Good boy set for great UNCW homecoming



REMINGTON, a service dog who graduated through UNC WIlmington’s dog service program, relaxing in North Carolina’s dugout.

Cody Critcher, Contributing Writer

On May 15, UNC Wilmington baseball will play host to North Carolina. In addition to a day of baseball, this meeting will serve as a homecoming for a very good boy from UNCW’s service dog program.

REMINGTON (yes, his name is spelled in all caps) is a three-year-old golden retriever who has become quite the celebrity. He is one of the many dogs to come through UNCW’s service dog program that is partnered with Paws4People – the only program of its kind in the United States.

After his graduation from the program, he was connected with the UNC baseball’s head athletic trainer Terri Jo Rucinski, who thought having a service dog around the program could prove to be beneficial.

No one could predict what would happen next.

REMINGTON, whose duties ranged from consoling injured players to bringing balls and waters to umpires, became a sensation as he was thrust into the spotlight during UNC’s recent College World Series run.

REMINGTON now has his own Facebook page, Home Run REMINGTON, where pictures and articles written about him are featured. He has become a vital part of the UNC baseball family.

Recently, he made himself even more friends.

Prior to the March 28 matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets, REMINGTON met with the players and staff of the Cavaliers organization.

Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith took a particular liking to REMINGTON. Their bond was instant. How much did this interaction help? Smith had his best game since December 2014 that night when he scored 19 points and recorded five rebounds and three assists.

Interim Cavaliers coach Larry Drew was quick to point out REMINGTON as the reason for Smith’s performance.

“You know, I think it was the canine,” Drew said to Bleacher Report. “I walk in the room, and there J.R. 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.”

Smith echoed Drew’s sentiment when asked after the game how REMINGTON affected his performance.

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

This interaction just adds to the legend that has become REMINGTON the bat dog.

Kelly George, a volunteer for Paws4People who was there when REMINGTON met Smith, was very happy with the experience. She’s just one of many who loves seeing all the good REMINGTON can do.

May 15 presents the perfect opportunity to welcome this good boy home and see him in action as UNCW hosts UNC. Game time is currently slated for 6 p.m., but that’s subject to change.