Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

February 2019 Volume 19, Issue 2  

Take Note! 
Tara's Toast to Volunteers 
  Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
 Sunday, March 10, 2019
Backyard at The Kamp  2317 Hickory Ave 
Harahan, LA 70123
  Mark Your Calendar
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 paws4visits@gmail.com to register

Pet/Handler Evaluation
July 27, 2019
nuary 4, 2020
 Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
 Pre-registration required
Contact Barbara Hyland to register at
 if you would like to have an additional pet tested.

Re ading 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:
Clay Latimer retired "Nikki". Nikki joined the VPP in 2016 and was a regular at Children's Hospital visits

Our Deepest Sympathies

Christie Thomas who lost her beloved westie "Toodle Lou." Christie and Toodles joined the VPP in 2014. They were regulars at Colonial Oaks visits.  Toodles retired in 2018.  

 Quick Links
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 33 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  



Guardian Angels

A donation was received from 
Christie Thomas  in memory of  
Toodle Lou,
pet of Christie Thomas

A donation was received from 
Marcos Castrillo 
in memory of 
Raymond Wilde
father of 
Alison Soileau

Our January evaluation resulted in 11 new volunteers  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 28 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! Join us on Sunday, March 10th for family and four legged fun and food! 
In honor of the kindness and generosity of  
Madeline Deirdre Burns, we named the Annual Meeting for her beloved Sheltie, 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 support 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. The event is Sunday, March 10th at the Backyard of The Kamp. If you haven't already done so, register by going to this link. More details are listed there.

As always, adult beverages will be available at a cash bar inside The Kamp.
We have a very special gift for you at this year's picnic.  Prepare for that special Kodak moment as The Happy Photo booth will be back! Photos will be printed on site. You'll walk away with your photos in hand and a great memory of the day. It's a fun adventure to make the day extra special for 2 and 4 legged guests. 

See you on March 10th!
Lee Gaffney
President, with thanks to Stacey Warnke Photography for the great picnic photo below.
Meet the New Volunteers
Brian Budzinski with Honeybun, the Golden Mix. Brian is a musician. He also volunteers at animal shelters. Honeybun enjoys her daily walks and being petted.

Tracey Dietz with Daisy, the Cairn Terrier Mix. Tracey is a real estate appraiser and owner of her own business. Tracey also volunteers at her church as well as in the community. Daisy loves  meeting people and loves to be petted.
Madison Farmer with Ruby, the Boxer Mix. Madison is a grad student at UNO training to be a licensed professional counselor. Madison has also worked in the music/events industry. Ruby loves going off-leash in a controlled environment and visiting parks, bars and meeting people.
Ruth Goldberg with Valentino, the Miniature Schnauzer. Ruth is a retired Naval Officer who served on active duty for twenty-three years. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Valentino has attended various training programs and enjoys going to the dog park.

Jeanette Hofler and Genevieve Hofler (MIT) with George, the Domestic Shorthair Cat. Jeanette is a former member of VPP and has returned with her daughter Genevieve. Jeanette works at Tulane School of Public Health. Genevieve is a student at Lusher and enjoys writing, reading and drawing. She has also volunteered at Second Harvest. George was a 'clinic cat' at the vet's office. George is curious, purrs easily and enjoys people.

Lori Kapit with Sammy , the Basset Hound/Lab Mix. Lori is a secretary with a law firm and computer trainer. Lori also volunteers with Jeff/SPCA and the adoption program. Sammy loves children and going for walks.
Lynn Moore with Honeybun , the Golden Mix. Lynn is a Vet Tech (High-Volume Sterilization), volunteers organizing sterilization projects and disaster response with various organizations. Honeybun enjoys her daily walks and being petted.
Keri Stiegler with
Franny, the Schnauzer/Terrier Mix. Keri is a Research Attorney at the Supreme Court. Keri also enjoys gardening and reading. Franny loves children, going for walks and enjoys Mardi Gras.
Clara Wynn with Kona, the Husky. Clara is a first-year medical student at Tulane. Clara has witnessed first-hand in a hospital the benefits of pet therapy. Kona may be a three-legged dog but is incredibly active and leads a happy life. Kona loves meeting people at bars, dog parks and dog friendly stores.

What is a Service Dog?
Service Dogs are trained to perform tasks and to do work that eases their handlers' disabilities. Working as part of a team with their disabled partners, service dogs help them attain safety and independence. It is very important to note that these dogs are not for petting as it could prevent them from performing their job correctly. Most service dogs have a "no petting" policy established by their owners.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service dogs in public places such as restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels. Additional laws such as the  Department of Transportation's Air Carrier Access Act, the Housing and Urban Development's  Fair Housing Act, and the  Federal Rehabilitation Actprotect the rights of people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in a wide variety of circumstances under which the ADA may not be applicable.
What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy dogs also receive training but have a completely different type of job from service dogs. Their responsibilities are to provide psychological or physiological therapy to individuals other than their handlers. These dogs have stable temperaments and friendly, easy-going personalities. Typically, they visit hospitals, schools, hospices, nursing homes and more. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are encouraged to interact with a variety of people while they are on-duty including petting the therapy dog.
Therapy dogs may also visit schools, day cares, group homes and rehabilitation centers. Their roles vary from dogs who give learning disabled children the confidence to read out loud, to actively participating in physical rehabilitation therapy. In some cases, a therapy dog will work in an establishment exclusively, such as a psychotherapy practice.
Therapy dogs may be trained by just about anyone, but must meet set standards to be certified and registered and actively participate in the program. They are usually handled by their owners, but in some cases of Animal Assisted Therapy, the therapy dog may be handled by a trained professional.

(source:  www.therapydogs.com)