In an odd twist of fate, a dog that was deemed to be ‘unadoptable’ due to her excitable behavior is now being hailed as a hero. Ruby is a beautiful Australian shepherd who’s a lot smarter than she looks.
The 8-month-old pup had been in and out of a shelter five times before being deemed as unadoptable. When the fifth return to the shelter took place, Ruby seemed to be all out of luck.
Thankfully, though, there was one person who saw a lot more in Ruby than her stubborn puppy nature.
With no one willing to take the dog on and keep her, the shelter would be left with no choice but to put her down. That’s when Ruby’s guardian angel stepped in. A volunteer trainer at the shelter named Pat advocated for the dog.
Having worked with Ruby, Pat knew that the crazy pup was a lot smarter than she was letting on. So, in order to save Ruby’s life, the trainer threw up a Hail Mary. She got in touch with the Rhode Island State Police K-9 unit, praying they’d agree to take her on.
If getting Ruby into the K-9 unit would save the dog’s life, she figured it was worth a shot.
Little did Pat know that Officer Dan O’Neil had always dreamt of working in the K-9 unit. The only thing holding him back was the fact that he didn’t have a dog to partner up with in the field… until he met Ruby.
“Ruby ran right into the living room and left me a present,” Recalls Officer O’Neil of his first encounter with the excited puppers.
In spite of the smelly first impression she left him with, O’Neil decided that Ruby had the potential to be the perfect partner. This is where the story gets really interesting.
When Pat helped Ruby by finding her a home with the Officer, she took the first step leading to what esteemed author Squire Rushnell refers to as a “Godwink”.
Even though she seemed like a Tazmanian devil disguised as a dog, Officer O’Neil fell in love with her anyway. Training her wasn’t going to be easy, but he knew it would be worth it.
For an added dose of pressure, getting Ruby trained and ready for fieldwork would be the only way O’Neil could snag his dream job —and it was also Ruby’s last chance to prove herself.
O’Neil was determined to make his new partnership work because it had to work!
Fortunately for them both, Ruby turned out to be an outstanding police dog. She matured into a well-trained, obedient dog with wits sharper than the blade of a sword.
In their 7+ years together, the pair have been deployed on 10 separate ‘missing person’ cases and have rescued 3 people. She is without a doubt one of Rhode Island’s best.
It was Ruby’s most recent case, though, that would ultimately bring her story full-circle to within a few hours before she was scheduled to be put down.
Here’s where the awesome “Godwink” we mentioned earlier comes into play.
This is an awe-inspiring moment of revelation, connecting unexpected characters to unexpected outcomes.
One day O’Neil and Ruby, along with a fellow officer and his K-9, responded to a “missing persons” case in Gloucester. A woman reported that her teenage son had gone missing.
Frantic with worry, the mother told the officers everything she could think of to find her son, making special mention that he often liked to go hiking through the woods nearby That’s when both officers agreed to search in separate directions, covering more ground in less time.
The second Ruby caught a whiff of the boy’s scent, she went flying down a ravine as fast as her legs would carry her. It was hard for O’Neil to keep up with his partner. O’Neil finally made his way to the bottom of the ravine only to find Ruby there.
She was licking the face of a boy lying face-down in the dirt.
It turned out the teen had sustained some sort of injury. By the time Ruby had gotten to him, his pulse was so weak that it could barely be felt. He was rushed to the hospital where, thankfully, he was able to regain full health.
These are the highlight moments that people like Officer O’Neil live for. He wanted to deliver the good news to the boy’s mother personally— that they had found her son alive and that he would be okay.
Little did O’Neil know his decision to deliver this news himself was an appointment with destiny. Trust us when we say there are no coincidences in this story.
The mother was beyond grateful to hear that her boy had been rescued by the Officers and their faithful dogs. Something inside her made her ask O’Neil a question out of curiosity, though:
“Do you know of a dog named Ruby?”
Stunned for a moment, O’Neil finally responded that yes, in fact, his partner’s name was Ruby. That’s when the mom told him her name was Pat Inman.
She explained that she was Ruby’s initial trainer when she was volunteering for the animal shelter. She also, not-so-coincidentally, happened to be the one to make the call that ultimately saved Ruby’s life and scored O’Neil his dream job.
While no one could have known they were filling such an important role in this miraculous story, they all finally realized it in the end.
Pat saw something very special in Ruby and went out of her way to save her life. Seven years later, the dog proved her old trainer right and returned the favor by rescuing her son.
This is what a Godwink looks like.
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