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.
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.