Volunteers' Voice News for and about the Visiting Pet Program
April 2010 Volume 9, Issue 5

Our Volunteer Appreciation Day to celebrate our 23rd year was a wonderful success. Thank you all for attending and making it such a memorable event. Congratulations to VPP for 23 amazing years. Be sure to check out the web site for upcoming photos of this great event.

Beautiful weather, yummy food, wonderful people and our 4 legged best friends made for a memorable 23rd anniversary celebration. In addition to sharing good company, VPP also held our Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation.

We announced some important changes regarding Board of Directors positions, effective August 1st, 2010 Claire Sommers tenure as President expires.

It is our pleasure to announce that Patty Spampneto has agreed to assume the post of President of the Board of Directors. Patty has been a member of the VPP since 2001. In April of 2009 Patty joined the board as Orientation/Evaluation Coordinator. Patty's appointment as President adds a fresh new perspective to the VPP. We thank Patty for accepting this position and look forward to her leadership.

Danna and Mason Morris have agreed to take over the duties of Orientation/Evaluation Day Co-Coordinators. They will be responsible for finding volunteers at our twice annual pet evaluation days. It takes 25 - 30 volunteers for a successful pet evaluation day. Please consider signing up to help on those days. Contact them via email dannamorris@gmail.com

In November of 2009 Claire Sommers began helping Joyce Kleinfeldt with her duties as Program Coordinator. Joyce is dealing with some chronic health issues that prevent her from continuing as Program Coordinator. Joyce has been Program Coordinator for 23 years and she has done an absolutely wonderful job but unfortunately has to retire as Program Coordinator. Effective August 1st, 2010 Claire Sommers will officially become the Program Coordinator. Joyce is a hard act to follow, but we know Claire will give it her best effort.

After a busy visiting year, we are taking a well deserved rest. Our visits will resume in September. Watch for the next issue of Volunteers' Voice in July, 2010. Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Board of Directors

Quick Links
Visit Schedule for Spring 2010

To Claire to schedule your visits

To the web site
Visiting Pet Program web site

In This Issue


    2010 Outstanding Volunteers(L to R): Kevin Hand and Jerry Gibel. Missing from the picture are Nancy Field and Donna and Greg West

    The Annual Picnic was our opportunity to recognize four very special volunteers for their remarkable contributions to our program. The 2010 Outstanding Volunteers are:

    Nancy Field
    Jerry Gibel
    Kevin Hand
    Donna and Greg West.

    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.

    2010 human award

    2010 Human award recepients (L to R): . Kathleen Davenport, Pam Bellone, Claire Sommers, Helen Schneidau, Tobi Provenzano, Terri Joia, Stacey Warnke

    Clear skies, great food, wonderful people and our 4 legged best friends made for an exciting and memorable 23rd 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: CIndy Goldstein, Terri Joia, Marcia Lanasa, Tobi Provenzano, Diane Smith, and Stacey Warnke. Volunteers earning service awards for 10 years of service were Pam Bellone, Kathleen Davenport, Helen Schneidau, and Claire Sommers.

    Earning a service award for 15 years of service was: Leslie Davis.


    Pet award winners are: Kaci with handlers Mason and Danna Morris, Mikey with Harold Putfark, Molly with Kathleen Davenport, JJ with Fay Schultz, and Megan Clare with Lee Gaffney

    The pet earning an award for 3 years of service were: Dixie with Kim Barrett, Rosie with Cathy Burch, Thor with Kim Carlson, Tallulah with Lee and Tom Gaffney, Penny with Barbara Hyland, Mills with Joyce Lashley, TBoy with Claire Sommers, and Mollie with Sandy Woods.

    Pets earning awards for 6 years of service were: MIllie with Millie Ball, Molly with John and Kathleen Davenport, Lambkin with Frances Hecker, Kaci with Danna and Mason Morris, JJ with Fay Schultz, Sophie and Tyler with Alison and Michael Soileau, and Ellie with Greg and Donna West Laura.

    Three very special pets earned service awards for 9 devoted years of service. Annabelle with Cathy Burch, Megan Clare with Lee and Tom Gaffney and Mikey with Harold Putfark.

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


    were received from
    Claire Sommers
    Harold Putfark
    Cathy Burch
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Brenda Reilly's dog

    A donation
    was received from
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    Pat Walsh
    member Tere Walsh's husband

    A donation
    was received from
    Mina Lea Crais
    in memory of
    the Mendenhall family dog

    A donation
    was received from
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    in memory of
    MIchael and Tamra Carboni's dog,

    Donations were made in memory of
    Pam Bellone's dog
    Claire Sommers
    Lee and Tom Gaffney
    Bill and Fay Schultz
    Lori Haeuser
    Diane Smith

    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 19, 2010
    10am-12 noon
    Sunday, July 18, 2010
    Saturday, October 30, 2010
    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 Brenda Reilly on the loss of her precious
    Maxwell joined the VPP in 2002 and was a regular visitor at Ochsner Hospital. He was diagnosed in January with prostate cancer and metastasis of the lymph nodes. We are truly appreciative of all the joy Maxwell brought to the residents he visited.

    and to Pam Bellone,
    who lost her beloved little Patterdale Terrier,
    in April. Jake joined the VPP in 2004. He was a regular visitor at Ville St Marie. Jake's death was very unexpected.

    Jake and Maxwell were very special and will be missed by all who met them. Our deepest sympathies to Pam and Brenda for the loss of her special boys.

    Four Paw Salute

    to VPP Program Coordinator,
    Joyce Kleinfeldt.

    This program was originally created in 1987 through a grant from the Mayor's office to the LA/SPCA and was known as the LA/SPCA Pet Therapy Program. The group was made up of one staff member from the SPCA and 3-4 volunteers. Joyce Kleinfeldt was one of those volunteers.

    At the end of a year, the grant was not renewed, but the volunteers decided to continue with the program. The small group was being coordinated by Joyce and another volunteer. After a few months, the other coordinator moved out of the area, leaving Joyce with the option to either take on the responsibilities of the group by herself or just let the concept of an animal assisted therapy program in New Orleans die.

    Fortunately, Joyce chose to take on the task alone. That was 1988. For the next few years Joyce made up the schedules, wrote the newsletters, selected the pets and did whatever was necessary to keep the group going. All of this was done at her own expense. In 2000, the Visiting Pet Program became an independent 501 C3 non-profit. Joyce was one of the "founding" members of the Board of Directors.

    Unfortunately, Joyce is now dealing with some chronic health issues that prevent her from continuing as Program Coordinator. Joyce has been Program Coordinator for 23 years and she has done an absolutely wonderful job. Due to these chronic health issues Joyce has made the difficult decision to retire as Program Coordinator.

    We are immensely grateful to Joyce for leading the Visiting Pet Program through over 2 decades service. Her hard work, dedication and commitment to the Visiting Pet Program is inspiring.

    We appreciate Joyce's ongoing commitment to the Visiting Pet Program. Her experience is invaluable and we are so very fortunate to have access to her knowledge and understanding of animal assisted activities.

    Joyce will continue to serve on the Board of Directors as "Chairwoman Emeritus". Joyce will also continue to participate in evaluation days. And she has graciously agreed to maintain our donation records.

    A very Big Thank you to Joyce for working so very hard to help the Visiting Pet Program become what it is today. The VPP could not have made it without you.

    Quick Links...

    Visiting Pet Program Web site

    Monthly Schedules for and Spring 2010

    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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