Rescue Dogs Bound Across Tennis Courts As ‘Ball Boys’ During Brazil Open AKA The Best Day Ever

It’s a natural fit for dogs to retrieve balls, so why not put them to work on tennis courts?

Written by
"I GOT IT!!!" Via  Brasil Open de Tênis/Facebook

Chasing fuzzy yellow balls? Pssh, we do that all the time, say dogs everywhere. But catching and bringing them back for tennis players during an international event is an exciting chance for a few lucky dogs, who might not have felt very lucky before this.

Dogs at a Brazil Open exhibition match in Sao Paulo last week acted as “ball dogs,” collecting and — sometimes reluctantly — returning them to players Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain and Portugal’s Gastao Elias, CNN reports.  

The dogs were all strays rescued off the city streets and trained by the Association of Animal Wellbeing.

Look! Dog ball boys at the Brazil OpenWe had a cat on a tennis court yesterday. Today: DOG BALL BOYS! ????????

Posted by Newsbeat on Friday, February 26, 2016

 

When balls went out of play, the dogs seized the opportunity and dashed onto the court to collect them, wagging their tails the entire time. Getting the prized yellow fuzzy balls back was a little harder for the athletes, but Baena and Elias gamely played along and coerced the balls away from the happy hounds or waited for a trainer to do so.
 

The role dogs were born to perform: ball boys. Via Brasil Open de Tênis/Facebook

The role dogs were born to perform: ball boys. Via Brasil Open de Tênis/Facebook

This wasn’t the first time dogs did the ball-gathering work (and we hope it won’t be the last). Three dogs also played ball boys in 2015, at an ASB Classic practice match in Auckland, New Zealand, between Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Association of Animal Wellbeing trainer Andrea Beckert told CNN that recruiting these particular dogs for last week’s event had a deeper meaning behind it.

“We want to show that abandoned dogs can be adopted and trained,” she said. “After all, it’s not easy to get a dog to only pick up the lost balls, and then to give them up!”
 

Gastao Elias tries to coax a ball back for his match. Via Brasil Open de Tênis/Facebook

Gastao Elias tries to coax a ball back for his match. Via Brasil Open de Tênis/Facebook

The four dogs were Frida, Mel, Isabelle and Costela. “Costela” is “rib” in Portuguese.

“When we found him abandoned in an empty lot he was so skinny and ravaged by ticks that we called him Costela,” Beckert said.
 

Both Roberto Carballes Baena (above) and Elias were good sports about having extra help. Via Brasil Open de Tênis/Facebook

Both Roberto Carballes Baena (above) and Elias were good sports about having extra help. Via Brasil Open de Tênis/Facebook

The association currently has 1,200 dogs in its shelter. Beckert told CNN she hopes the “ball dog” initiative will raise awareness.

Fans cheered on the dogs during the half-hour they did their job. Spectators seemed almost as happy as the dogs about the spectacle. But, from the looks of the dogs on the court, that’s a strong “almost.”

Article Categories:
Trending

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *