The idea of replacing human ball boys with dogs was indeed a genius one. At the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo recently, the doggie ball boys collected tennis balls and were seen handing the balls promptly to the tennis players. These new ball boys were exceptional in retrieving the balls as soon as they bounced off the court.
Costela, Isabelle, Mell and Frida are stray dogs and, although not permanently, residents in a Sao Paulo shelter. They had been rescued and trained for their new occupation, and were no longer roaming about in the poverty street of Sao Paulo. Only dogs that have retrieving tendencies were chosen for the role.
The dogs happily walked into the Brazil Open with the players, Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain and Gastão Elias of Portugal, who looked extra cheerful. Costela, Isabelle, Mell and Frida, all looked dashing with their oranges scarves draped around their necks. They seem just as cheerful as the two tennis players.
The crowd cheered and laughed as one of the dogs retrieved a stray tennis ball and pretended to give it to Gastão. As he reached for the ball, the dog ran away, causing Gastão to chase after it. That funny moment touched the hearts of many and citizens were quick to converse more on the topic of animal adoption.
As the match progressed on, some of the dogs did exceptionally well in retrieving but not so much as letting go. Other times, they seemed a bit lost but perhaps it's due to the loudness of the crowd.
"We want to show that abandoned dogs can be adopted and trained," said Beckart, the trainer of Costela, Isabelle, Mell and Frida. "After all, it's not easy to get a dog to only pick up the lost balls, and then to give them up!"
Overall, the cause to raise awareness of animal adoption was a success. Dogs are now deemed the best ball boys in the world. They are entertaining and gets the job done.
Back in 2015, a friendly match in New Zealand between Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova, did the same thing. They hired three talented four-legged ball boys who efficiently retrieved the stray balls and turned them into chew toys. After the match, one of the dogs stole Kuznetsova's towel and played tug of war. The funny incident made the crowd and Venus, herself, laugh and cheered for the dog to win.