Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

September 2018   Volume 18, Issue 1
    Take Note!   

New Volunteer Orientation
November 3, 2018
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Harahan Senior Center
 100 Elodie
  Pre-registration required
Contact Barbara Hyland at  greytpets2@gmail.com to register

Pet/Handler Evaluation
January 5, 2019
 Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
 Pre-registration required
Barbara Hyland  
to register 
 if you would like to have an additional pet tested.

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

Our Deepest Sympathies
Louis Calato,   
 who lost his beautiful dog,  
Louis and Kozmo
joined VPP in 2013 and were regulars at  
Colonial Oaks.
and to
Diane Smith,  
who lost her beautiful dog,  
Emily joined VPP in 2004 and retired in 2018. 
Emily continued her therapy work in Santa Fe at the local hospital, outpatient chemotherapy center and hospice work. 
  Happy Retirement

The following VPP members recently retired their pets from service to the community. Our sincere thanks goes to:

Christie Thomas,
 who retired her dog,
Toodle Lou.
They joined VPP in 2014 and were regulars at Colonial Oaks.
Malay Ghose Hajra  
is retiring  
They joined in 2007 and were regulars at
Waldon Health Care and previously at
Children's Hospital. Malay will continue his visits with Tej, the German Shepherd.  
Rhonda and Rickie Vergona
are retiring
Molly joined in 2013 and was a regular at Pontchartrain Health Care. Rhonda and Rickie will continue visiting with their dogs
Maggie and Leo 

VPP Business Cards

Many of you have asked about the cute "business cards" our members use. I ' ve included Chaz's card as an example. If you are interested in purchasing, send 2 high resolution photos to  terriergr oup@gmail.com. The cost is $40 for 250 cards and can be paid via paypal on our web site.
 Quick Links
About 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 click on the button below or 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
Time to start our visits once again! Hard to believe we are entering our 31st year of service to Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. 
Our volun teers didn't take much of a break during the summer months. Read below about some of their many activities during the summer. We're ready to get the fall started with our Evaluation at the end of July and then welcome our new volunteers through out the fall. Read about our new teams in the article below.
Have a wonderful year of "Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles"!
With thanks for all you do,
Lee Gaffney
  VPP at Camp Tiger


On a beautiful Friday in May, a group of VPP pet-handler teams joined the fun at Camp Tiger hosted by the LSUHSC Med Students for special needs children. What a great camp and what a great day! 


VPP at Care Cadet Camp  


Barbara Hyland and Alex gave their annual summer presentation to the LASPCA Care Cadet Campers. Barbara said  it was exciting to share with the Care Cadets our new Members in Training Program/MIT.  They will now have an opportunity to become members of VPP.


New Airport Program

Wearing their new K9 Krewe "Pet Me" vest, 10 members of the Visiting Pet Program recently became the first therapy dogs to provide their special form of love to stressed out travelers at Louis Armstrong International Airport. Photo by Chris Granger: Brenda Chetta with Andy and Jerry Gibel with Tancuj in the concourse of Louis Armstrong Airport.

Participating volunteers must have been with the VPP for at least one year and must attend an airport orientation.
The program has been extremely well received by both passengers and airport staff. If you are interested in participating, contact Lee Gaffney at terriergroup@gmail.com.
  Meet the New VPP Volunteers
Kelly Altazin with Bitsy, the Cocker Spaniel Mix. Kelly works from home for a tech company based in San Francisco. Kelly also volunteers with ARNO doing home visits. Bitsy is very social as she attends Baby Cakes games, pet stores, bars and City Bark.
Marna Brigtsen with Bella, the Yellow Lab. Marna and her husband are the owners of Brigtsen's Restaurant, celebrating 32 years. Marna also enjoys gardening. Bella attended Connie Back's Obedience Course and goes anywhere and everywhere with Marna from the restaurant to the beach to pet stores.
Catherine Cowart with Esther, the Mini-Dachshund. Catherine is the owner of her own CPA firm called Carrollton Accounting LLC. Catherine also writes/sing music. Esther has completed beginner, intermediate and advanced training classes. She also can bow, shake each paw and give a high five.
Ashley Dunlop with Elijah and Abbigale, the Persian Cats. Ashley is employed with the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center and is also involved with the Covington Probation & Parole Office. Elijah and Abbigale are very laid back and as Ashley said, "They can nap for 23 hours out of the day."
Jenny Galpin with Jovi, the Boxer. Jenny is a retired teacher of youngsters at Sacred Heart and also a retired nurse. Jenny is a supporter of La Boxer Rescue. Jovi completed Basic Obedience and Training with Connie Back and loves to be petted.
Caroline Gilly with Gracie, the Maltipoo. Caroline has lived in North Carolina the past 22 years and moved back to New Orleans almost 2 years ago. Caroline's husband is retired and her children are grown and on their own. Gracie loves her neighbors and neighborhood walks.
Brittany Lehmann with Mindy, the Black Lab Mix. Brittany is a full-time student at Loyola and also a biology tutor in the Student Success Center. Brittany is also a volunteer/intern at Ochsner in the acute PT Department. Mindy enjoys pet events, meeting people and loves to swim.
Michelle Lesslie with Maggie, the Labrador Retriever Mix.
Michelle works at Milnor in the Technical Publications Department. Michelle also volunteers with La. Boxer Rescue as a foster mom. She also helped create and organizes each year their big fundraiser, Boxers, Brew & BBQ. Michelle is also involved in their food, donations and supply drives. Maggie attended Connie Back's classes, enjoys attending La. Boxer Rescue events and any dog events.
Tricia Loupe with Charlie, the Pekingese. Tricia is employed with Hancock Whitney Bank and also works with the Board of Directors and Management. Charlie loves going for daily walks and going to the park.
Pamela Pulsifer with Joe, the Yellow Lab. Pamela is a receptionist for a law firm that handles contractual cases between physicians seeking to join or leave practices and hospital situations. Pamela has successfully on her own been visiting St. Frances Villa Assisted Living with Joe. Joe interacts well with residents at St. Frances. Of interest, after an hour he picks up his leash with his mouth as a sign of 'it's time to go'.
Jeanne Saucer with Larry, the Lab/Hound Mix. Jeanne has been a special education teacher for the past 25 years. Jeanne is also familiar with a nursing home setting as she previously was a volunteer many years ago and also visiting a family member. Larry loves to be around people and responds to the commands of sit, stay and lay down.
Alison Soileau and Cassidy Soileau (MIT) with Dixon, the Greyhound. Alison is a former member of VPP and has returned with her daughter Cassidy. Alison celebrated her 20th anniversary with Ochsner Health System this year. Cassidy, a Member In Training, is starting high school this year and as she said, she is joining VPP "Because I think it's a good thing to do." Dixon enjoys his walks and the park but especially camping with the family.
Marcia Stubbs with Louie, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Marcia worked in finance positions prior to her retirement. Marcia operates a B&B and also teaches piano to several neighborhood children. Louie is familiar with wheelchairs and a nursing home environment from visiting a family member. Louie is also a regular at the Old Point Bar near his home.
Pamela Taquino with Lady, the Boxer. Pamela has been a Human Resource Manager for 15 years. Pamela is also involved with Jefferson SPCA and pet adoptions. Lady attended Novice Obedience Training with Connie Back several years ago. Lady also enjoys walks and visiting dog parks.
VPP Members with an Additional Pet 
Suzanne Christensen with Tallulah, the Golden Retriever. Suzanne is an active member of the VPP with her dog, Harper Lee. Suzanne is also involved in our Reading to Rover Program and visiting at Children's Hospital. Tallulah loves walking on Magazine Street, going to restaurants and staying at hotels.
Kevin Hand and Tito, the Chihuahua/Dachshund Mix. Kevin is a board member/Treasurer of VPP as well as a CPA. Kevin has three, four-legged children. Kevin's dog Hercules is retired from VPP. Tito enjoys meeting people and going to the dog park.
Fay Schultz with Lil Bit, the Chihuahua/Terrier Mix. Fay is a board member of VPP, has had several dogs in the program and is the coordinator for our Reading To Rover Program. Fay also volunteers at Ochsner with the hospital's pet therapy program. Lil Bit is familiar with the environment of a nursing home, enjoys people and loves to go to Petco.
Terry & Jeff Stadler with Lucy, the Pug.   Terry and Jeff have been active members in VPP for three years and volunteer at events such as our orientations and evaluations. Terry works at Ochsner Baptist in NICU as an Enteral Nutrition Tech. Jeff works for the Marine Corps as a Housing Director. Lucy loves to go on walks and meet people.
Monica Stephens with Frankie the Schnauzer Mix. Monica has been a member since 1999 and has had 5 dogs, both big and small in the program. Monica is employed with Beads by the Dozen in Accounts Receivable. Monica is also a pet-sitter. Frankie enjoys pet festivals, shopping at pet stores and going to bars, drinking water only.
Guardian Angels
A donation was received from
Donna Williams
A donation was received from
Network for Good
A donation was received from
United Way Midland County
A donation was received from
Mary Tidwell

for all two and four legged volunteers of VPP
A donation was received from
New York Community Trust
Donations were received from staff and faculty in the office of undergraduate Medical Education at
LSU Health Science Center

in memory of
Joy Sturtevant's mother, Lois Sturtevant.
A donation was received from
Aetna Foundation
in honor of  Barbara Hyland
A donation was received from
Shannon Luna

in honor of
Kathleen Caulkins' birthday
A donation was received from
Barbara Hyland

in honor of
Louis Calato's pet,
A donation was received from
Sam Welsh
a visitor from New Orleans international airport
who met one of our volunteers with the airport program 
Donations were received from
Danna Morris, Claire Sommers
, and Barbara Hyland
in memory of  
Diane Smith's dog,  
A donation was received from  
Jill Dolese 
in memory of Jill's dogs,  
Rocky and Chance