If other professional football teams want to learn the secret behind the San Francisco 49ers’ amazing start this season (eight straight wins and no losses as of this writing), they should consider the role of Zoë. Zoë is the National Football League’s first Emotional Support Dog and an asset to the team.
Zoë helps both players and staff, reduces stress and anxiety, and brings happiness to a group of people who frequently experience physical pain and deal with emotional problems. Yes, the players and a lot of the coaches have their dream jobs and love what they do, but that doesn’t mean they have an easy life. Working for the NFL means sitting in a pressure cooker, and dealing with that stress all the time takes its toll.
In 2018, an employee brought a French bulldog named Vito to work while the dog was putting him. The players couldn’t spend enough time with Vito, and defender Solomon Thomas launched a campaign to encourage the team to adopt a dog. Thomas had recently lost his sister to suicide and was very open to the mental health problems he has faced since then. Being around Zoë brought him relief from the pain and made him feel better.
Thomas asked Austin Moss II, the director of player engagement, to officially add a dog to the team, and Moss eventually did. Moss is the dog’s official guardian. Zoë spends most of her days at the training facility, but she goes home with Moss every night. Although each of the 49ers has a connection with her, she has her own guardian and a normal family life. She does not take part in away games, so she is spared the stress of traveling to new places.
The players love to hang out with her, cuddle her, and train her. If you want to see many more adorable pictures and videos from Zoë, you can follow her on Instagram: @ the49ersfrenchie.