her endearing, playful nature.

The O’Neil family mourns the loss of a devoted partner and family pet, while the local community and all who encountered her express their heartfelt condolences.

Ruby’s legacy will forever endure.