As we keep telling you, the reliance upon animals for emotional support is a trend that will continue to grow. This is wonderful news because that means more people will come to online resources (like us) for help! More importantly, this means that above all else, people will increasingly turn to a natural, healthy means of therapy. This is a far superior option than simply popping pills to cure mental or emotional ailments.
A few days ago, the San Francisco 49ers made headlines and it had nothing to do with the upcoming football season. As originally reported by Lindsay Jones of The Athletic, the San Francisco 49ers recently became the first NFL team to get an emotional support dog.
This is HUGE NEWS for a couple of reasons. First, anytime emotional support animals are positively reported on is great news. It simply means that more people will learn about the benefits of relying on animals for mental and emotional support. Second, this could not have come at a better time. Football season is upon us. The fact that one of the NFL’s most storied franchises has secured an emotional support dog now is perfect timing and allows for maximum visibility. However, perhaps the greatest benefit of this recent news pertains to the context.
Who are we talking about here? We are talking about the NFL. The NFL is all about “toughness” and hyper-masculinity. That is the very nature of the game and what the league is all about. The fact that the San Francisco 49ers secured an emotional support dog is huge news because it opens up a lot of opportunities. A lot of people, men in particular, watch these players every week. They cheer them on and in doing so, look up to them.
If they see that NFL players are not above acknowledging their mental and emotional state, then maybe they will follow this example.
Meet Zoë – The NFL’s Very First Emotional Support Dog
The San Francisco 49ers emotional support dog is a one-year old French Bulldog named Zoë. So how exactly did she become a part of the team?
The team’s director of player engagement, Austin Moss, adopted Zoë after discussing therapy dogs and mental health with members of the team. One of those members is Defensive End Solomon Thomas. Thomas has been very transparent about his depression, which stems from his sisters suicide nearly two years ago.
Thomas reasons that: “This is a very stressful job, it’s very hard for a lot of guys.”49ers general manager John Lynch also sees this as a positive change. He says: “I mean, football is so all-in, to have a place for them to go and kind of unplug, that was a good thing.”
In his comments to The Athletic, Thomas also mentions how playing with Zoë “resets” his day. This is the very purpose of emotional support animals. Holding and playing with an emotional support animal should make us gt lost in the moment. It does not matter what may be causing us to suffer. For that brief moment in time, all we have to do is hold onto our animal and they will heal us. This starts with helping us believe that everything will be okay.
If you want to see more of Zoë, follow her on Instagram.
Also make sure you register you animal as an emotional support animal! Start here.