Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

April 2017    Volume 16, Issue 5
Take Note! 
                        CELEBRATING
30 SUCCESSFUL
YEARS
    
    
New Volunteer Orientation
 
  Saturday,
June 10, 2017
  10:00am to 12:00 pm
 
Sunday,
July 9, 2017
2:00pm to 4:00 pm

Saturday,
October 14, 2017
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
Saturday,
August 5, 2017
 
  Saturday,
January 6, 2018
 
 Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
 Pre-registration required
   
Contact Barbara Hyland to register at
greytpets2@gmail.com  
 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
6:30pm-7:30pm
 and
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
events.
    
   
Our Deepest Sympathies
 to 

Monica Stephens,
whose beautiful Ridgeback, Pixie, passed away in February.

Pixie joined in 2013 and was a regular at St Joseph's.

and to 

Clay Latimer,
whose Greyhound Connie passed away in February.

Clay and Connie joined the VPP in 2011 and retired in 2014.   She was a regular at the East Jefferson General Hospital visits.



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'17 evaluation group. Everyone is always willing to buddy the new members and guide them on their visits.

Buddy members included Jeannette Albert, Diana Alcazar-O'Dowd, Mike Azzarello, Connie Back, Linda Bauer, Brenda Becnel, Cathy Burch, Kathleen Caulkins, Brenda Chetta, Creevy Clay, Lee Gaffney, Jerry Gibel, Lori Haeuser, Dawn Hagmann, Malay Hajra, Kimberley Hamlen, Kevin Hand, Bob Klare, Denise Mehurin, Nicole Parks, Fay Schultz, Diane Smith, Claire Sommers, Monica Stephens and Nancy Tatarski. In addition, the following members assisted with observation visits: Andrea Finkelstein, Bruce Galbraith, Stacie Humble and Clay Latimer.

A thank you is extended to all the mentors who helped welcome the new handlers. 
 
 Quick Links
A Good Read 
This one is pretty special.
Be sure to read it.

From the American Boxer Club Newsletter  
"In The Know" 
March 28, 2017

Cozette is number four in our ABC Unsung Hero nominee series

"Cozette"
TER DAN GOIN TOPLESS AT CODACK, CD BN RE NA NAJ CAX BCAT RATO

Bringing Love  
and Leaving Smiles
 
Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs that are precisely trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as planes, restaurants, stores, etc.
 
Therapy dogs are dogs that go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people.

8-year-old Boxer Cozette (Ter Dan Goin Topless At Codack, CD BN RE NA NAJ CAX BCAT RATO) was certified as a therapy dog by the Visiting Pet Program of New Orleans in 2010. Her dedicated handler, Connie Back, is a 20-year steadfast member of the same program. Cozette and Connie have currently applied for the Therapy Dog Excellent Title through AKC.

The team visits hospitals, nursing homes, colleges (during stressful exam periods), and Cozette is also a demo dog for many Louisiana SPCA training programs because of her incredibly stable temperament.  Her favorite places to visit are Magnolia School (a live-in home for adults with developmental and learning disabilities) and New Orleans Children's Hospital.
 
Lee Gaffney, President of the Board of Directors for the Visiting Pet Program of New Orleans says, "The day I met Cozette, as a very young puppy, her potential as a therapy dog was obvious. Her gentleness, predictability, stable temperament, and sweetness were all tempered with just the right amount of goofiness! She can be a clown in a nurse's uniform; that's what makes her so very good at her job."
 
Having therapy dogs in the hospital helps normalize the setting for children who are away from home under scary and unpleasant circumstances. Sometimes, the staff and parents
get as much out of the visit as the children do. Often a dog, especially a Boxer, is the last thing a child expects to see in their room. Often they miss their pets at home, and although the therapy dog isn't their dog, it is a soft, lovable dog, and therefore a perfect diversion from the routine of their hospital stay.

The team visits hospitals, nursing homes, colleges (during stressful exam periods), and Cozette is also a demo dog for many Louisiana SPCA training programs because of her incredibly stable temperament.  Her favorite places to visit are Magnolia School (a live-in home for adults with developmental and learning disabilities) and New Orleans Children's Hospital.

Lee Gaffney, President of the Board of Directors for the Visiting Pet Program of New Orleans says, "The day I met Cozette, as a very young puppy, her potential as a therapy dog was obvious. Her gentleness, predictability, stable temperament, and sweetness were all tempered with just the right amount of goofiness! She can be a clown in a nurse's uniform; that's what makes her so very good at her job."

Having therapy dogs in the hospital helps normalize the setting for children who are away from home under scary and unpleasant circumstances. Sometimes, the staff and parents get as much out of the visit as the children do. Often a dog, especially a Boxer, is the last thing a child expects to see in their room. Often they miss their pets at home, and although the therapy dog isn't their dog, it is a soft, lovable dog, and therefore a perfect diversion from the routine of their hospital stay.

At a recent visit to the Children's Hospital, Cozette did her little 1-2-3-BOING trick for one of the children. The child's mother followed Connie out into the hall and explained that was the first time her child had smiled in a week. 

Connie is the founder of the Louisiana Boxer Rescue. She began her rescue efforts after saving a Boxer off the streets of New Orleans. For more than 16 years, with the help of LaBR volunteers Connie has rescued and placed more than 1,200 Boxers, fostering as many as 15 Boxers at any given time. Cozette has been the "tester dog" for many, many rescues that have come through their doors.  She has tolerated the nonstop in and out of rescues through her home, never having a harsh word for any of them.  She is a demo dog for Connie's obedience classes every week and currently competes in Lure Coursing events, Barn Hunt and Agility.

Cozette has spent hours upon hours at fundraisers in the Kissing Booth, kissing paying customers and raising literally thousands of dollars. She has made numerous television appearances for Louisiana Boxer Rescue and The Visiting Pet Program of New Orleans. 

Lee Gaffney refers to Cozette as "bullet proof", stating, "Nothing rattles this beautiful dog. Not another dog, not a piece of equipment, not even metastatic adenocarcinoma."

Cozette was diagnosed with this horrible form of cancer late last summer, right at the beginning of the visiting season. Throughout all her treatments, she never missed a visit, never missed a beat. This amazing dog offered her services with enthusiasm and dedication. She was a pro and a champ through it all. She knew she had a job to do and did it without hesitation. Therapy dogs visit people with serious illnesses; few dogs have a serious illness and continue to serve their mission. Thankfully, Cozette is now cancer free and continuing with her efforts to live up to the motto of "Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles".
 
  

  
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 grey sky and beating the oncoming rain, 100 volunteers and family members, including 50 dogs, turned out for our event. All the pups were perfectly behaved and even participated in challenging games.  We celebrated our 30 years for service to the community with Fleur de Lis Mardi Gras necklaces! Our teams were acknowledged for their years of service with presentations topped off with fabulous door prizes.

Special Thanks t o Madeleine Burns, our wonderful donor,   
whose generosity makes our annual meeting possible. The meeting is called Tara's Toast to Volunteers in honor of Madeleine's first dog, a beautiful Sheltie named Tara. This fun day only happens once a year. Be sure you are able to attend March 11, 2018. 
 
 
 

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   
 
2017 Award Recipients 


OUTSTANDING  VOLUNTEERS
 
All of these volunteers went above and beyond their required monthly visit. From doing additional visits during the month, to serving as Mentors to our probationary volunteers, to dedicated participation to our Reading to Rover program, to volunteering to represent our organization at a variety of community events- their devotion to our mission is overwhelming! We thank each one for sharing their time and talents with us. We are honored to call them Visiting Pet Program volunteers.
 
Nancy Tatarski, Sabrina Jacks,
Susanne Christensen, Jeff Stadler, Terry Stadler,


   
SUPER  SPECIAL  AWARD
Barbara Hyland

 
 
PEOPLE AWARDS


  



15 Year Members


Brenda Chetta
Monica Stephens    



Not in Photo:
  Kim Bradley
Marcia Legendre  

     






10 Year Member

Joy Sturtevant






 


                                
5 Year Members

Charlotte Walker, Nicole Parks,Judy Haber-Stone,
Patricia Egers, Mike Azzarello, Helen Hester, and
   
Suzette Hubbell. 
Not in photo
Sonja Flick, 
Clay Latimer, 
Desiree Terrebonne
 
          

PET AWARDS
 
 
 
12 years  
   
Emily    
(Diane Smith)
 
 
 
   9 years     
 
Mita    
(Malay Hajra)
  
Mozart    
(Fay Schultz)
 
 
 
   
6 years 
 
Maggie (Bob Klare), Chloe (Cindy O'Donnell), Lallie (Delia Hardie), Splash 
(Lynne Aranda),   
Cozette (Connie Back)
 
Not in photo:
Bindi (Brenda Becnel); Zip (Pam Bellone)
 
  3 years  

Pixie (Monica Stephens), Mitzi (Deirdre Ledoux),        Lizzie Dele (Lori Haeuser), Bogie (Carol Ziant and Bob Cleary), Kozmo (Louis Calato), Lucy (Cathy Burch), Gunther (Bruce Galbraith), Molly (Ricky Vergona)
Not in photo:  Smalls (Donna and Paul Larosa); Sadie (Claire Sommers)
 

Cake by member Sherry Barlow
Article by Claire Sommers

Lee Gaffney and her husband Tommy Gaffney joined the Visiting Pet Program (VPP) 25 years ago. That is a looooonnnnggggg time for anybody to do anything. In 2000 when the Visiting Pet Program became an independent 501 c3 non profit entity, Lee was our leader during that time of change and growth. I don't think any of us truly realize the amount of work, effort, paperwork, meetings and filings it takes to develop an organization like the VPP.    It is not sure if the board members at that time had any idea what they were getting into. But as well all know, Lee can be very persuasive. 
 
Over these 25 years, Lee has motivated many people to join the VPP - and inspired many of us to become even more active participants in the program.    If Lee hasn't motivated or inspired you, then all you need to do is spend about 5 minutes with her.   
 
Whenever VPP organized any event, Lee and Tommy were there. Lee had the ideas and Tommy made it happen. Tommy loaded all the supplies, moved equipment, set up tents, made the electronic system work and got everyone into buildings when we didn't have a key. And when the event was over he took everything apart, loaded it up and took it all back to the storage facility.  It is not sure how many of these was Tommy's idea.   But as we know, Lee can be very persuasive (in a positive way).
 
 
 
Over the course of 25 years, Lee and Tommy had rescued and certified 12 dogs through VPP. They are: Molly, Magoo, Pookie, Ginny Belle, Scruffy, Tuxedo, Bailey, Meghan Claire, Tallulah Marie, Stanley, Watson, Gabrielle Pearl, and Andrew Thomas. Together with their certified dogs, Lee and Tommy visited nursing homes, hospitals, retire ment facilities, TV stations, universities, and schools. They never failed to uphold VPP's guiding mantra: "bringing love and leaving smiles."
 
We are forever thankful to Lee and Tommy Gaffney for their 25 years of service to VPP. We wholeheartedly appreciate everything they have done to make the Visiting Pet Program a successful organization of today. We look forward to 25 more years of leadership, guidance, and unyielding perseverance from the Gaffneys to make VPP even more successful and effective.
 
Guardian Angels
 
 
A donation was received from
Barbara Hyland
in memory of
Clay Latimer's dog, Connie

Donations were received from
Joy Sturtevant, Barbara Hyland, Diane Smith,
Lee and Tom Gaffney, and Fay and Bill Schultz
 in memory of Monica Stephen's dog, Pixie

A donation was received from New York Community Trust

A donation was received from F ay and Bill Schultz in memory of Lee and Tommy Gaffney's dog, Talullah
 
A donation was received from Lee and Tommy Gaffney in memory of Cynthia and Bobby Jones' pet, Roxie
 
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 30 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