Source: CBS Sports

Heather Mau, assistant athletic trainer for the Dallas Mavericks, noticed players grabbing extra breakfast not due to increased appetite but to lure in Bailey, the team’s two-year-old mini Bernedoodle emotional support animal. The Mavericks are the first NBA team to have an emotional support animal, with Bailey bringing benefits despite the team’s busy schedule. Mau hopes to inspire other organizations to follow suit.

Head coach Jason Kidd and higher-ups approved getting Bailey, and Mau eagerly volunteered to care for her full-time. Bailey attends all team activities and receives plenty of treats. Players like Dwight Powell and Josh Green spoil her, recognizing her as a teammate. Bailey brings joy to the organization, despite occasional mischievous behavior. The San Francisco 49ers also have a similar program with Zoe, a French bulldog. Mental health professionals advocate for therapy animals, citing their ability to reduce stress and boost mood.

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