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Animals can provide important support during medical school. Students launched Pets in Medicine to help fellow students find care for their furry loved ones.

IU School of Medicine students launch pet sitting site for trainees

Small dog with two hearts

Pets provide a backbone of emotional support and are important members of the family. Recognizing this, fourth-year medical student Gabriel Gerena and third-year medical student Deena Mohamed recently launched Pets in Medicine, a pet sitting site designed exclusively for IU School of Medicine learners to use for any occasion, such as away rotations, busy days at clinics and personal events.

The idea sprung from their personal experiences in medical school as they tried to find care for their own pets. Gerena completed his psychiatry rotation in New Albany, IN. “As an out-of-state student, I did not have family around to help take care of my golden retriever. The alternative was to pay a significant amount of money to board my dog and that was just not feasible with the limited amount of financial help I receive,” Gerena said.

Care for pets is a consistent issue during medical school, especially for third- and fourth-year students who complete away rotations. Long hours combined with high costs for care contribute to challenges medical students face caring for their pets.

Gerena and Mohamed worked to design the Pets in Medicine site to be easily accessible to all students. They envision this initiative expanding to help residents, physicians and faculty. In addition, Gerena and Mohamed strongly believe in the role of pets as a form of emotional support during the rigors of medical training.

“Being an out-of-state student can be difficult at times, and having my dog has helped me tremendously,” Gerena said.

The site can be used to fill various needs and remove the stress of worrying about finding and paying for care. Students with all kinds of pets are able to look for someone to help with their needs, such as dog-walking, in home check-ins, and short or long-term sitting. Even students who don’t own a pet can volunteer to provide these services for fellow students around the state.

“I don’t know if I can easily summarize how my puppy, Angel, has helped me this past year,” Mohamed said. “Her unconditional support reduces my anxiety and general sadness that comes with being under chronic stress.”

Are you available to help out students with caring for their pets? Are you looking for who might be available to care for your pet? Access Pets in Medicine.

The Pets in Medicine site requires IU Login. Students can “create a listing” using the button found at the bottom of the page, and adjust or hide their listing at any time. Please note at this time the list of contacts will expand as people create listings to offer services.

Having Trouble Accessing Pets in Medicine?

If you’re getting a 404 error, it is most likely because some personal credentials are being recognized rather than your IU credentials. Some instructions to resolve the issue are as follows:

  1. Open an incognito/private browser so that it doesn’t pull in any personal Google accounts/profiles and block your access
  2. Navigate to the Pets in Medicine site
  3. If you’re not already signed into IU Login:
    1. When the Google Sign-In pops up, type in your IU username plus “”, e.g. (don’t use,, etc.)
    2. You will be prompted to login with your full IU credentials as usual, then the site should appear

If you are still unable to access the site using the instructions above, take the following steps:

  1. Navigate to Google Login via
  2. Navigate to the top right side of the screen and click the letter icon to view account(s)
    1. Select your account if it is shown
    2. If you don’t see your IU account listed as an option, click “Add Another Account”
      • Type in your IU username plus “”, e.g. (don’t use,, etc.)
      • You will be prompted to login with your IU credentials
  3. Navigate back to the Pets in Medicine site from the same browser.
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Susanna Scott

Susanna focuses on communication for Medical Student Education, Faculty and Staff. She is also working toward her doctorate in health communication at IUPUI.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.