Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

 September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 1

Take Note! 

Don't miss the fun at 
Boxers, Brew and BBQ 
October 7th 
The Kamp, Harahan

Join us at 
Pet Fest
Sunday, October 22nd
Lafreniere Park 
Kenner, Louisiana

New Volunteer Orientation
Saturday, October 14th
2:00pm to 4:00pm
 Harahan Senior Center
 100 Elodie
  Pre-registration required
Contact Claire Sommers at paws4visits@gmail.com to register

Pet/Handler Evaluation
January 6, 2018
 Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
 Pre-registration required
Barbara Hyland

to register at
 if you would like to have an additional pet tested .

Mark Your


The 2018
annual meeting and family picnic will be 
Sunday, March 11, 2018 
at The Kamp
Details to follow after the new year. 

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
 Contact Fay Schultz
 to confirm your slot at
Reading To Rov

Sad Loss for VPP

VPP member
Joan Rey
passed away in July.  Joan and her beloved
SueLing joined the VPP in 2009.
They were regulars at  Colonial Oaks visits.     Joan was the recipient of an Outstanding Volunteer award in 2015. 


Delia Hardie 
 the Airedale.   Lallie joined the VPP in 2010 and was a regular at the Lambeth visits.  At almost 13 years old, Lallie has definitely earned her retirement.   Delia will continue to serve as a buddy for new members.  And as our photographer for evaluation day photos. 
Desiree Terrebonne 
retired  Baxter
 the Coton de Tulear.   Desiree and Baxter joine d the VPP in 2011 and were regulars at the Walden visits. 
Linda Bauer retired her dog Jazz.  Jazz joined the VPP in  2012 and was a regular at St Joseph's visits.  Linda will continue to serve as a buddy for new members. 
Our Deepest Sympathies


Cindy Lemoine
who lost her dog,
Feeney crossed the Rainbow Bridge in June
Feeney joined the VPP, was a regular at the Ochsner visits and retired in 2016.

and to

Monica Stephens
who lost
Jaali crossed the Rainbow Bridge in June
Jaali joined the VPP and was a regular at the EJGH visit and RtR at the West Napoleon Library
and to 
Cathy Burch who lost her precious princess, RosieRosie joined the VPP in 2006.   She was a regular visitor at Ochsner and Children's Hospital.  Rosie retired from the VPP in 2014.

 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 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. 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 


Our fall evaluation was a tremendous success thanks to the continued efforts of Danna Morris and her amazing evaluation team. We were able to evaluate 20 teams, of which 15 teams will proceed to the next step. We had 5 teams deemed "Not Ready", but they had a lot of potential and we hope to see them back at a later evaluation.  
 Our thanks also to Barbara Hyland, Probationary Volunteer Coordinator, for supporting our new volunteers as they go through their probationary period.  Barbara is the resource for all things VPP for our new volunteers. She has her hands full with 15 new volunteers this fall.
You can read about all our new volunteers in the article below.

And...mark your calendars now! The annual meeting and family picnic will be Sunday, March 11, 2018 at the Kamp. Don't miss the fun! Make plans to be there.  
VPP member Suzanne Christensen shared this with me and I thought I would share it with all of you.
A Pet Therapist's Creed 
 By: Nicole M. Carollo 
Clickity, clickity, clickity, clum...
down the long corridors here I come.
Through the halls and past the rooms,
by the buckets and the brooms.
Sniffing the way for someone in need,
just reach out your hand this I plead.
Then as a dog, I will know it's okay,
for me to share my love with you today.
I'll wag my tail and perk my ears,
and you can use my fur to dry your tears.
I'll lick your face till you smile,
I'll even sit with you for just a while.
So don't let your head hang so low,
I pass no judgment, this I know.
I just want to love on you right here and now.
and be the VERY BEST DOG FRIEND I know how.

With thanks for all you do,
Lee Gaffney
Meet the New Volunteers:

Beth Akin with Hamilton, the Cocker Spaniel Mix. Beth is a retired attorney but is involved with legal pro bono work.  Beth is also active at First Baptist New Orleans in leadership and volunteer activities. Hamilton loves children and also going to the dog park.

Tammy Atkinson with Patches, the Border Collie Mix.  Tammy is a retired school teacher from South Carolina and enjoys traveling.  Patches loves activities such as going on trips, stores and parks. Patches just completed obedience training with Connie Back.
Jessie Blanchard with Lily, the Welsh Springer Spaniel. Jessie is employed with Ochsner Health System as Sr. Exec. Asst. to the System VP of Finance. Jessie is also a member of Deep South Obedience Club.  Lily has participated in AKC Conference shows since she was six months old and has traveled extensively.

Megan Devine and Robert Guyette with Pearl, the German Shepherd/Akita Mix.  Megan is familiar with dogs, having worked at a vet office for several years doing just about everything. Robert is currently in the carpentry program at Delgado. Pearl loves going for walks, going to festivals and meeting people in the neighborhood and bars.
Delaine Gendusa with Sigmund, the Dachsador.  Delaine is a retired social worker and is an active volunteer with her church's disaster recovery program. Sigmund gets along well with other dogs and enjoys going to the dog parks and meeting people.

Harvey Herstein with Beethoven, the Golden Retriever.  Harvey is a retired executive and is involved and serves on the board of several organizations such as Temple Sinai, Bridge House and Second Harvest to name a few.  Beethoven loves people and especially children.
Lori Mastio with Duncan, the Lab/Boxer Mix.  Lori is a personal trainer for Chevron's Corp. office. Lori is also a member of the Marine Mammal Center and World Vision.  Duncan enjoys walks, especially at the lakefront and parks.

Marilyn Mendoza with Cusco, the Shih Tzu.  Marilyn has been a psychologist for many years in New Orleans and has volunteered at Waldenburg Village. Cusco, whose owner is VPP member Cindy O'Donnell, has been in VPP over two years and loves meeting people on his monthly visits. 
Vicky Shelley with Karma, the Labrador.  Vicky is employed with the Sisters of Mt. Carmel in Lacombe as their finance officer. Vicky was also part of a Search & Rescue Team with LATFI and worked with Karma as a human remains detection dog for one year.  Karma participated in Search & Recovery training and responds to many commands.

Maggie Tidwell with Gracie, the Terrier Mix.  Maggie is a retired social service provider and enjoys working with other people and animals. Maggie has volunteered with the SPCA.  Gracie loves going for walks, dog parks and the Barkus parade.
Therese Wakefield with Waldo, the Beagle Mix.  Therese is a retired special education teacher and is a part-time seamstress at a flag shop. Waldo enjoys meeting people and neighborhood walks.

Current Volunteer Adds Pet:
Cher Lassiter with Clarence, the Golden Retriever.  Cher is a substitute teacher that also enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and gardening.  Clarence loves to travel and enjoys the company of other dogs.
Rose Marhay with Tammrh, the Toy Poodle. Rose has been an active member of VPP for over 12 years and has also participated as a mentor in our Buddy Program. Tammrh is familiar with health care facilities and loves to play with other dogs.
Guardian Angels
Donations were received from
Lee Gaffney,
and Bill Schultz,
Kevin Hand,
Barbara Hyland,
Christie Thomas,
                                 Brenda Chetta
                               in memory of
                              Joan Rey

A donation was received from
Jill Dolese in memory of
Rocky and Chance

Donations were received from
Diane Smith, Lee Gaffney, and
Brenda Chetta in memory of
Monica Stephens' Dog,

A donation was received from
Sherry Barlow as a gift to VPP

Donations were received from
Barbara Hyland and
Cathy Burch in memory of
Cindy Lemoine's dog,

A donation was received from
Jacinta and Phillip Kehoe as a gift to VPP

Donations were received from
Humana matching gift for Lee Gaffney

A donation was received from
Tamra and Mike Carboni as a gift to VPP

Donations were received from
United Way

A donation was received from
Ashley Becnel in honor of the work VPP does

A donation was received from
Barbara Hyland in memory of
pet of Mr. and Mrs. William Dantagnan

A donation was received from
Claire Sommers in honor of
pet of Delia Hardie

A donation was received from
Glynis Rumsey in honor of the work VPP does

A donation was received from
Lee Gaffney and Barbara Hyland
in memory of
Cathy Burch's dog,

A donation was received from
Jeffrey and Stefani Pizzo in honor of their pet
Penelope Pizzo's birthday

A donation was received from
Fay and Bill Schultz
for memorial acknowledgement to
Jeremy Starr

A donation was received from
Barbara Hyland in memory of
Heather Wright's dog,

A donation was received from
Aetna Foundation in honor of Barbara Hyland

A donation was received from
Barbara Hyland in honor of
Jazz, pet of
Linda Bauer