Brazil Open Tennis Match Replaces Ball Boys with Dogs


(Photo: Getty)

It's a stressful time to be a sports fan.

Football is gone and its only mention is tied to words like brain damage and sexual harassment.

Basketball fans are finally realizing that any team not called the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, or Cavaliers isn't winning the NBA championship this year.

Real baseball doesn't start for more than another month.

And if you live in America, regardless of which side of the political spectrum you're on, you're pretty sure the world is going to hell in a handbasket if the "other" "side" "wins."

So here's something to help you ease your minds: dogs replacing ball boys in a tennis match.

Thankfully for the very game tennis players, Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena and Portugal's Gastao Elias, this match held at the Brazil Open didn't actually count. It was an exhibition to help raise awareness for pet adoption in Brazil. 

"We want to show that abandoned dogs can be adopted and trained," said Andrea Beckert, a trainer at the Association of Animal Wellbeing. "After all, it's not easy to get a dog to only pick up the lost balls, and then to give them up!"

The dogs' names are Frida, Mel, Isabelle, and Costela—which means "rib" in Portuguese.

"When we found him abandoned in an empty lot he was so skinny and ravaged by ticks that we called him Costela," Beckert said.

"The idea is to show people that a well-fed and well-treated animal can be very happy," said organizer Marli Scaramella, who noted all fours dogs came from the streets of Sao Paulo and currently reside at a shelter there. "We have more than 1,000 dogs in our care,"

The dogs also took place in the Open's award ceremony.