A mum whose son was rescued by a police dog after he went missing in a forest was stunned to discover she had trained the pup eight years earlier.
Dog trainer Patricia Inman was touched to discover that K-9 Ruby was on the case when her 19-year-old son went missing in a bizarre twist of fate.
The 57-year-old and her designer husband Jay Inman, 63, were distraught when Glocester Police officers had not located the teenager 24 hours after she reported his disappearance.
Knowing time was of the essence, the department called in Trooper Dan O’Neil and rescue dog Ruby to scour the local area as part of their search.
Mum-of-four Patricia was shocked to discover she recognized Ruby, an Australian Shepard and border collie mix, who she trained in 2011 while volunteering with the SPCA.
After arriving on the scene, Rhode Island State Police K-9 Ruby quickly got to work and began covering large areas of woodland to help find her old pal’s missing son.
The skilled pooch eventually tracked down the 19-year-old, who does not wish to be named, 32 hours after his mom discovered he was missing.
He was covered in blood, unconscious and in grave medical condition after falling and hitting his head on a rock on the forest floor – but thanks to Ruby has made a complete recovery.
Patricia, of Chepachet, Rhode Island, said: “When she was five months old, she was brought to the shelter where I’m a volunteer.
“She was so high energy. She was a handful and it broke my heart because she was returned by about four or five different families.
“I was a real advocate for Ruby and I thought she’d be an excellent police dog.
“We connected with the Rhode Island State Police and they thought Ruby would be a great candidate for the K9 Search and Rescue Unit so she was pulled for the program.
“She was connected with trooper Dan O’Neil, and she was trained in finding cadavers and missing persons.
“One morning last October we discovered my son wasn’t there and we were concerned enough to call the police.
“The area around our home is heavily wooded for miles and when the police arrived he still hadn’t been located.
“At 3PM the next day the K-9 unit from the State Police arrived.
“I saw Ruby and Dan arrive on the scene they came up to me.
“I was so surprised and touched to see her, but I was so worried about my son.
“After a few hours they found him but he was in really bad shape.
“He was out cold and he was in grave medical condition and had hit his head.”
Rhode Island State Police Trooper Dan O’Neil, who is Ruby’s handler, said Patricia’s son would not have made it another night had he not been located.
Dan said: “Ms Inman started to tear up when she found out Ruby was involved in the search.
“She was obviously distraught because her son was missing.
“We immediately started covering ground in the woods, to find him.
“After a few hours of searching Ruby’s ears began to prick up all of a sudden and she just bolted into the woods and she wouldn’t come back.
“When I came around the corner I saw her.
“She was licking a young man’s face but he was face down on the ground.
“He had a gash on his head and I actually thought he was deceased.
“I just instructed Ruby to bark and bark and eventually the trees parted and he started receiving immediate care before he was rushed back to the house and into an ambulance.
“This dog saved his life. He wouldn’t have made it. He was on the downward slope of his existence.”
Brave Ruby is now a finalist in American Humane Dog Hero awards and Patricia believes that there is no other pooch more deserving.
The dog trainer’s son has made a full recovery and recently returned to university in New York.
Patricia said: “I am sure that without Ruby he would be dead.
“Ruby is so deserving of this award. She has saved so many lives and it is not possible to put into words what she has done for our family.”
Dan added: “It’s funny because the other troopers always bust my chops about Ruby because she isn’t a German Shepard like most police dogs.
“She’s a 55lb little thing that hops out of the cruiser. She didn’t have to, but it feels like she has proved her worth.”
For more information on the awards visit: http://herodogawards.org/