ISJ - Therapy dogs bring smiles during finals week at ICOM

MERIDIAN — As the student doctors of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) wrapped up their cardiovascular exams on Friday, March 15, they were visited by a group of four-legged friends.

A team of therapy dogs from Helping Idaho Dogs, Inc., a local non-profit organization, visited ICOM’s Meridian campus to provide stress relief and emotional support.

“Pretty much every day this week has been spent studying and taking tests,” said Sam Loescher, OMS-I. “So having these dogs here to help relieve some stress is great. I grew up with Great Danes, and having a dog to pet feels really nice.”

The student doctors were visited by Fen and Blaze, both Golden Retrievers, and Louie, a Labradoodle. Helping Idaho Dogs, Inc. has a team of 17 registered therapy dogs who work throughout the Treasure Valley, visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, among other places.

“We saw the students come in and pretty quickly they had big smiles on their faces. You can just see that it really made a difference,” said Nancy Eimer, board member of Helping Idaho Dogs Inc., and Blaze’s handler. “You could see the joy in the students and the joy in the dogs because they truly love what they do. Seeing others benefit from the love my dog shares is priceless.”