Due to last year’s success, ball boys and girls will once again be kicked off court as ‘ball dogs’ are back in Sao Paulo, at this year’s annual tennis tournament – with sweatbands on their ankles and headbands around there…necks? Twelve months ago, four previously abandoned dogs from local shelters in the surrounding area, were showcased at the clay-court tournament in Brazil’s largest city. As a result, all four were eventually adopted!

This year however, six dogs with ages ranging from four to ten will be fetching balls during the warm-ups on the semi-final and final days on March 4th and 5th. Cindy, Nanda, Pretinha, Mia, Arlete and Ovelha will be showing off their ball collecting skills in the hope that they too will be adopted by a loving new family, who might just happen to be sitting in the audience.

Madalena Spinazzola, from dog-food producers Premier Pet is organising the initiative with the tournament and told the following to the Brazil Open website:

"They are dogs that have had a difficult trajectory, yes, but what we want to point out is not the history suffered from the past, but to prove that no matter what they have gone through, they can be great companions today and in the future!"

The dogs involved in last year’s tournament were finally fortunate enough to find their own homes. One of them, by the name of Isabelle, was eventually renamed by the couple that adopted her. Rather fittingly, she’s now referred to as Serena…

If you’d like to see how these wonderful shelter dogs got on last year, click here.

Images courtesy of CNN.
George Welsby

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