What comes to mind when you think of a ball boy? A young child running on and off the court collecting balls for tennis players, probably. But what if a dog were to do this? It makes sense – they love to play fetch, but in reality would it actually work?
Well, they’re being used in Brazil and it looks like it does! These are stray dogs that were abandoned in Sao Paulo slums, and have since been a second chance at life after being trained as ‘ball dogs’ at the Brazil Open.
If you aren’t already searching through the dogs for sale from freeads to give a dog a new lease of life yourself, here are further examples of amazing animal training.
We all know that Guide Dogs are trained for an incredible reason – to be eyes for those who unfortunately don’t have their sight. But there are two dogs that really stand out, whose training meant they were loyal to their owner in the most extreme of circumstances.
In 2001 Salty and Roselle led their owners down 70 floors in the World Trade Centre before the towers collapsed on September 11th. They were awarded a joint Dickin Medal for their loyalty and courage.
(Ashleigh and) Pudsey
Dogs again, but this time the focus is on the 2012 winner of Britain’s Got Talent. Pudsey danced all the way to the final and after winning the show went on to star in his own movie – in which he does all his own stunts. As his owner Ashleigh couldn’t perform with him, he learnt sign language so she could show him what to do from behind the camera. Not only have Ashleigh and Pudsey become celebrities thanks to the dog’s clever tricks, he has also earned them more than £1million.
Stella The Staffie
Stella the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was taken to the RSPCA when she was found abandoned. Her breed has a bad name, but luckily for Stella, the kennel supervisor saw her potential and she was placed with PC Claire Todd from Gloucester Police to begin her sniffer dog training. She was a natural and completed a six-week course in just four weeks – she now works alongside the police to search for drugs, money including sterling and euros, and guns and ammunition. She was awarded for this at the Animal Hero Awards in 2015, when she took home the title of ‘Public Service Animal of the Year.’
It’s not only dogs that can be trained, and sometimes animals don’t even have to be trained to do incredible things. There has been much controversy surrounding whales being kept in captivity, highlighted particularly by the Blackfish documentary that focussed on the Orcas at SeaWorld. But what this does show is the height of a whale’s intelligence, and that they can be trained to do impressive tricks and stunts. However, one whale did something quite amazing and it wasn’t part of a routine. Back in 2009 free-diver Yang Yun thought she was going to die when her legs were paralysed by artic temperatures during a free diving contest at Polar Land in Harbin, north-east China. But a Beluga whale named Mila saw what was happening and guided Yun safely back to the top of the pool.
Animals are amazing creatures and far more intelligent than they are often given credit for, learning not only what they are trained to do but also showing an understanding and skills far beyond what us humans think we have enabled them to do.
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.