Dogs and balls are a natural pairing. “Fetch” is a common command for a family dog. So why not an entire baseball team?
And that’s why Remington the Golden Retriever is now the official Psychiatric Medical Alert Facility Rehabilitation Service Dog for the University of North Carolina baseball team. In short, he is a service dog for the entire team.
Owned by the team’s head athletic trainer and coordinator of the physical therapy clinic, Remi is the team’s friend, errand runner, mascot, and all-around buddy. From dugout to rehab, he is there to support his team.
Service dogs provide practical help, like opening doors. And Remi, who knows over 100 commands, is one of the best. He even opens the refrigerator door for players thirsty and hungry after practice.
Service dogs are also comforters. In fact, some owners who rely on these dogs to get through the day say the emotional support they offer is their most important gift.
And according to players, Remi has the gift. He has a happy personality and players respond. Owner Terry Jo Rucinski says players that have gone through surgery lighten up when Remi comes by to say hi.
Athletes at the University who needed surgery can easily become depressed. They are missing practice and games and getting behind on schoolwork. Their routine is shattered and they are on the sidelines.
Since Remi arrived, team patients have kept up their spirits and recovered more quickly emotionally, according to Rucinski. He helps athletes with their rehab exercises, keeps them entertained and provides motivation and comfort.
It doesn’t stop there. When a team member is suffering from a bad test score or a low grade, Remi is there to boost his spirits. He’s there for hugs when one of the players misses a ball or strikes out.
Remington is a smart dog. Among the 100+ commands he knows are bringing balls out to the umpire, and water too. He gives fist—well, actually, paw—bumps to fellow team members at game high points. He holds a baseball cap during the national anthem.
He’s been in training as a service dog since he was 3 days old. When he hit 16 weeks, he moved up to an obedience and disabilities skills course. His training was conducted at paws4people in Wilmington, N.C. The organization trains and places assistance dogs with skills that are tailored to the needs of each owner, all at no cost.
Remi learned basic command sets, individual commands and even written commands on cue cards. Before joining the team as an official support dog, he had to go through 80 hours of training. After passing a series of tests, he earned official certification.
Remington has his own Instagram account, homerunremington, a favorite of local fans. He’s cute, photogenic and perhaps a bit of a ham. In short, he’s a natural.
Fans love to watch him help the umpire and high-five the players. He is considered a member of the team. One player said, “It’s like a bond that I have with any of my team mates, really.”
We Support Service Dogs
USA Service Dog Registration knows how important a service dog or emotional support animal, called an ESA, can be. The goal of the website is to make it simple and quick for you to register a service dog or emotional support dog. The process is free and requires just 3 steps.
Check out the website to get your free service dog and ESA ebook, The Complete Guide to Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals,normally sold for $19.95.
The site has a helpful resources section that covers airline requirements, the location of airline relief areas, state laws, trainers, housing laws and more. USA Service Dog Registration also has a store with a variety of helpful items for dogs, emotional support animals and their owners. You can find vests, ID cards, tags, digital certificates, collars and leashes.
Visit USA Service Dog Registration today for the information and supplies you need for your support dog or ESA.
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