Volunteers' Voice News for and about the Visiting Pet Program
December 2010 Volume 10, Issue 3

As the holidays approach, We are looking forward to visiting during the upcoming Holidays. There are so many opportunities to dress your pets up in their holiday finery. Feel free to dress your dog or cat for the season. A Santa hat for Christmas, then hearts for Valentine's Day, then Mardi Gras Beads, then St Patty's Day green or any other holiday wear will help your pet celebrate the holidays. The residents and patients will enjoy seeing their little furry visitors all decked out in holiday outfits.

The January-May, 2011 schedule is now on the website www.visitingpetprogram.org. Please note that due to Mardi Gras parades, holidays, and special events, such as the VPP Annual Volunteer Appreciation Day Picnic on April 3rd, 2011. Visit dates for many facilities have been changed.

Be sure to consult the schedule for your visiting dates! We need to know your plans for each individual month. You can confirm your visit schedule using the on -line confirmation form (members only page) or email your confirmations to paws4visits@gmail.com or fax to 504-324-0963 or call 504 432 8349. Your visit confirmations for the months of Jan thru May are due before December 15th, 2010.

Thank you for your commitment to VPP and service to the community. I hope you and your beloved pet have a wonderful winter-spring visiting season.

Claire Sommers
Program Coordinator

Quick Links
Visit Schedule for Spring 2011

To Claire to schedule your visits

To the web site
Visiting Pet Program web site

In This Issue
  • Message from the President
  • VPP at Delgado Animal Expo
  • More Than Neighborly

  • Message from the President

    Just like the rest of your family, the 4-legged members of your family want to be included in the festivities. Here are a few ways to make sure it is a safe and happy season for your pets:

    Include your pet in your Holiday photos and cards. If your dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig is not the type to sit still for a family portrait, there are photo software programs that you can use to edit Fido of Fluffy into the family photo without anyone being the wiser. You can also visit Santa with your pet for a special portrait; have your pet dress up for the holiday if s/he enjoys wearing special collars or hats.

    Keep your pet safe this holiday season by keeping poisonous plants such as poinsettia, holly and mistletoe out of your pet's reach. Do not let pets drink water from the tree stand as it may contain traces of fertilizer or other chemicals which could cause intestinal upset or worse. Sweep up loose pine needles which could easily get caught in a pet's throat or intestines if ingested.

    Hang a Christmas stocking for you favorite pet and fill it with something fun to play with, as well as something yummy. Here's a hint: Let your pampered pets "open" their Christmas presents first. This will keep them occupied and content while the rest of the family opens their gifts.

    Treat your favorite pups this season with home-made gourmet treats. Try this one from Bullwinkle.com.:

    Homemade Gourmet Dog Treats
    12-16 oz. raw liver
    1 1/2 lbs. white flour
    8 oz. Quaker Oats
    3 bouillon cubes, (meat or chicken flavored)
    Approx. 1 cup water
    2 eggs, beaten

    Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 3 baking sheets. Chop the liver finely, by hand or in food processor. Mix flour and oats, crumble in the bouillon cubes; add eggs and the chopped liver. Add enough water to make a firm but slightly sticky dough. Spread evenly on the sheets about 1/2" thick. Dip a small dog-biscuit cutter in flour before cutting out each portion. Remove uncut parts. Spread out on another cookie sheet and repeat. Bake 1 hour. Store in airtight container in fridge for 2 weeks.

    Finally, if you are thinking of getting or giving a pet as a Christmas gift, remember that this is often an extremely busy and sometimes stressful time of year, and as such, is not the best time to introduce a new animal into the household. A good alternative is to give a gift certificate or an "IOU" for a pet adoption at your local SPCA. That way, you or the recipient can choose the best time to adopt and take the time to make sure that the pet selected is a good match for the family.

    Happy Holidays to all our special volunteers and their beloved pets!

    Patty Spampneto

    VPP at Delgado Animal Expo

    The Visiting Pet Program was well represented at the annual Delgado Animal Expo on October 16, 2010. Volunteers Patty Spampneto, Fay Schultz, Dawn Hagman, Helen Schneidau, Gayle Kroeger , Kevin Hand, and Malay Hajra all helped spread the word about the value of Animal Assisted Therapy.

    The event fell just before our fall orientation, offering a golden opportunity to invite people to the orientation. Over 600 people attended the event and many of them stopped by our booth.

    Our thanks to Patty Spampneto for offering to take on the effort of organizing the booth and volunteers.

    Another job really well done!

    More Than Neighborly

    VPP member Connie Back, director of Louisiana Boxer Rescue, may at any time, have as many as 20 dogs in her kennel behind her house. She has devoted her life to Boxers and saving them.

    On a recent beautiful Friday afternoon, just as Connie got home from work, one of her neighbors discovered Connie's shed, next to the kennel, was on fire. Her neighbors all banned together and helped Connie save her personal dogs as well as all the dogs in the kennel. Dogs were stashed in every yard up and down the block. No human or K9 was injured. Her house and kennel were saved. The shed, filled will all of her dog supplies for rescue, was a total loss. Had it not been for the efforts of Connie's devoted neighbors, the situation could have been much, much worse.

    As if saving all those lives was not enough, the children in the neighborhood went door to door asking for donations to help Connie and Boxer Rescue replace the shed and the items lost. In exchange for a donation, the kids made and delivered homemade cookies to each person who opened their heart and their wallet to Connie's plight. The efforts of these young philanthropist resulted in a $200 donation to the cause!

    Now that's more than neighborly!


    A donation was received from
    Fay Schultz
    in honor of Denise Mehurin's dog
    for her many years of service.

    A donation
    was received from
    Marcia Voors
    in memory of her dog,

    A donation was received from
    Fay Schultz
    in memory of Lee and Tom Gaffney's dog,

    The VPP received a grant from the
    New Orleans Hash House Harriers
    Red Dress Run

    A donation was received from
    Jill Dolese.

    A donation was received from
    The Science Dept of Northshore High School
    in Slidell, LA
    in memory of grandmother of VPP member
    Jennifer Mueller,
    Ms. Gertrude Mueller.

    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 23 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 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!
    Daisy Daisy's Legacy

    Renowned for her elaborate wardrobe, our beautiful Daisy Mehurin has decided to retire. "Bringing love and leaving smiles" has been Daisy's motto since 1997. She was a long time visitor to St. Anna's home and one of our very first Reading to Rover pets. Now 17 years young, her legacy is strong.

    No other pet in the history of our organization has motivated us to create a special event. Hounds 'n Hats, an Easter parade for dogs inspired by Daisy's penchant for fashion, helped boost the VPP coffers in the early days of our independence. At the event, we sold beautiful hats made by Denise Mehurin and her mom, Katie Charbonnet, and modeled by the very proud Ms. Daisy. Our K9 guests, all dressed in beautiful spring attire, followed the Second Line band as they paraded around the grounds of Popps Fountain in City Park. It was great fun and profitable for VPP at a time when we were trying to get our financial paws off the ground.

    All of this because of a cute little Jack Russell/Beagle mix adopted and loved by Denise Mehurin. Thank you Daisy. We'll never forget you.


    Pet/Handler Evaluation

    Saturday, January 8th, 2011 and September 10th, 2011
    Harahan Senior Center
    100 Elodie
    Pre-registration required
    Contact Barbara Hyland to register at greytpets2@gmail.com
    504- 481-6288
    if you would like to have an additional pet tested.

    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 conjunction with the STAIR program. Please contact Fay for upcoming times and locations

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

    Holiday Pet Photos

    December 11th, 12th, 16th, 18th & 19th

    10:00am-3:00pm Saturday& Sunday
    and 3:00pm-6:00pm Thursday
    at Jefferson Feed, Pet & Garden Center, located at 4421 Jefferson Hwy. Give a special gift of love for only $25.00. Receive a CD of ten (10) digital photos of you, your pet/or family. Two scenes to choose from. All proceeds benefit the programs and services of Gulf Coast Doberman Rescue and The Louisiana SPCA. Call 733-8572 for more information or visit www.la-spca.org.


    VPP Volunteer Appreciation Day

    Mark your calendar now and plan to bring the whole family to the VPP picnic on
    Sunday, April 3rd 2011
    to be held at Soniat Playground (6601 10th Street, Harahan, LA 70123) from 1pm-3pm.

    Quick Links...

    Visiting Pet Program Web site

    Monthly Schedules for Winter/Spring

    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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