A Dog in the Dugout

Football Tee Retriever Cori Is Now Bringing Back Bats

Cori the dog carries a baseball bat toward the outstretched hand of Lisa Tell.
Cori, a Labrador retriever owned by Lisa Tell ’87, DVM ’91, a professor of medicine and epidemiology in the School of Veterinary Medicine, has learned to retrieve baseball bats. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Cori is UC Davis’ newest multisport Aggie, branching out with forays into basketball last month and baseball this weekend.

The Labrador retriever spent Saturdays last fall retrieving the kickoff tee from Aggie football games, made a basketball during halftime at a basketball game in January and will be at one of the first baseball games of the season this Saturday (Feb. 18) to retrieve bats.


Cori will retrieve bats at 11 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 18) in the first game of a doubleheader, part of the Aggies’ season-opening, four-game series against Utah Valley at UC Davis’ Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium.

All game times:

  • Friday, Feb. 17 — 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 18 — 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 19 — 1 p.m.

Tickets are available online.

“She’s a dog that she just really loves the relationship and working, and having a job,” said Lisa Tell ’87, DVM ’91, a professor of medicine and epidemiology in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Cori’s owner. “She’s happy to retrieve anything that I want her to retrieve.”

Tell has been working with Cori to get her used to the previously unfamiliar task of retrieving the metal bats standard in NCAA play, ensuring she picks them up at the fat end so as to avoid the pine tar used to enhance players’ grip.

“That’s not something that is super natural for a dog: holding something metal,” Tell said.

Cori took to it quickly, but perhaps a bigger challenge was getting her to focus on the bats and not the one thing guaranteed to entice a playful dog: a ball being thrown back and forth.

Baseball players pet Cori
Catcher Jack Gallagher and pitcher Danny Carrion greet Cori during a recent baseball practice. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

“She’s a dog that loves a ball,” Tell said. “I had to get her really excited about watching the bat and not the ball.”

Cori typically only retrieves bats for a few innings of a game — if she starts to get tired or bored, the task becomes much more difficult, Tell said. Even with limited duty, she has formed bonds with the players.

“It’s fun because the baseball players really engage with her,” Tell said. “They pet her; they’re happy to see her.”

Cori will participate in only a few baseball games this season (check her social media pages to find out when she’ll appear), but she’s always happy to meet students, and Tell often has stickers featuring Cori’s likeness to hand out. She’s even enlisted the help of a student ambassador, vet student Stephanie Han, to bring Cori to more events.

“I do this because I like students to be involved,” Tell said. “I really hope it’s fun for the students, and I hope it’s fun for the team.”

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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