Golden Retriever helps athletes prioritize mental health

Meet Remington, the first athletic training assistant dog for the UNC (University of North Carolina) baseball team. The Golden Retriever is a Rehabilitation Psychiatric Alert Service Dog. In other words, pets help young athletes prioritize mental health.

Remington was part of a trash NGO called paws4people, Inc. , in North Carolina, in the United States. The entity raises dogs and trains them to work as health aides. According to the foundation, these dogs typically have one or more certifications of support in areas such as mobility, psychiatric service, rehabilitation assistance, and a therapeutic visit.

“The role of Remington is to be someone who calms people, makes them laugh, and makes rehab fun,” says team coach Terry Joe Rosinski. “It helps de-stress people. I think that is your biggest role. Making people laugh and smile when they are going through a tough day.”

Remington’s routine on the team

Golden Retriever and Trainer day begins at 7:45 a.m. at the Physiotherapy Clinic. In the afternoon, Remy goes to the sports training room and spends time with the athletes during training.

The trainer says that helping the dog range from opening and closing the refrigerator to bringing the athlete a drink to returning the ball to them while they do their throwing exercises. But sometimes he’s just a dog, climbing into beds with players during therapy, when he feels the athletes need him.

Five athletes pose for a photo with a golden retriever
Photo: Archive/UNC Athletics

Also, Remi is not limited to baseball. The dog also helps other sports teams, including lacrosse, soccer and gymnastics.

The company in difficult times

During his final season, bowler Dalton Pence blew his elbow and required surgery. Pence says Remington was there when he received the news that he would need to delay starting his athletic career.

“He was there by my side, so knowing that reduced my anxiety and stress. [Ele] Dalton told the SI Gateway. “There are a lot of mental barriers the athlete has come back from from a serious injury, and he has helped me get through some of that. I just won. [de volta] Trust by Remington.”

Psychological health

Sure, Remy is more than just a “baseball dog.” In fact, since arriving at UNC during the 2017 season, the role of the Golden Retriever has unofficially expanded. Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic and the mental health crisis that has plagued college campuses.

A man lying on the ground with a golden retriever dog
Photo: Archive/UNC Athletics

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides and suicide attempts have risen dramatically during the pandemic among young adults ages 12-25. In addition, according to the US National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 34.

In the past two years, two waves of suicide have hit AUC. During this period, at least four students lost their lives, including students who were part of the sports team.

Remy reception

Maddie Berry, a player on the soccer team, says Remington has provided relief to athletes during difficult conversations since the death of one of her teammates, Katie Meyer.

“Just having something comfortable when you’re having a difficult conversation makes it easier to open up about things like that. If you feel like you’re in a safe place, it’s easier to have those conversations,” she says. “For me, Remington has become a shoulder to lean on whether I am anxious or stressed or not having a good day. It makes me feel good, and being vulnerable with the people around me.”

Woman sitting on the floor with golden retriever dog
Photo: Archive/UNC Athletics

“We all go through struggles. When you fail, just looking back and even looking at Remy gives you that positive attitude. I really feel like Remy has superpowers.”

Another player, Shannon, says the Golden Retriever provides a way for people to become more aware of their mental health. “He can sense when someone is suffering, whether it’s because of an injury or a terrible day. It gives people comfort, and it opens the door for Rosinsky to check in with the athlete,” he explains.

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