‘Rescued by Ruby’ portrays a hyperactive and anxious K9 duo ready to save lives

Ride alongside the story of the 2018 ‘Search and Rescue Dog of the Year’


Netflix’s heart-warming ‘Rescued by Ruby’ depicts the real-life story of an anxious K-9 search dog named Ruby.
Rating: A+
Photo Credit: Fezziwig Studios

Hannah Paine

The hyperactive shelter dog Ruby attained worldwide fame in 2018 after being named the “Search and Rescue Dog of the Year.” Originally ordered to be put down, anxious and dyslexic state trooper Daniel O’Neill (Grant Gustin) saves Ruby. He dreams of joining Rhode Island’s K-9 Search and Rescue team for years, but after seven rejections and the age limit restriction, Ruby is his last hope. 


The movie does an excellent job of creating a bond between Gustin and Bear, the shelter dog that portrays Ruby. They have such a strong on-screen connection that makes it easy to believe they have an owner-pet relationship in real life. The rest of the human cast of is also cast well, with each actor resembling their real-life counterpart. The only issue I had seemed to have with the casting was the northeastern accent that Gustin went in and out of. In some cases, it seemed as if he was almost trying to match the accents of his coworkers, and I just found it odd.


Throughout the film, O’Neill undergoes immense character development, creating an opportunity for a deeper emotional connection with the audience. He works for the partnership, learning to trust Ruby and, unlike all of her former owners, never gives up. On the other hand, there is a limited amount of development for most of the other characters, like his wife, Melissa (Kaylah Zander). Though she’s a positive contribution to the film, she doesn’t demonstrate much emotional complexity. The entire plot focuses on overcoming issues and learning to grow emotionally, but it seemed that they barely touched on Melissa’s side of the story. 

Another moment that conveys complex development is the second chance scene, where O’Neill finds Ruby and regains her trust. After being apart for days, O’Neill starts to worry about Ruby and soon realizes that it was more than a dog-owner partnership, he couldn’t give up. Between the rain symbolizing a rebirth of a partnership, to Gustin and Bear connecting on a more emotional level, it all felt like a dream. The scene is hopeful, triumphant, and follows into the rescue scene that presents drama that the rest of the movie lacks.


This true story has been turned into a wonderful movie with an emotional and well-written script. It touches on the impacts anxiety, dyslexia and overactive personalities can have on someone’s life and how someone with those disorders can come out on the better side of the story. I found Ruby’s story to be incredibly beautiful and the full-circle feeling that comes from it left me wanting more. Overall, I was delighted to watch a dog movie that didn’t end with an inconsolable death – and I can assure that any younger siblings you have will too.