This is awesome.
The Associated Press reported that the Brazilian Open tennis tournament used trained shelter dogs to retrieve balls during an exhibition match Thursday between Roberto Carballes Baena and Gastao Elias.
“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,” Marli Scaramella, the organizer of the ball-dog initiative, told the Associated Press.
There were four dogs in all and they spent 30 minutes working during the game.
While the balls were probably on the drooly side, the players seemed happy.
“These are dogs that were mistreated. We have to make them adapt, feel the environment, the court, the noise of the balls and the noise of the people. Some are doing well, others are still a little scared,” trainer Andrea Beckert told journalists, according to the AP story.
Beats having Kramer running around out there (right, Seinfeld fans?).
In the spirit of openness, I admit I have a shelter dog. However, he would never return a ball to me.