The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers have an emotional support dog on staff, an idea that we love.
The National Football League is, among other things, a stressful environment. So to combat that, the San Francisco 49ers have added an emotional support dog on staff.
This is very fitting, as (sorry to get nerdy over etymology here) the name Zoe means “Life” in Greek.
She belongs to Austin Moss, the 49ers’ director of player engagement, whose job, according to the team media guide, covers everything from transitioning into or out of the NFL to financial literacy and assisting with family matters among players.
“The players rely on Zoë to brighten their day,” a San Francisco 49ers spokesperson told CNN. “Meetings, practice, and workouts can make for a long day. Zoë acts as a stress reliever.”
According to the American Kennel Club, to be considered an emotional support dog, it must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional for a patient with a debilitating mental illness.
They are not classified as service dogs, because they are not trained to provide a specific form of assistance that directly correlates to a person’s disabilities (for example, turning off the light switch in the other room for a wheelchair-bound person).
At a year old, Zoe is still a teenager in dog years, but she’s already in her second season with the team, and her youthful and perky presence around the offices has likely played a small role in San Francisco’s success this season.
Along with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, San Francisco is currently one of two undefeated teams in the NFL during the 2019 season, and they hold a 6-0 record and first place in the four-team NFC West.
They just triumphed in a road contest against the Washington Redskins 9-0 as a rainstorm turned FedEx Field into a small lake.
Zoe has her own Instagram page, where she has been documented hanging out with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, defensive end Nick Bosa, and wide receiver Shawn Poindexter’s Frenchie Charlie. She can be followed at the handle @The49ersFrenchie.
If more teams followed San Francisco’s lead, the NFL would be a much better place. Imitate the NHL and the plethora of hockey dogs! Still, the Cleveland Browns have the legacy of Swagger and SJ, and the Kansas City Chiefs’ sideline mascot is a wolf, so that’s something.
The San Francisco 49ers host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, October 27 at Levi’s Stadium at 3 p.m. ET on Fox. For more San Fran football coverage within the FanSided Network, see our sister sites Golden Gate Sports and Niner Noise.