The San Francisco 49ers have a secret weapon. She’s furry, small, snacks on kibble and plays with balloons.
Her name is Zoë, and she’s the official emotional support dog for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
In welcoming the year-old French Bulldog, the 49ers have become the first team in the NFL to have an emotional support dog for their team.
Zoë was adopted by Austin Moss, the team’s director of player engagement, in October of 2018, and since then, she’s become a warm, calming and positive presence for players. The team spends time with her before and after games and in between practices.
“The players rely on Zoë to brighten their day,” a spokesperson told CNN. “Meetings, practice, and workouts can make for a long day. Zoë acts as a stress reliever.”
While she’s currently registered as an emotional support dog, she’s working on becoming a certified therapy dog.
Since she joined the 49ers family, Zoë has cuddled up to many of her famous teammates, like Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Bosa, and has the photo proof to prove it on her Instagram.
“These guys are very strong powerful men that aren’t used to be able to express their emotions freely,” Moss told KRON. “But when you come in here in a safe space, and you know that it’s just about being yourself and having a good time and getting some help that you may need — Zoë brings a lot of value to that.”
The 49ers are experiencing a winning streak this season unlike past years; they are currently 6-0, with high chances of making it to the playoffs. She may be the smallest player on the team, but Zoë is already making a big impact.