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Shelter dogs impress crowds with their skills at Brazil tennis match (VIDEO)

My dog loves her tennis balls more than all the other things in her life combined, including her dinner (and possibly me). She would do anything for a tennis ball, but for these rescue dogs in São Paulo, Brazil, retrieving tennis balls is more than just a game — it’s a life-changing experience. 

These adorable strays were gathered from shelters around São Paulo and trained to do a very special job: retrieve tennis balls during matches. This job is traditionally performed by humans, who graciously stepped aside to let these absolutely fetching pups do their thing.

The ball girls and boys obviously didn’t mind these pups stealing the limelight, and the four dogs who featured in Thursday’s exhibition match between Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena and Portugal’s Gastao Elias gave the crowd another reason to cheer.

More: Children are reading to shelter dogs, and the results will make you melt

The players were happy to welcome their new four-legged helpers as well. David Marrero takes a moment here to love up on rescue dog Isabelle, who is doing her best to charm him and the crowd with her silky ears and soft brown eyes.

More: Rescue dog’s dramatic transformation is heartwarming

While the players did their best on the court, Isabelle, Frida, Costela and Mel had something of their own to prove. These four shelter dogs are perfect examples of what a little love, patience and training can do to transform a stray dog into a lovable — and even useful — pet. As anyone with a dog or two of their own knows, getting a dog to chase after a tennis ball is easy. Convincing your dog to return with that tennis ball is a little trickier, especially when surrounded by a crowd full of enthusiastic fans.

More: 7 adorable rescue dogs that are loving life

While some of the dogs seemed a little reluctant to give up their prizes at first, their training clearly showed as they fetched and retrieved ball after ball for their handlers. All the dogs behaved at the sidelines, accepting praise and adoration from their new fans and patiently awaiting their next chance to chase down a rogue ball.

More: 12 truths about rescue dogs every owner understands

These ball dogs remind us of all the reasons we love rescue dogs. If you are considering bringing a dog into your home, give dogs like Isabelle, Frida, Costela and Mel a chance, and find out why so many people choose to adopt rescue dogs.

To see these professional ball dogs in action, check out the video below.

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