Edgartown residents SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt do not use the word coincidence. Mr. Rushnell and Ms. DuArt call those moments Godwinks, a bit of divine intervention at work answering prayers in unexpected ways. Stories of Godwink experiences and lessons fill 12 books authored by Mr. Rushnell or by the couple together, along with four seasons in the Hallmark channel’s Godwink Movie series.

And now they have coined a new phrase, Dogwinks, bringing the same sense of hopeful encounters to the four-legged friends among us. Their first Dogwinks book was published in 2021 and on March 17 the first Dogwinks movie, Rescued by Ruby, premiered on Netflix.

This new journey started after the couple read a Providence Journal article about a misbehaving shelter dog named Ruby who was slated for euthanasia. At the last moment Ruby was adopted by Rhode Island state trooper Dan O'Neil, trained as a rescue dog and then saved the life of a teenage boy whose mother was the shelter volunteer and dog trainer who first vouched for Ruby as worth saving. The woman’s son went missing while hiking and after 36 hours had not been found. Enter Ruby, who led the rescue party to the teenage boy who was unconscious and seriously hurt.

Executive producers and Edgartown residents, Louise DuArt and SQuire Rushnell. — Mark Alan Lovewell

As the first shelter dog to be trained as a canine rescue, Ruby opened the door for other shelter dogs and reversed the trend of the Rhode Island state government paying $15,000 for the training of purebred dogs.

“We saw that story and said this is our first Dogwinks story in the book,” Ms. DuArt said in an interview this week with the Gazette.

“This true story is so incredible,” Mr. Rushnell added in agreement. “Why make fiction out of that if you don’t need to?”

After hearing about Ruby’s story, Mr. Rushnell reached out to several individuals involved, including Cpl. Dan O’Neil who adopted Ruby. The couple then wrote a story that they pitched with two others to Hallmark. The channel’s rejection was unexpected but then their producing partner Dan Angel pitched the story to Netflix.

“He told the story and the executives started to cry. They said ‘That is the movie we want to do,” Mr. Rushnell recalled.

Dan O'Neil and Ruby at a recent screening in Providence. — Chris Roslin

The film was shot on Vancouver Island over six weeks starting in May 2021. Grant Gustin, known to fans from The Flash, stars as Dan O’Neil, a Rhode Island state trooper in need of a canine partner. Karen Janszen wrote the screenplay and Kat Shea directed the movie. Mr. Rushnell and Ms. DuArt are executive producers and receive credit for originating the story. The visited the set during production, which in one key way reminded them of the Vineyard.

“Getting on a ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island is like getting on a ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket,” Mr. Rushnell said. “The ferries are humongous. They must be three times larger than our ferry. They’ve got restaurants and a little shopping mall.”

Looking for a dog to play Ruby involved its own type of Dogwink, they said.

“We asked the animal trainers if they could possibly get a shelter dog to play the shelter dog,” Ms. DuArt said. “They said it was going to be difficult, but then they called and said not only had they found a shelter dog but one who had a parallel story to Ruby. They found Bear, a dog who was going to be put down. The trainers took Bear and trained him for the film. And Bear’s best friend at the shelter was a dog named Shiloh, who also received training and appears in the film as Bear’s stunt double.”

The film was supposed to air at Christmas but was then held for a March release. Mr. Rushnell and Ms. DuArt were at first disappointed with the delay but now see this as the perfect time for a heartfelt movie.

“Who knew what was going to happen in our world between December and March,” Ms. DuArt said. “So much chaos, so much uncertainty, so much sorrow. Then this little movie comes along. I think people want a feel-good story — and what’s better than a dog?”