Ball Dogs for Tennis Matches? What Could Go Wrong …?

Golden retrievers Cali and Orly stand on grass, surrounded by tennis balls
Wait, we have to give them back?

This is at the top of my “What were they thinking?!” list.

A pet insurance company in the UK had a great idea to highlight Britons’ love for dogs, dogs’ love for balls, and a general love for Wimbledon tennis: Ball dogs.

Their thought was to replace ball boys and girls with “ball dogs,” who would be trained to retrieve tennis balls during matches at Wimbledon. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, as the linked video illustrates.

The first thing that I thought of was what Cali and Orly would do: Hoard the balls. Plenty of retrievers … don’t. Not to mention other breeds. The Dalmatian in the video seems to be wondering what, exactly, she is expected to do with that round yellow thing.

The flip side, of course is the overachievers. We’ve all known one — a Lab or maybe a German shepherd — who would retrieve until she dropped from exhaustion. Between the slobbery balls and the risk of the dog racing out to meet and catch the ball before it even sailed over the net … well.

Spectators might love the lively antics, but I don’t think the human tennis players would enjoy the experience quite as much.

I am sure that some dogs — Koala comes to mind — would excel at this job. The spokesperson for the ManyPets insurance company calls it a “work in progress,” and admitted to some chaos in the training.. Let’s hope they find the right dogs for the job!