From pulling sledges through the snow to assisting blind people, humans have used dogs to do jobs for thousands of years. But this week a group of former shelter dogs from Sao Paolo in Brazil will find themselves with an ace job that plenty of people would love to have!
As part of an initiative to promote the adoption of street dogs, the organisers of the Brazilian Open have employed four formerly homeless dogs as “ball dogs”. The four pooches (Frida, Costela, Mel and Isabelle) have been trained to sit at the side of the court to fetch any tennis balls that go out of bounds.
Marli Scaramella, the organizer of the initiative, said, “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.” All four of the ball dogs are still living in shelters and waiting to be adopted into a permanent home.
So far the pooches have been trained for two months, but have only been trialled during practice and exhibition matches. And hopefully all their hours of practice will come in handy when they officially take up their positions during the quarter-finals of the tournament next Friday.
So it turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
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