Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

April 2019    Volume 18, Issue 3
Take Note! 
New Volunteer Orientation
June 8, 2019
  10:00am to 12:00 pm
July 13, 2019
2:00pm to 4:00 pm

November 2, 2019
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Harahan Senior Center
 100 Elodie
  Pre-registration required
Contact Claire Sommers at [email protected] to register

Pet/Handler Evaluation
July 27, 2019
January 4, 2020
 Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
 Pre-registration required
Contact Barbara Hyland to register at
[email protected]  
 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

Our Deepest Sympathies

Jerry Gibel
  who lost his beloved 
Slovensky Cuvac, "Tancuj". 
Tancuj joined VPP in 2009.  Jerry and Tancuj were regulars at Waldon as well as participating in the 
EJGH Pet Therapy  Program.    
They also volunteered with the new 
K9 Krewe 
at the airport.     
 Jerry will continue to volunteer with the VPP as a buddy.  
and to

Denise Mehurin
who lost her precious Sheltie, 
Murphy joined the VPP in 2012.   Denise and Murphy were regulars at Colonial Oaks.
Denise will continue to volunteer with the VPP as a buddy.  
and to

Sabrina Jacks 
who lost her much loved retired VPP Pitbull mix "Evangeline".  
Sabrina and Evangeline joined the VPP in 2014.  Evangeline retired in 2018.    
Sabrina continues to volunteer with her Boston Terrier "Voodoo".  

and to
Cathy Logan
 who lost her beautiful Boxer 
Cathy and Sarah joined the VPP in 2016. 
They were regulars on Our Lady of Wisdom 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'19 evaluation group. Everyone is always willing to assist the new handlers and guide them on their visits.

Buddy members included Jeannette Albert, Diana Alcazar O'Dowd, Mike Azzarello, Creevy Clay, Suzanne Christensen, Lee Gaffney, Dawn Hagmann, Kimberley Clayton Hamlen, Kevin Hand, Sabrina Jacks, Carol LaNasa, Marcia Legendre, Holly Lambert Mars, Helen Schneidau, Diane Smith, Monica Stephens, Joy Sturtevant and Donna Williams. In addition, the following members assisted with observation visits: Lynne Aranda and Maggie Tidwell.

A thank you is extended to all who helped to welcome the new volunteers.

 Quick Links

Some Picnic Highlights

Ringo shows off his
Commando Crawl


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.  

C heck out the great photos from our Annual Meeting on our web site photo page. Our tha nks to Carol LaNasa for having a camera handy and tons of  patience!  She gave us over 200 photos! Under a very bright, sunny sky, 95 volunteers and family members, including 50 dogs, turned out for our event. All the pups were perfectly behaved as we celebrated our 32nd year of service to the community. Pat Egers was honored as our Outstanding Volunteer and our airport volunteers received our new Community Service Award. Our teams were acknowledged for their years of service with their award presentations topped off by 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   
2019 Award Recipients 


Pat Egers
 year's Outstanding Volunteer, has been 
a member since 2012. 
Pat was recognized for her special efforts to serve children in our area. She and Maggie are regulars at Children's Hospital and are frequently seen in area classroom's sharing their experiences as a therapy team and offering humane education opportunities. Pat has also recently taken over a ton of correspondence responsibilities for the organization, helping to lighten the load of our board members.  A most sincere congratulations to Pat for an honor well deserved!

Recognized for their service to the Armstrong Airport K9Krewe are: (L to R) Front Row: Suzanne Christensen and Harper Lee, Joy Sturtevant and Benny. Back Row: Judi Baynes and Big Bear, Dianna O'Dowd and LiLou, Brenda Chetta and Andy, Cher Lassiter and Clarence, Beth Akin and Hamilton and
Cindy O'Donnell and Cusco.
Missing from picture is Jerry Gibel.


20 Year Member

Connie Back

15 Year Members

Fay Schultz, Mason and Danna Morris
Missing from photo is
Jerry Gibel


10 Year Member

Kevin Hand

5 Year Members

Robert Cleary,
Carol Ziants, Cher Lassiter, Deirdre LeDoux
Ricky Vergona


9 years

Betty Boop (Fay Schultz) and
Bacchus (Leslie Davis 
Not pictured: Tancuj (Jerry Gibel)

6 years 

Back Row: Moss (Nancy Tartarski), Benny  (Joy Sturtevant)
Lilou (Dianne O'Dowd), Andy (Lee Gaffney),
Zambi (Barbara Hyland), Leo (Rhonda Vergona) 
Not pictured: Rusty (Pam Bellone), Lucy and Molly (Kim Bradley),  and Murphy (Denise Mehurin)
  3 years  

Abby (Bill Cromartie), Harper Lee (Suzanne Christensen) and 
Sallie Mae (Donna Williams)
Guardian Angels

  Donations were received
 in memory of
Jerry Gibel's dog,
            Barbara Hyland, Claire Sommers,
       Brenda Chetta, Danna and Mason Morris,
      Diane Smith, Lee Gaffney, Kevin Hand
       and the Armstrong Airport Volunteers

A donation was received 
in memory of
Denise Mehurin's dog,
Kevin Hand, Claire Sommers,
Lee Gaffney and Barbara Hyland
A donation was received  
in memory of
Cathy Logan's dog,
Claire Sommers, Barbara Hyland and Lee Gaffney
Donations were received 
in memory of
Sabrina Jack's dog,
Barbara Hyland and Lee Gaffney

A donation was received
in honor of
Leslie Davis
New York community Trust
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 32 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