Rescued by Ruby: The true story behind The Flash star's Netflix movie
Rescued by Ruby is now out on Netflix, telling the heart-warming true story of state trooper Dan O'Neil. Dan, played by The Flash star Grant Gustin, dreams of joining the K-9 Search and Rescue team but time is running out. It's the same for energetic shelter dog Ruby, who is on her last chance after several failed attempts to rehome her. Fate brings Dan and Ruby together and their bond helps them overcome their toughest challenge yet. But we know what you're thinking. Adorable dog in a real-life movie? We're going to be heartbroken. However, while the movie might move you to tears, it's not because the dog dies, so you're totally safe there. But how much of the movie is actually based on the real-life story of Dan O'Neil? While the movie takes some creative licence with the real-life story of Dan and Ruby, their 'origin story' (as it were) is true to what actually happened.
Ruby, played in the movie by two rescue dogs, Bear and Shiloh, was adopted by five families in real life but each of them returned her. It was down to the efforts of shelter volunteer Patricia Inman, played by Camille Sullivan in the movie, that Ruby wasn't put down. "She was a total knucklehead," Inman said. "She jumped and bit her leash. She wouldn't sit or lie down. She just never stopped moving. She was special and she needed a special person."
As we see in the movie, that "special person" turned out to be Dan O'Neil, who had been trying out for the K9 unit for years without success. Without the money to buy a dog, he adopts Ruby and starts training her up to join the K9 unit.
The reality was slightly different as Inman was working with the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) to correct Ruby's behaviour. RISPCA investigator Joseph Warzycha, not featured in the movie, saw her potential and asked Matt Zarrella, played by Scott Wolf in the movie, to evaluate Ruby.
As a result, Zarrella thought that Ruby and Dan would make a good team, so he paired them up rather than it being a chance meeting as it was in the movie.
It is true that Dan worked with Ruby to train her up to be ready for the K9 test and she ended up passing it top of the class. Ruby became a certified state trooper with the Rhode Island State Police in 2012.
What's most remarkable though is that Rescued by Ruby's big finale, where Ruby helps to find a missing boy who then turns out to be the son of Patricia Inman, is something that genuinely happened.
The movie does add some creative flourishes, such as Ruby running away from Dan, and also moves the timeline forward to shortly after Ruby's training. In real life, the incident happened in 2017, five years into Dan and Ruby's work with the K9 unit.
However, everything else plays out in the movie as it did in reality. Ruby found the boy in a ravine and with Dan's radio and GPS out of range, it was Ruby's barking that led everybody else to the scene. Once the boy was safe, Dan and Ruby had their surprise reunion with the shelter worker who had saved Ruby's life.
"I said, 'Pat, this was her thank you for saving her life – she saved your boy's life'. And we both started to cry," O'Neil told the Miami Herald, with Inman adding: "I was so grateful. I was beside myself and overwhelmed. So many things had to fall into place for this to happen the way it did. The universe works in mysterious ways."
The rescue led to Ruby being named the American Humane Hero Dog's Search and Rescue Dog of the Year in 2018. As it says in the end credits, Dan and Ruby are still working together to this very day, with Dan now overseeing an 18-dog K9 unit at the Rhode Island State Police.
"There's no end in sight for her. She can still run around for hours and hours. She's just amazing. She just doesn't want to give up," O'Neil told People. "She's this little mutt that still is kicking butt today."
Rescued by Ruby is available to watch now on Netflix.
Source: Digital Spy