therapy dogs ICOM

Second-year medical student Matthew Salvati with Little Bear.

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MERIDIAN — As student-doctors at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine wrapped up their final exams on Wednesday, Feb. 19, they were visited by a group of four-legged friends. A team of therapy dogs from Go Team Therapy Dogs of Idaho, the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization, visited ICOM’s Meridian campus to provide stress relief and emotional support.

“The second-year students are in the middle of finals week and the first-year students will have final exams next week,” said Michal Kozdronkiewicz, OMS-I. “Everyone is busy cramming for exams and hitting the books, so it’s nice to have the dogs here to help us de-stress a little bit.”

The student doctors were visited by a Newfoundland named Solo, a Havanese named Jamaica, a Golden Doodle named Maggie, an Australian Shepherd named Jazz, and a Labrador mix named Little Bear. Go Team Therapy Dogs of Idaho has a team of more than 60 therapy dogs who work throughout the Treasure Valley, visiting hospitals, nursing homes, the airport, and schools, among other places.

“Jamaica has been a therapy dog for three years,” said Kelli Larson, Go Team volunteer and Jamaica’s handler. “Dogs are amazing — there are studies that show that dogs will lower your blood pressure, increase your cortisol level, and they do amazing things for all of us.”

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