SAO PAULO Ė A group of abandoned dogs got a chance to show off their ball-retrieving skills this weekend at the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo, giving the pooches an opportunity to catch the eye of someone willing to give them a forever home.
Dexter, Ovelha and Pretinha were among the six strays that showed off their techniques as ball dogs Saturday before the semifinal match between Spainís Albert Ramos ViŮolas and Portugalís Joao Sousa.
Tennis fans got a look at the dogs before they took to the court at the ATP 250 clay-court event at the Pinheiros Club, where they provided a lending paw in retrieving balls.
The ball dogs were in action during a brief hitting exhibition between Brazilian Davis Cup captain Jo„o Zwetsch and Marcelo Demoliner, who played doubles at the tournament.
The pooches, wearing wristbands on their front legs and blue bandannas around their necks, had a rough start when Pretinha, the first ball dog to take the court, refused to chase the ball and then decided to take care of some ďpersonal businessĒ on the red clay.
The 28-year-old Demoliner ended up carrying Dexter, a 2-year-old mutt who was exhausted after chasing balls around the court.
Dexter was abandoned outside the offices of Projeto Segunda Chance, a non-profit organization that operates a shelter in Sao Paulo, Brazilís largest city.
Segunda Chance trained three of the ball dogs, while another animal rescue group, C„o sem dono, trained the other three in an effort to draw attention to Brazilís homeless dogs and increase adoptions.