An adorable French bulldog named Zoë is making headlines as the National Football League (NFL)’s first-ever emotional support dog. Since her arrival, the pooch has been providing joy and comfort to the San Francisco 49ers when they need it most.
Adopting an emotional support dog was not on the to-do list of the 49ers until one of their employees was tasked with dog-sitting another Frenchie, Vito. The pooch hung out at the team’s training facility every day, getting pets and cuddles from the players.
After seeing the positive effect Vito had on the team, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas realized that an emotional support dog would do them a world of good. So he discussed the idea with the director of player engagement, Austin Moss, and they decided to adopt Zoë.
Solomon went through a dark time when his elder sister passed away. However, whenever he’s bonding with Zoë, he’s relaxed and able to keep unpleasant thoughts from his head.
The defensive lineman is not the only one who loves having Zoë around — the rest of the team enjoys playing and cuddling with the pooch, too. Practices, meetings, and games could be tiring and stressful, but with the little Frenchie around, the players’ fatigue melts away.
Austin says that before the Frenchie’s arrival, the members of the team were not comfortable letting their emotions come to light. But something about Zoë’s friendliness encouraged the men to express their feelings and thoughts freely without fear of being judged.
And it seems that the cute Frenchie has had a significant impact on the 49ers. Thus far, they’re the number one team in the Western Division of the National Football Conference with six wins and zero losses.
Zoë is set to make an even greater difference in more people’s lives once she starts training as a therapy dog. After she gets her certification, the Frenchie can visit hospitals, nursing homes, and the like to bring smiles to dog lovers’ faces. Watch Zoë with the 49ers in the video below:
This Frenchie is getting inside the helmets of the NFL's 49ers.
Posted by USA TODAY on Saturday, October 5, 2019