Sports

After borrowing UNC's REMINGTON, Cleveland Cavs may get their own therapy dog

Service dog helps student athletes through rehabilitation at UNC

Video: Terri Jo Rucinski, the athletic trainer for the North Carolina baseball team and a staff physical therapist for Campus Health Services, acquired the golden retriever last year to help students through physical therapy rehabilitation.
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Video: Terri Jo Rucinski, the athletic trainer for the North Carolina baseball team and a staff physical therapist for Campus Health Services, acquired the golden retriever last year to help students through physical therapy rehabilitation.

REMINGTON, the famous North Carolina baseball team therapy dog, has made a name for himself in the NBA.

Cleveland Cavaliers players have taken quite the interest in the 3-year-old golden retriever since meeting him in Charlotte, prior to their 118-105 win over the Hornets on March 28.

Cavs guard J.R. Smith posted a photo of himself and REMINGTON on Instagram, calling him “My new best friend.” Smith went on to hit 8-of-9 for 19 points in the win.

My new best friend #Remington from #UNC

A post shared by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

Cleveland has since flown REMINGTON and handler Terri Jo Rucinski, UNC baseball’s head trainer, to several playoff games at Quicken Loans Arena, according to a report by cleveland.com. Enough players have benefited from the visits that the Cavs are considering getting their own therapy dog, the report said.

"Every time I see him I smile, I have a good time," Smith told the Ohio news website. "We were talking about getting one as a team and he's just very beneficial. I think he brings a smile to a lot of people's faces."

REMINGTON became the Tar Heels’ dugout dog in the fall of 2016. His official title is psychiatric medical alert facility rehabilitation service dog.

Rucinski, the coordinator of UNC’s campus health physical therapy department, wanted to bring a canine’s comforting presence into her training room.

She found what she was looking for at Wilmington nonprofit paws4people, and REMINGTON became the first of his kind to work with an ACC baseball team.

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Terri Jo Rucinski, right, coordinator for UNC’s campus health physical therapy department and trainer for the UNC baseball team, sits with REMINGTON, a golden retriever service dog that joined the staff. REMINGTON, who works as a psychiatric medical alert facility rehabilitation service dog, and Rucinski were at a Tar Heels’ baseball practice last season. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

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