Volunteers' Voice News for and about the Visiting Pet Program
April 2009 Volume 8, Issue 5

Our Volunteer Appreciation Day to celebrate our 22nd year was a wonderful success. Thank you all for attending and making it such a memorable event.

It has been a busy visiting year. For the summer months (June, July and August) we are taking a well deserved break from monthly visits. Our regularly scheduled visits will resume in September. Watch for the next issue of Volunteers' Voice in August. Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Congratulations to VPP for 22 amazing years. Be sure to check out the web site for upcoming photos of this great event.

Joyce Kleinfeldt, Program Coordinator

Quick Links
Visit Schedule for Spring 2009

To Joyce to schedule your visits

To the web site
Visiting Pet Program web site

In This Issue


    2009 Outstanding Volunteers(L to R): Dawn Hagmann, Terri Joia, Stacey Warnke, Lori Haeuser, and Carrie Neyland. Missing from the picture is Laura Williams.

    The Annual Picnic was our opportunity to recognize six very special volunteers for their remarkable contributions to our program. The 2009 Outstanding Volunteers are:

    Dawn Hagmann
    Terri Joia
    Stacey Warnke
    Lori Haeuser
    Carrie Neyland
    Laura Williams
    The above members have all gone out of their way for the Visiting Pet Program. Each in their own way, have given of their time and efforts, to help the VPP. These incredible members have all earned Oustanding Member because of their dedication, hard work, and overwhelming commitment to the mission of VPP. We appreciate their efforts and thank them for their service to the program.


    Ten year service award recepients (L to R): Denise Schoen, Connie Back, and Cathy Burch.

    Clear skies, great food, wonderful people and our 4 legged best friends made for an exciting and memorable 22nd anniversary celebration. In addition to sharing good conversation, VPP also held our Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation.

    Earning service awards for 5 years of service were: Millie Ball, Julie Chalmers, Bea Cottingham, Jerry Gibel, Danna and Mason Morris, Carrie Neyland, Michelle Mayeur, Kathy Sautter, Fay Schultz, Alison and Michael Soileau, Steve and Kerri Switzer.

    Volunteers earning service awards for 10 years of service were Connie Back, Cathy Burch, and Denise Schoen.

    Earning a service award for 15 years of service was: Frances Hecker.

    Joyce Kleinfeldt earned an award for 20 years of service.


    6 year award winners are Maxwell with handler Brenda Reiley, Gretzky with Brandon DuMontier, Dottie with Connie Back and Maxx with Linda Wegmann

    The pet earning an award for 3 years of service was: Madison with Shirley Walters

    Pets earning awards for 6 years of service were: Dottie with Connie Back, Gretzky with Brandon DuMontier, Jo Jo with Colleen Lacy, Maxwell with Brenda Reilly, Maxx with Linda Wegmann, and Bud with Laura Williams.

    Two very special pets earned service awards for 9 devoted years of service. Scruffy with Lee and Tom Gaffney and Oscar with Helen Schneidau.

    Ginny Belle with Lee and Tom Gaffney earned service award for 12 successful years of service.

    Our sincere thanks to these amazing animals and their devoted handlers.


    Lee and Tom Gaffney's Therapy dogs have a howling good time will be featured on the cover of 2010 VPP Calendar.

    We are so excited about the 2010 Visiting Pet Program Calendar. All of the entries were wonderful photos of beautiful pets. What a handsome bunch of pets volunteer with the VPP!

    Serving as independent judge for the photos was professional pet photographer, Scott Stuntz. Scott is a retired VPP member, he has a ton of experience in dog obedience and has photographed major annual "pet" events for the LA/SPCA with photos posted on their website. Scott's comments about the judging our calendar contest was "This was a difficult task! All the photos were great!".

    As we all know animals are difficult to photograph. They always seem to have "other plans" when you get out the camera. I'm sure everyone who entered used up a lot of space on their digital camera's memory card. And probably quite a bit of time and handfuls of treats. Thanks so much to everyone who sent in an entry. Of course you all know your pet is the best looking. But we did have to narrow it down to 13 winners! One for the calendar cover and 12 monthly photos.

    The winners in alphabetical order are; Kim Barrett's Catahoula mix "Dixie", Cindy Baucum's Pomerarian "Bijou", Jill Dolese's Golden Retriever "Chance", Lee& Tommy Gaffney's group photo of "Ginny Bell, Megan, Scruffy and Talullah", Dawn Hagmann's Black Lab "Hannah", Denise Mehurin's Beagle/Terrier mix "Daisy", Carl Schindler's Yellow Lab "Comet", Alison&Michael Soileau's group photo of 2 Whippets "Sophia and Tyler", Claire Sommer's Greyhound "TBoy", Claire Sommer's Greyhound "Forrest", Joy Sturtevant's Boxer "Oban", Stacey Warnke & Terri Joia's cat "Sauvi", and Laura Williams' Cavalier King Charles Spaniel "Bud".

    This calendar will provide the members of Visiting Pet Program an opportunity to share our work and some wonderful animals with the community, our family and friends. We will have the calendars printed and available to purchase in the fall. I just know they will make great holiday gifts.

    If this calendar is popular we are planning on having more photo contests for future calendars. So keep those cameras handy. You never know when the perfect photo might present itself.

    Claire Sommers


    A donation
    was received from
    Mina Lea Crais
    in memory of
    Father Ralph Parthie's dog,

    A donation
    was received from
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Kathy Singleton's Sheltie,

    A donation
    was received from
    Mina Lea Crais
    in memory of
    Pamela and Mike Elliott's dog,

    were received from
    Claire Sommers, and Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Lori Haeuser's rabbit,
    Timothy Baxter

    A donation
    was received from
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Alison Cook's Greyhound,

    were received from
    Claire Sommers, and Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Delia Hardie's Airedale,

    A donation
    was received from
    Joyce Lashley
    in memory of
    Dawn Adam's dogs,
    Ginger and Peppy

    A donation
    was received from
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Connie Back's Boxer,

    A donation
    was received from
    Delia Hardie
    "In loving memory of my beloved

    A donation
    was made through
    American Express Foundation Employee Giving Campaign
    Jonathan Levy

    A donation
    was made by
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Judy Fisher's dog,

    A donation
    was made through
    AT&T United Way Employee Giving Campaign
    Dawn Hagmann

    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 22 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, R eading 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 5831 S. Johnson Street, New Orleans, LA 70125. 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

    Take Note!


    New Volunteer Orientation

    Saturday, June 20, 2009
    10am-12 noon
    Sunday, July 19
    Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
    Pre-registration required
    Contact Claire Sommers to register at

    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

    On the West Bank
    Held on the second Sunday of each month
    2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey
    from 2:00pm-3:00pm

    Events are now being planned in conjuction with the STAIR program. Please contact Fay Schultz for upcoming times and locations

    Contact Fay Schultz at
    to confirm your slot at any of these
    Reading To Rover


    to Lori Haeuser,
    who lost her beloved rabbit,
    in February. Timothy had been a visiting pet from 1998 until his retirement in 2008. Timothy was 12 years old and had been a regular visitor at Touro Infirmary.

    and to
    Delia Hardie
    who lost her cherished Airedale dog,
    in March. Ashley was 12 and 1/2 years old and had been a visiting pet from 2000 until her retirement in 2007. Ashley visited Mercy and Baptist Hospitals.
    The love and joy these pets brought into the lives of hospital patients will not be forgotten. Timothy and Ashley will be deeply missed by all who knew them. Our deepest sympathies to Lori and Delia on the loss of their beloved companions.


    Kathy Sautter has announced the retirement of her Sheltie mix, Rusty in March. Rusty is 12 years old, and had been a visiting pet since 2003. This little black dog was a regular visitor at John J Hainkel, Jr. Home. Our thanks to Kathy and Rusty for your 6 years of service. We'll miss you!

    Four Paw Salute

    to VPP President,
    Claire Sommers.
    Claire was the master mind and work horse behind the wonderful Volunteer Appreciation Picnic. Claire works on the event through out the year...reserving the facility, shoping for the wonderful door prizes, selecting the membership gifts, puting together the fabulous gift bags, ordering the food, preparing the awards, coordinating set up and break down....just to name a few responsibilites. It's a monumental task but Claire takes it on with great enthiusiam. The Volunteer Appreciation party was for the membership but the volunteer we all appreciate is Claire! Thanks from all of us for a job really well done and a great event!

    Quick Links...

    Visiting Pet Program Web site

    Monthly Schedules for and Spring 2009

    Help VPP by shopping through IGive

    Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise

    phone: 504-866-2532 Fax: 504-866-9823

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