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Tag: golden retriever

UNC’s baseball team dog helps NBA team get up for game — against Charlotte Hornets

My new best friend #Remington from #UNC

A post shared by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

An NBA player is crediting a visit from a therapy dog for getting him out of a slump and helping his team win this week.

Cleveland Cavalier J.R. Smith had only scored six points in the Cavs’ first two games on their three-game road trip, but after meeting a golden retriever named Remington he shot 8-for-9 and scored 18 points against the Charlotte Hornets.

“It was exactly what I needed,” Smith said. “Something to take my mind off the game and something to make me feel better.”

“It was right on time, especially for me,” Smith told ESPN. “I’m an emotional person. I live in my head. I don’t really express a lot of things. But let’s just say it was right on time.”

Even Cavs acting head coach Larry Drew gave credit to Remington for Smith’s game.

“You know, I think it was the canine,” Drew said. “I walk in the room, and there JR is sitting on the floor. … He’s sitting on the floor petting the [dog]. I think it was the canine that got him going. I can tell he’s very fond of that dog, and we’re going to have to get that dog back to more shootarounds.”

remiRemington is a therapy dog for the University of North Carolina baseball team.

The UNC team was playing in Charlotte and Cavs’ head athletic trainer, Steve Spiro, arranged for the get-together. Spiro said he read about “Remi,” and reached out to Tar Heels head athletic trainer Terri Jo Rucinski.

Remington, in addition to lifting spirits, provides companionship for team members while they’re going through rehabilitation after injuries and helps out with tasks such as opening a door for a player on crutches or fetching a towel for a player coming out of an ice bath.

“We had a great opportunity today to do something for our players outside of the normal routine on a back-to-back,” Spiro told ESPN. “We looked for it to be a potentially very positive impact in a casual setting where the guys could enjoy being around Remington, who is an extremely loving and talented service/therapy dog.”

Spiro said that to his knowledge, no professional sports teams have a service dog in their ranks, but that it might be something worth looking at.

The Cavs have been at the forefront of mental health awareness this season, with former Cleveland big man Channing Frye opening up about dealing with depression and Kevin Love penning an essay for The Player’s Tribune revealing that he has experienced panic attacks.

Rise of the French bulldog continues

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French bulldogs are now the most popular breed in New York and Los Angeles, and the fourth most popular nationwide, according to the American Kennel Club’s annual ranking of breed popularity.

This year’s national ranking show Frenchies climbing into the top five for the first time. Twenty years ago, the breed was 76th on the list.

And, no, we’re not burying the lede here.

Yes, Labrador retrievers have once again been proclaimed America’s most popular breed, but after 27 years in a row of that happening it hardly qualifies as news.

DSC06082The French bulldog’s rise is a fresher, more significant and more worrisome development, perhaps highlighting the divide between dainty big city breeds and those good ol’ breeds we’ve long held dear.

The breed jumped two spots from number six to number four in 2017. In doing so, it knocked the beagle out of the top five for the first time since 1998, and further cemented its hold on the top spot in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and West Palm Beach.

Yes, it is a trendy breed, and an urban breed. A French bulldog is not going to retrieve that duck whose life you just ended. You’re not going to see a French bulldog on the cover of Field and Stream.

One did make the cover of the Village Voice back in 2015, though, under the headline, “Don’t Buy This Dog.”

The breed had already become No. 1 in New York by then, and the article, by Michael Brandow, enumerated all the reasons that was a bad thing — chief among them the health problems the breed faces because of decades of inbreeding.

An excerpt:

“What’s wrong with French bulldogs? Where should I begin? Generations of unwise inbreeding to no good end, far beyond what would be needed to keep their signature looks, have left these cartoon critters with low resistance to illness and allergies. Physically handicapped at birth (by cesarean, because the heads are, like the owners’ pride, inflated) with squashed-in faces that are freakishly flat, they face serious challenges in performing some of any mammal’s basic functions — like getting enough oxygen and keeping their bodies at a safe temperature. Life’s burdens grow heavier under a long list of deformities preventing even mobility, and a task as simple as walking is no small feat.”

New Yorkers didn’t much heed the then-newsweekly’s warning. Demand just kept increasing, and with it so did worries about unscrupulous breeders and under-informed owners.

AKC officials say they expect the popularity of the downsized bulldogs with the pointed ears to continue as more city dwellers look for a breed that is compact and relatively quiet.

“The French bulldog is poised for a takeover,” AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo said in a statement, noting the breed’s “adaptability” and “loveable temperament.”

Here are the top 10 breeds in the U.S., according to the AKC:

1. Labrador retriever

2. German shepherd

3. Golden retriever

4. French bulldog

5. Bulldog

6. Beagle

7. Poodle

8. Rottweiler

9. Yorkshire terrier

10. German short-haired pointer

Bring in the comfort dogs — again

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Jacob is a golden retriever who gets to go on lots of trips.

In 2016, he got to go to Orlando.

In 2017, he got to go to Las Vegas.

This year’s excursion was back to Florida, to a town called Parkland.

Jacob, you’d think, should be one happy dog, getting to go on all those trips, and getting lots of attention each time.

jacobBut Jacob, a four-year-old dog who lives in Illinois, is a comfort dog, specially trained to help survivors of tragedies.

He was present in the aftermath of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas (58 left dead), and at the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre (49 left dead).

This week he’s helping the students, teachers and parents dealing with the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left at least 17 people, mostly children, dead.

You’d think, by now, comfort dogs such as he would be wondering about a species that harms its own members with such devastating regularity — and does such woefully little about it.

Likely not. Perhaps dogs don’t wonder about things like that.

Clearly, we humans don’t either — at least not enough to bring about real change.

Instead, we vent. We ache. Then we return to our own comfortable lives — lives not quite as plush and secure and NRA-supported as those politicians lead.

jacob3We are happy to see the comfort dogs arrive at the scene, happy to see people getting helped. The images serve as salve to our wounds — but they are wounds that should stay open, stay oozing and never stop throbbing until we get those politicians to act.

Dogs can lick our wounds. Humans can actually take steps to prevent them in the first place. But they don’t. Why? Because Bubba likes to hunt, and it’s his constitutional right, and if, every year or so, some deranged human decides gunning down fleeing people might be more fun, that’s the price we pay.

The rest of us, and dogs like Jacob, are left to mop up.

Jacob has been working since he was 16 months old. He’s had a lot of on-the-job experience — too much, says Tim Hetzner, president and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities, which runs the K-9 Comfort Dogs Ministry.

“I’d prefer they’d never have to be deployed for these type of situations,” Hetzner said.

Jacob is one of 130 dogs in 23 states who have been trained by LCC to be comfort dogs. They arrive in the aftermath of tragedies to soothe those coping with the trauma or mourning loved ones they lost.

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They are, basically, grief sponges, absorbing the gut-wrenching misery of victims and survivors.

“They don’t bark, bite, jump up,” Hetzner told Yahoo News. “They’re trained to either sit or to lie down on the ground — it depends on the situation. A lot of times with students that are on the ground, the dog lies down on the ground, and they lie on top of the dog. They’re kind of comfort rugs with a heartbeat sometimes.”

Jacob is expected to be in Parkland until the middle of the week before returning home and awaiting the next call to duty.

Unfortunately — as politicians twiddle their thumbs and debate actually doing something, as the gun lobby digs in to ensure they won’t — there will be a next one.

And we’ll bring out the comfort dogs again.

(Top photo, Associated Press; other photos courtesy of Comfort Dogs Ministry)

UNC baseball team starts season with a service dog in the dugout

The University of North Carolina baseball team has welcomed a new teammate this year — a 2-year-old golden retriever named Remington.

Remington isn’t there to be a mascot, though he has learned some mascot-like tricks, like holding his cap for the national anthem, taking balls to the ump, and high-fiving his teammates.

But his larger role is as Carolina’s first athletics training room assistance dog (and the first in the ACC).

UNC reports that the dog’s official title is “psychiatric medical alert facility rehabilitation service dog,” which sounds like a lot of responsibility.

But, cutting through the mumbo-jumbo, what Remington does is help players recover from injuries.

He works with Terri Jo Rucinski, coordinator of the physical therapy clinic and staff athletic trainer for the team.

remingtonRucinski says student athletes who underwent surgeries in the fall seem to be bouncing back more quickly since Remington joined the team. “I’d like to think he had something to do with it,” she says.

Rucinski, who has worked with the team for 12 years, met Remington through paws4people, a Wilmington, N.C., nonprofit agency that places customized assistance dogs with clients at no cost.

He began his training when he was just 3-days-old. By 16 weeks, he was learning obedience and disabilities skills training. He also learned basic command sets, and knows more than 100 commands, including written commands from cue cards.

He joined the team last August after passing a series of certification tests.

What happens when you dress up for Halloween as your dog’s favorite chew toy

For your Halloween viewing pleasure we present a California dog named Jolene, coming face to face with a life-sized version of her favorite chew toy.

Jolene’s owner, Emily Crisp, thought it might be fun, for Halloween, to have her boyfriend, Ben Mesches, dress up in a Gumby costume.

He walks into the room as Jolene is enjoying some time with her Gumby chew toy. Jolene looks up and registers a look of what can only be described as wonder and amazement.

She cautiously, at first, approaches the life-sized Gumby, jumps up on him, and proceeds to go crazy with joy.

Mesches, of Petaluma, initially posted the video to his Facebook account. On YouTube, it has gotten, nearly 4 million views in two weeks.

Happy Halloween, Jolene, and everybody else.

Can a dog love doggy day care too much?

For a doggy daycare operation, word-of-mouth is generally considered the best advertisement for bringing in new customers.

But this may be the most golden recommendation of all.

rileyIn North Carolina, a dog named Riley apparently loves his daycare so much he ran away from home one day last week, walked a mile to get there, and sat patiently outside the front door.

“Someone walked in the door and they said there’s a dog sitting out here waiting to come in,” said Happy Dogs Café owner Teresa McCarter.

McCarter opened the door and in came Riley, a golden retriever who, though he is a frequent customer, wasn’t scheduled for a visit that day.

Riley immediately ran back to the daycare area to greet at least 20 of his canine friends.

Riley’s owner, Tonia Mosteller, said she and Riley had driven past the daycare earlier in the day. Riley whimpered when he saw some of his friends being walked by a staff member. Back at home, she put him in the back yard and left to run some errands.

“I noticed Riley watching me carefully as I left, but I didn’t think too much about it,” Mosteller told WBTV.

Somehow, Riley managed to unlatch the gate. Because Mosteller often walks him to the daycare in downtown Belmont, he knew the way there.

The daycare owner said she looked around for Riley’s owner when she opened the door for him before figuring out “he just decided to put himself in daycare that day.”

Happy Dogs called Mosteller to let her know Riley was there, but they recommended she let him stay for the day — at no charge.

“He got a free day of daycare and he worked really hard for that day,” McCarter said.

(Photo: Courtesy of Happy Dogs Cafe)

(Editor’s note: The video above is going to continue to bring you other stories. You might want to shut it off upon completion.)

May your Thanksgiving be golden

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By way of wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, we present this photo — and offer our thanks to the photographer, and his dog, Bailey, who posed not once but six times.

Bailey played all six roles for the re-creation of this family scene.

The photos were taken by her owner, John Nebbia, of Omaha, Nebraska. Photoshop probably deserves some credit too.

The image appears to show a holiday gathering of six different dogs, but they are all Bailey, who was decked out in six different wardrobes.

“We just moved her from chair to chair and gave her a break in between shots,” Nebbia told the Huffington Post. “When she was in the position, we were snapping a few pictures every second.”

It took about 40 minutes to shoot and about an hour to edit, he said.

Nebbia posted the photo on Bailey’s Facebook page.

Bailey is also the star of a 2016 calendar featuring some of Bailey’s best poses. It can be ordered at GoldenBailey.com.

Nebbia also put together a video showing what was involved in making the Thanksgiving photo: