Brazil Tennis Open sees shelter dogs as ‘Ball Boys’ for adoption awareness

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In a bid to find homes and raise awareness for some of the street dogs of Sao Paolo, a unique and entertaining plan was put into place during an exhibition match at the Brazil Tennis Open in the city last week. 

dogs tennis
Portugal’s Gastao Elias receives a ball from a dog during the Brazil Open tennis tournament in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Four trained shelter dogs that once roamed the streets of Sao Paulo found themselves center stage at the ATP 250 Brazil Open tournament. The unusual initiative was made to promote the adoption of abandoned street animals. (AP Photo/Leandro Martins – Caption: Huffington Post)

The four dogs lined the court, decked out in colourful regalia, as they waited for opportunity to ‘fetch’ any balls which went awry in a match between the internationally ranked Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain and Gastao Elias of Portugal. Costela, Frida, Mel and Isabelle were the adorable canine helpers who left a huge impression on both the crowd and the players, as they followed the commands of their trainer, fetching and returning any of the balls which went off court.

There were even a few intentional misses so that the crowd could get another glimpse of the ‘ball boys’ at work, which was met with rapturous applause every time.

In an  interview with Fox News Latino, Marli Scaramella explained how the dogs came from a local shelter and had made huge progress with a little love and a caring hand, before adding;

“The idea is to show people that a well-fed and well-treated animal can be very happy. We have more than 1,000 dogs in our care.”

The dogs almost outperformed the players during the game, which will be restaged with human ball boys at a later date.

Colin J McCracken

Colin J McCracken is a content designer, editor and writer from Ireland. Giving form and function to the My Good Planet vision, it has been his role to design and develop the online platform, content and presence of the project.

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