Ruby, the Rhode Island State Police search and rescue dog whose life story is now the subject of a Netflix original movie, made a featured appearance at a preview taste of “Rescued by Ruby” which was screened Monday for members of the State Police and their families.
The film will premiere Thursday on the subscription streaming service.
Grant Gustin, who plays TV as The Flash on the CW series and was Sebastian Smythe on “Glee,” plays Private Dan, the enthusiastic newbie who learned search and rescue from Ruby in real life .
Cpl. Dan O’Neil is now in charge of K9 operations for 17 handlers and 18 dogs. He is the handler of two dogs: Ruby, who is still working, and Koda, his protege.
Matt Zarrella, a soldier who made it his mission to establish a K9 corps for the state police, began by enrolling at his own expense in a training program with his less than ideal Saint Bernard. He is portrayed in the film by Scott Wolf, known for playing Carson Drew in “Nancy Drew” and Bailey Salinger in “Party of Five.”
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What did the real characters think of the actor’s performances?
O’Neil said that Wolf adopted Zarrella’s accent and mannerisms so well that O’Neil watching the film at home sometimes felt like Zarrella was in the room again giving him orders. He also said that watching himself being portrayed by someone else was weird.
The role of Ruby is played by an actor dog named Bear, who, like Ruby, was nearly euthanized for unmanageable behavior that made him unadoptable.
Ruby was rescued from a shelter before becoming a hero. So was the animal actor who played her
Animal trainers were asked to find a shelter dog to play Ruby, and they found Bear in an Oklahoma collie rescue with a dog named Shiloh. They were inseparable, so the two dogs were adopted.
From the archives:The rescued becomes the savior
The coaches were given six weeks to work with them before filming began, and Shiloh became a stunt double for Bear. His coat had to be dyed to match Bear’s.
Ruby and Bear haven’t met, but Ruby pricked up her ears when she heard him bark on the video when O’Neil watched the movie at home with his wife, Melissa, and their two sons.
Is the Netflix movie Rescued by Ruby based on a true story?
Ruby’s remarkable story is true, but the film brings many changes. She wasn’t the first shelter dog to qualify for the state police K9 corps, as Zarrella had to build the force by training donated dogs or shelters.
What’s really true is that Ruby made such an incredible and unlikely rescue that she was nominated and ultimately won the online vote to become the Humane Society’s Search and Rescue Hero Dog. in 2018. This made her a finalist for the Hero Dog set.
How did Ruby, a K-9 police dog become so famous?
As a finalist, she flew across the country with O’Neill in a commercial airplane seat, stayed at the Beverly Hills Hilton where O’Neil’s wife joined them, met Betty White, appeared on talk shows -morning shows on both coasts and was filmed as part of the American Humane Awards Gala which later aired on the Hallmark Channel.
Briefly missing:State Police rescue dog Ruby shows she’s fine after her own rescue
In New York, with some of the other finalists for a recording of “Today”, Ruby saw the “Dogs of 9/11” exhibit at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, and dined with the other dogs and handlers in a New York City Restaurant.
Then she returned to police work.
Is Ruby still an active police dog?
“Even though she’s a movie star, she still has to do her job,” O’Neil said Monday afternoon. Recently she helped search for victims during the Cliff Walk collapse in Newport, he said.
The Netflix film is Ruby’s second film. She is featured in Mary Healey Jamiel’s documentary “Searchdog” about Zarrella’s efforts to establish and build a state police K9 corps. Zarrella retired as a sergeant and leads American Patriot K9 training. He attended the screening.
How much of Rescued by Ruby is true and what has the movie changed?
Ruby, a shelter dog since about seven months old, has been adopted and returned five times. (The Netflix movie does seven.) It was impossible, and families quickly realized it wouldn’t work.
See where Ruby is in the list:The 25 Most Heroic Dogs in America
Each time she was fired, dog trainer Patricia Crowley Inman, who volunteered her services to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, worked with Ruby to correct her unacceptable behaviors.
Inman began to think that Ruby was not meant for a family. She is a mix of Border Collie and Australian Shepherd, two working dog breeds known to be very intelligent. If they are not focused on work, they do stupid things. Inman concluded that Ruby needed a job.
RISPCA investigator Joseph Warzycha also saw potential in Ruby. Two hours before she was euthanized as unadoptable, Warzycha asked Zarrella to assess Ruby for police work.
Zarrella decided that Ruby and O’Neil, who had tried to join the K9 corps, would make a good team. Warzycha was not portrayed in the film but he was such a big part of Ruby’s story that he was invited on stage with the others at the Greenwich Odeum screening.
In the Netflix movie, Private Dan dreams of one day joining the elite K9 unit, but no one will give him a chance. He goes to the shelter and meets Ruby, who is about to be euthanized. He adopts her and they start training together.
The film chronicles Ruby and O’Neil’s struggle to make the cut as they learn to communicate with each other.
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The role of Rhode Island in the film was played by Vancouver. Filming took place there while Rhode Island dealt with COVID.
Ruby made an appearance at the screening on Monday but did not stay for the show. O’Neil said she indicated that all the excitement had been a bit too much for her, so she was driven home. Moreover, she had already seen the film.