CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – We've all heard of Angels in the Outfield, but how about a dog in the dugout?
Meet REMINGTON, a 2-year-old golden retriever, who is the first athletics training room assistance dog in the ACC, who assists the University of North Carolina's baseball team.
His official title is psychiatric medical alert facility rehabilitation service dog, but he’s known by his nickname, Remi. Terri Jo Rucisnki, the coordinator of the physical therapy clinic and athletic trainer of the team, always wanted to combine her love of dogs into helping others.
That’s exactly what she did when she acquired Remi from paws4people, a Wilmington, N.C. nonprofit agency that places assistance dogs with clients at no cost. The addition of Remington has been a grand slam for the players, who according to Rucinski, turn an emotional corner during rehab quickly with his help.
“If they have a bad day, if they’re not doing well in class one day, (or) they have an exam, they’ll come down and they’ll just kind of play with him,” Rucinski said.
REMINGTON has learned over 100 commands, including “reading” commands from cue cards. He also has several important game day duties, such as taking balls to umpires before the game and standing with the team for the national anthem.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had a dog or any sort of assistance dog helping out with any team I’ve been a part of,” said outfield Brian Miller. “It’s like a bond that I have with any of my teammates, really.”
All photos and videos used are courtesy of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Melanie Busbee