Stray Dogs Are Being Trained to Be “Ball Dogs” for the Brazil Open
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
Looks like a new type of fetch is happening at the Brazil Open tennis tournament.
Four stray Brazilian dogs were given a second chance when they were taken in by a rescue shelter in São Paolo, Brazil and trained to be “ball dogs” for the Brazil Open. The four dogs made their big debut on Thursday during the match between Spain’s Roberto Carbelles Baena and Portugal’s Gastao Elias.
The four dogs, known as Frida, Mel, Isabelle, and Costela, are the perfect example of what can happen when rescue dogs are given attention and someone cares for them.
“We want to show that abandoned dogs can be adopted and trained,” trainer Andrea Beckert from the Association of Animal Wellbeing shared with CNN. “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 were trained to chase after a ball once it had gone out of play and then return them (rather reluctantly) to a dog trainer or another ball boy or ball girl during the match.
Beckert explained that the Association of Animal Wellbeing is currently sheltering about 1,200 dogs and she “hopes to raise awareness with the ‘ball dog’ initiative.”
After their premiere match, the dogs came to make a special appearance during the final game on Sunday.
Check out the dogs’ in action below!