Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

April 2018    Volume 17, Issue 5
Take Note! 
New Volunteer Orientation
June 9, 2018
  10:00am to 12:00 pm
July 15, 2018
2:00pm to 4:00 pm

November 3, 2018
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Harahan Senior Center
 100 Elodie
  Pre-registration required
Contact Claire Sommers at paws4visits@gmail.com to register
Pet/Handler Evaluation
July 28, 2018
January 5, 2019
 Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
 Pre-registration required
Contact Barbara Hyland to register at
 if you would like to have an additional pet tested.

Reading To Rover  
Held on the third Tuesday of each month at the East Bank Regional Library
4747 W. Napoleon in Metairie
Held on the second Tuesday of each month at Rosa Keller Library 4300 South Broad Street in New Orleans
6:00pm - 7:00pm
 Contact Fay Schultz
 to confirm your slot at any of these
Reading To Rover

Happy Retirement

The following VPP members recently retired their pets from service to the community. Our sincere thanks goes to:
Susan Talbot who
retired Magic.  Magic joined the VPP in 2015 and was a regular at Chateau Living Center. 

Our Deepest Sympathies

Bob Klare whose beloved Maggie  crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  Maggie joined the VPP in VPP in January of 2011 and retired in December of 2016.  At various times over those six years, Maggie was a regular at Reading to Rover, Children's Hospital, Chateau Living Center, and Colonial Oaks. 
and to 
Fay Schultz whose beautiful JJ  crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  
JJ joined the VPP in 2003.   JJ was a regular at Reading to Rover, St Margaret's and Waldon.   JJ also participated in the Ochsner Pet Program. 
and to 
Tere Walsh whose handsome dog Yaeger  crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  
Yaeger joined the VPP in 2009 and retired in 2017.
Yaeger was a regular at St Tammany Parish Hospital .

Four Paw Salute
Barbara Hyland would like to thank members of the Buddy Program who joined her in assisting with the probationary pet visits for the January'18 evaluation group. Everyone is always willing to buddy the new handlers and guide them on their visits.

Buddy members included Jeannette Albert, Diana Alcazar-O'Dowd, Pam Bellone, Cathy Burch, Kathleen Caulkins, Brenda Chetta, Jerry Gibel, Lori Haeuser, Dawn Hagmann, Malay Hajra, Kevin Hand, Delia Hardie, Denise Mehurin, Fay Schultz, Diane Smith, Claire Sommers, Monica Stephens, Joy Sturtevant and Rhonda Vergona. Members who assisted with the observation visit included Jennifer Burstain and Christie Thomas.

A thank you is extended to all the mentors who helped welcome the new handlers. 
 Quick Links
A Good Read 
Molly and the Accidental Adoption: A true story 
by Lee Gaffney (Author), 
Martha D. Ittenbach (Illustrator)
Molly and the Accidental Adoption tells the true story of the unplanned adoption of a shelter dog whose life was given a special purpose as an animal assisted therapy dog. Molly's new purpose gives her the opportunity to help many people, especially a young girl named Hannah. A vocabulary is included to help the your young reader understand new concepts involved in the life of an animal assisted therapy pet. Molly encourages spaying/neutering and rescue and adoption of animals in rescue organizations and animal shelters.
Available for purchase at amazon.com

Spring has finally sprung and our opportunities for service are blooming! Our monthly visits are discontinued from June to September, but that doesn't mean we aren't busy. The summer camps have already been calling and asking for our talented teams to visit. Local universities want our pups to provide a respite from the horrible storm known as finals. As always, our wonderful volunteers are eager and ready to serve. It's nice to have some time to provide our form of therapy in new and different ways.  

Be s ure to check out the great photos from our Annual Meeting. Our tha nks to Carol LaNasa for having a camera handy and tons of
patience!  Under a bright, sunny sky, 100 volunteers and family members, including 50 dogs, turned out for our event. All the pups were perfectly behaved as we celebrated our 31 years for service to the community. The buddies who no longer have pets in the program but continue to serve were honored as our Outstanding Volunteers. Our teams were acknowledged for their years of service with presentations topped off with fabulous door prizes.  
Cake by VPP member Sherry Barlow   
Take a short break for yourself after all you have done for others for the last 9 months. Have a safe and happy summer.
We'll see you in September!

With thanks for all you do,
Lee Gaffney
VPP Volunteer Appreciation Picnic/Annual Meeting   
2018 Award Recipients 

This year, our Outstanding Volunteers were a unique group: we honored our buddies who presently do not have a pet in the program but continue to volunteer as Buddies. These buddies have active lives, whether they are working, traveling or involved with other volunteer groups. After losing their own pet, they wanted to continue to be active in VPP and share the knowledge and skills they have acquired. This year we honored and thanked them with this special recognition.
Kimberly Clayton, Diane Smith, Kathleen Caulkins, 
Monica Stephens, Jeanette Albert, Bob Klare, 
Danna Morris, Mason Morris
Dawn Hagmann, Kevin Hand, Mike Azzarello 
Not pictured:Linda Bauer, Creevy Clay,Delia Hardie and Laura Williams   


20 Year Members

Lori Haeuser
Denise Mehurin   

10 Year Member

Malay Ghose-Hajra 

5 Year Members
Nancy Tatarski, Linda Bauer,  
Diana Alcazar-O'Dowd,  Rhonda Vergona

6 years 
Back Row: Maggie (Pat Egers), Parker (Claire Sommers)
Front Row: Beau (Charlotte Walker),
Guiness (Judy Haber Stone), Chloe (Suzette Hubbell) McKenzie (Nicole Parks with James), Chaz (Helen Hester)
Not pictured: Tej (Malay Hajra)  Beau   Charlotte Walker
  3 years  
Standing: Lucy (Holly Lambert),
Scout (Steve and Jean Inman) , Alex (Barbara Hyland), Stanley (Tom Gaffney),Cusco (Cindy O'Donnell),
Toodle Lou (Christie Thomas)
Front Row: Jesse (Rita Bezou), Gabby (Lee Gaffney), Evangeline (Sabrina Jacks)
Not pictured: Benny (Stacie Humble) 

Guardian Angels
Donations were received from
Lee Gaffney and Suzette Hubble
 in memory of
Terry Walsh's pet,
A donation was received from Amazon Smile
A donation was received from Humana
A donation was received from Lee Gaffney
in memory of
Jeff and Terry Stadler's dog,
A donation was received from Barbara Hyland
in memory of
Nancy Tatarski'
s husband,
Donations were received from
Christina Thomas and Lee Gaffney
in memory of
Sonja Flick
A donation was received from Connie Back
Donations were received from
Barbara Hyland and Claire Sommers  in honor of
Diane Smith's dog,
on her retirement

Donations were received from Claire Sommers,
Barbara Hyland and Lee Gaffney

 in memory of
Fay Schultz's dog

Donations were received from
Barbara Hyland and Lee Gaffney
in memory of

Bob Klare's dog

A donation was received from Lee Gaffney   in memory of
StacyWarnke and Terri Joia 's

About the Visiting Pet Program
The Visiting Pet Program is an all volunteer 501 (C)(3) non-profit animal assisted therapy organization serving Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes.

For the past 31 years, the volunteers of the VPP have lived up to their motto of "Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles" to the residents of nursing homes and hospitals.

Our literacy project, Reading to Rover, offers young readers the opportunity to practice their reading aloud skills to the gentle therapy dogs.

If you would like to make a donation to the Visiting Pet Program, please  mail your check to   P.O. Box 24748, New Orleans, LA 70184-4748 . Please note if your donation is in memory of a person or a pet. We will be happy to send an acknowledgment of your donation to the family. Please include the name and address to send the acknowledgment. Because we are a 501(C)(3) organization, your donation is tax deductible. We are an all volunteer organization. Your donation goes directly to the support of our mission. 

Thank you