Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

February 2017 Volume 16, Issue 4 

Take Note! 
Tara's Toast to Volunteers 
  Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
 Sunday, March 5, 2017
Backyard at The Kamp  2317 Hickory Ave 
Harahan, LA 70123
  Mark Your Calendar

Summer Seminars
Have a suggestion
for a summer seminar??? 
Email Lee Gaffney 
at paws4visits@gmail.com
New Volunteer Orientation
June 10, 2017
  10:00am to 12:00 pm
July 9, 2017
2:00pm to 4:00 pm

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
August 5, 2017
January 6, 2018
 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  
  On the East Bank
   Held on the third Tuesday of each month at the East Bank Regional Library
 4747 W. Napoleon in Metairie
 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:
Jeanette Albert who retired  her pet, Toby due to health related issues. 

Toby joined the VPP in 2010.  They were regulars at Chateau Living Center.

Bob Klare who retired Maggie due to age. 
   Bob and Maggie joined the VPP in 2010.  They were regulars at Chateau Living Center, Colonial Oaks and Children's Hospital

Barbara Comarda who retired Gingersnap due to health related issues. 
  Barbara and Gingersnap joined the VPP in 2015 and were regular visitors at Jo Ellen Smith.

Our Deepest Sympathies
Lee and Tommy Gaffney, who lost their one of a kind canine companion, Talullah Marie.  
  Talullah joined the VPP in 2006.  She was a regular visitor at Children's hospital and John Hainkel Home. 
 Please keep Lee and Tommy, Tulallah and all the other Gaffneyhound gang in your thoughts and prayers.
Good Read

 My Name is Emily: A Dog Story

Diane Smith, PhD

VPP's Diane Smith is the author of a dog-memoir titled My Name is Emily: A dog's story. The motivation for the book was to help educate young readers (10 to 14 year olds) about the care and training of dogs. 

While in New Mexico, Diane started volunteering with a reading program, HOSTS (Help One Student to Succeed) at one of the local schools.  This program works with 2nd through 4th graders, which gave Diane the idea to start writing children's books. 

The first series of books involved a large stuffed rabbit, Big Bunny, who had various adventures. Big Bunny went to school to learn to read, visited the Animal Shelter, a National Park, a fire station where he learned about fire safety, a children's museum, and the public library where he got his very own library card.  These books were aimed at children ranging in age from 5 to 8 years; younger if their parents read the books to them. To see more about all of the books you can visit: http://bigbunnybooks.com
 Quick Links
Our January evaluation resulted in 15 new volunteers, 2 current members along with their pets passing the evaluation. Be on the lookout for these new teams as they start their probationary visits. In addition to our new teams, we had over 25 members join us for their re-certification workshop! The senior center was packed! The workshop was a great opportunity to meet the new folks and swap stories and experiences. 

You can read more about our new teams in the New Volunteer section below.
It's Volunteer Appreciation time again!
In honor of the kindness and generosity of  
Madeline Deirdre Burns, we named the Annual Meeting for her beloved Shelty, Tara. We invite you to join us for
Tara's Toast to Volunteers.   
Our meeting is a wonderful picnic for volunteers and family members. From the  camaraderie  shared with those who love our animals and share our mission, to the great food and exciting games, it's a day not to be missed. VPP provides everything. Just come and enjoy. Bring the family and your VPP dog. Members Monica Stephens and Connie Back are in charge of the people/pet games. We know there will be a Best Trick catagory so start practicing! Bring your spirit of competition and join in the fun. The event is Sunday, March 5th at the Backyard of The Kamp. If you haven't already done so, register by going to this link. More details are listed there.

See you on March 5th!
Lee Gaffney
President, with thanks to Stacey Warnke for the great picnic photo below
Meet the New Volunteers

Judi Baynes  with
Big Bear , the Labrador . Judi is a retired teacher who also tutors children after school.  Judi also foster dogs for Labs4rescue. Big Bear loves people and helps with the children Judi tutors and also helps with the foster dogs.

Jennifer Burstain with
Ringo, the Shih Tzu Mix. Jennifer is a physician/ pathologist. Jennifer is also a volunteer with STAIR as well as a docent with NOMA.  Ringo enjoys doing tricks such as rollover, commando crawl, paw and howl.

Elizabeth Finkelstein (Member In Training) with
Oliver, the Labrador. Elizabeth is a sophomore at Newman School, loves playing tennis and loves animals. Oliver is already certified in the VPP and enjoys his pet visits with Elizabeth's mom, Andrea.

Jacqueline Fiore with
Mona, the Border Collie Mix.  Jacqueline is a full-time PhD student at Tulane studying economics. Jacqueline previously lived in Africa doing malaria research. She is also co-founder of a charity organization to help street children in Malawi.  Mona has traveled the world and is very patient, calm and loves being petted.
Kate Geer with
Bella, the Golden Retriever Mix.  Kate is a chemical engineer with Dow Chemical. She is actively involved in several local dance teams including Sirens of New Orleans and Nyxette Dance Teams. Bella loves going for walks in City Park and being petted.

Brittany Kovacs with
Tulley the German Shepherd Mix.  Brittany is a social worker and public health professional. Prior to moving to New Orleans Brittany served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia.  Tully loves going to festivals and interacting with people.

Ann Meyer with
Ichabod, the Old English Sheepdog.  Ann is a consultant with a CPA firm. She also assists her daughter in animal rescue and doggie day care.  Ichabod loves to be petted and going to the dog park.

Jeremy Miller with
Checkers, the Alaskan Klee Kai/Mini Husky.   Jeremy is a fisheries biologist with the La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries in Grand Isle. Jeremy is also a support member of the Nola Nyxette and the Sirens of New Orleans.  Checkers loves house parties and going for walks.
Sandra Noya with
Douille, the Dachshund.  Sandra has been a legal assistant for over twenty years in New Orleans.  Sandra has also been involved in the Ulster Project of New Orleans for the past sixteen years creating lasting friendships with families from Northern Ireland.  Douille loves people and going for walks.

Alicia Pouncey with
Seven, the Shih Tzu Mix.  Alicia works in the medical research field. Alicia is also a small-business owner of sixteen years with her consulting group, Auereus Research. Seven previously lived in an assisted-living environment and is already familiar with walkers and wheelchairs.
Nicole Pyke with
Beauregard, the Rhodesian Ridgeback.  Nicole is a photographer and works as a photography producer from her home with her husband.  Beauregard loves road trips and enjoys kisses and being petted.

Bonnie Waters with
Molly, the Golden Retriever.  Bonnie is the owner of a dress consignment business and does freelance artwork. Bonnie is also a sustainer in the Junior League and involved with church activities.  Molly loves going for walks, visits to dog parks and pet stores.

VPP Volunteers add Pets

Carol Ziants and Bob Cleary
with  Lady , the Ch ihuahua/ Pomeranian Mix. Carol is employed with a law firm and operates a charity for disabled people. Bob is a bartender in New Orleans. Both have been active in VPP for several years. Lady loves going for walks and meeting people.
Fun and Fascinating Dog Facts
(source: www.akc.org )

  • A dog's nose print is unique, much like a person's fingerprint.
  • Forty-five percent of U.S. dogs sleep in their owner's bed.
  • Seventy percent of people sign their dog's name on their holiday cards.
  • dog's sense of smell is legendary, but did you know that his nose has as many as 300 million receptors? In comparison, a human nose has about 5 million.
  • Dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. (We humans have between 2,000-10,000.)
  • Rin Tin Tin, the famous German Shepherd, was nominated for an Academy Award.
  • all dogs dream, but puppies and senior dogs dream more frequently than adult dogs
  • Dog eyes have a part called the tapetum lucidum, allowing night vision
  • The Australian Shepherd is not actually from Australia-they are an American breed.
  • ............ And the Labrador Retriever is originally from Newfoundland.
  • Human blood pressure goes down when petting a dog. And so does the dog's.
  • When dogs kick backward after they go to the bathroom it's not to cover it up, but to mark their territory, using the scent glands in their feet.
Guardian Angels
Donations were received from Diane Smith, Lori Haeuser, Kevin Hand, and Barbara Hyland in memory of Lee and Tom Gaffney's dog, Talullah

A donation was received from Hap and Ms. Hap Habisreitinger in honor of Fay and Bill Schultz

A donation was received from Martha Myers

A donation as received from Ashley Kellogg in honor of the Kellogg family

A donation was received from Kate Mytron in memory of Suzan Downey

A donation was received from Lush Cosmetics, LLC
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 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