Four shelter dogs, rescued from the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and trained to be "ball dogs," showed off their stuff during an exhibition tennis match at the Brazil Open on Feb. 25 (video below).
"We want to show that abandoned dogs can be adopted and trained," Andrea Beckert, a trainer with the Association of Animal Wellbeing, told CNN. "After all, it's not easy to get a dog to only pick up the lost balls, and then to give them up!"
Frida, Mel, Isabelle and Costela wore orange bandannas and retrieved tennis balls for their trainers and the players -- Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena and Portugal's Gastao Elias.
According to ATPWorldTour, the event was sponsored by Premier Pet, which has provided subsidized food for animals at shelters for years. The ball dogs are part of Associacao Bem-Estar Animal Amigos da Celia, a group that shelters more than 1,000 animals.
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“It was a lot of fun," Baena said. "I had never had dogs as ball boys. It was a really nice experience and for a good cause."
“I think it's an interesting initiative," Elias added. "It is important that people know about these organizations and I think it is a good way to promote them. I had a great time because it was a unique experience and I would for sure do it again."