Tennis fans in Brazil were recently treated to some exciting court-side antics courtesy of a few stray dogs.
Four shelter pups from slums and abandoned spaces in Sao Paulo were trained as “ball dogs” for an exhibition match at the Brazil Open tournament. Players Robert Carballes Baena of Spain and Gastao Elias of Portugal participated in the match, which spotlighted the plight of abandoned pooches.
According to Bored Panda, Andrea Beckert from the Association of Animal Wellbeing explained, “These are dogs that were mistreated. We want to show that abandoned dogs can be adopted and trained. After all, it’s not easy to get a dog to only pick up the lost balls, and then to give them up!”
The dogs — Frida, Costela, Mel and Isabelle — did a great job scooping up the balls, some of which were intentionally missed to highlight the pooches’ abilities.
Occasionally the pups were hesitant to return to the balls to the players because giving up a toy takes a lot of self-control.
It took several months to prepare the pups for the exhibition.