Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

October 2011 Volume 11, Issue 2

Take Note! 





New Volunteer Orientation


Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

 Harahan Senior Center

 100 Elodie

 Pre-registration required

 Contact Claire Sommers to register at paws4visits@gmail.com




Pet/Handler Evaluation


Saturday, January 7th, 2012

 Harahan Senior Center

 100 Elodie

 Pre-registration required


  Contact Barbara Hyland to register at greytpets2@gmail.com if you would like to have an additional pet tested. 




Reading To Rover 


McKenna Bommarito, 9 years old, reads to Maxx at a WB Reading To Rover Halloween party


  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





Animal Expo

Delgado Community College

 Saturday, October 15 from 11 am to 3pm at the City Park campus. Admission to this event is free and open to the public. VPP will have a booth at the event. Well mannered, vaccinated dogs are welcome to attend. Questions? Call Lee Gaffney at 504- 671-5640 or email at lgaffn@dcc.edu 




 Our Deepest Sympathies 

 to Joy Sturtevant on the loss of her precious Oban.


Oban joined the VPP in 2006 and was a regular visitor at John Hainkel and Reading to Rover. We are truly appreciative of all the joy Oban brought to the residents he visited. He was very special and will be missed by all who met him. Our deepest sympathies to Joy Sturtevent for the loss of her special pet.




 Happy Retirement



 The following VPP member recently retired her pet from several years of service to the community. Our sincere thanks goes to:


  Kimberly Clyton retired


Kubby was a regular visitor at Malta Park.   






















 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program


  Monthly Schedules for Fall 2011


  Help VPP by shopping through IGive


  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise



Expertly offered by Melissa Ellis,the second workshop in our summer series was attended by more than 30 VPP volunteers. Melissa shared important information regarding dog food ingredients and their effect on a pet's physical condition. Participants brought the ingredient labels from the foods they currently feed and discussed the good and not so good products in the various brands of food.

Our thanks to Melissa for sharing her valuable knowledge to help improve the health of our 4 legged friends.

If you have ideas or suggestions for next summer's lecture series, please send them to
Lee Gaffney
at terriergroup@gmail.com.



     Remember that feeling of excitement, of great accomplishment, and the feeling of major relief when you received your notification that you had passed the VPP Pet/Handler evaluation??? In September, 23 new volunteers shared that feeling with you!

Our new folks have already started their observation visits in an effort to have their probationary period completed by December. Please make them feel welcome when you meet them. They all actively participated in the Pet/Handler workshop, preparing them for that long anticipated first visit. Buddies have been trained and are ready and eager to help. Barbara Hyland has once again put together easy to follow procedures to make the probationary process as painless as possible for all involved. There will be 22 new dogs in our facilities, bringing love and leaving smiles! Be sure to read about the new teams in the "Meet the New Volunteers" article.

On October 22nd, we will host our fall volunteer orientation. As part of our recruitment effort, VPP will have an information booth at the Delgado Animal Expo on October 15th. You can bring your dog, spend some time at the event and then share some volunteer time at the VPP booth offering stories about your experiences with potential volunteers. If you are interested in helping with that effort, please contact Terri Joia at poogievpp@gmail.com.

Fall, football and furry visitors are in full swing! Make the most of your time on your visits. You'll be paid back ten fold.

Lee Gaffney

Meet The New Volunteers... 



Mike Azzarello with Olive Oyl, the Mixed Breed. Mike is a senior project manager with AT&T. He enjoys golf, walking and running. Olive Oyl is familiar with a nursing home setting having visited a family member in the past. She can shake hands and give a high five.

Elizabeth Burke with Mabel, the Black Labrador. Elizabeth is a law clerk in the 24th Judicial District for the Parish of Jefferson. She is also active in the STAIR Program every Saturday morning. Mabel loves people and also going to the dog park. Every year she participates in Barkus.

Mindy Ford with Archie, the Golden Retriever. Mindy is a reference librarian at the City Park branch of Delgado Community College. She also enjoys reading and cooking. Archie loves to smile when people pet him. He enjoys his daily walks.

Karen Hickey with Millie, the Basset Hound. Karen is enjoying her retirement with family and friends. Hobbies include gardening, traveling and decorating. Millie is calm, loves small cats and dogs and likes to chase lizards. She also enjoys going to the park.

Joey Johannesen with Sadie, the Terrier-Wolfhound Mix. Joey is a manager with AT&T. He is also a true sports enthusiast, enjoying football, baseball and basketball. Sadie is friendly and loves her daily walks and visits to the pet stores.

Susanne Knudsen with Chase, the Doberman. Susanne is a horse trainer assistant. She is a member of the Southern Eventing & Dressage Assoc. Chase enjoys being petted, loves his daily walks and attending Barkus every year.

Donna Lammon with Clyde, the Doberman. Donna is an emergency veterinarian at the La. Veterinary Referral Center. She also participates in many volunteer activities through her church. Clyde goes to work with Donna and loves to be around people.

Clay Latimer with Connie, the Greyhound. Clay is an attorney, retired. She is active with LA/SPCA as well as community programs. Connie is gentle, calm and loves to be with people.

Denise Mesa with Chicory and Wubby, the Shelties. Denise has been a stay at home Mom for twenty one years. She enjoys volunteer work and loves the opportunity to include her dogs. Chicory and Wubby enjoy walks and events, such as car shows and tennis matches.Both enjoy doing tricks, too.

Matt Napolitano with Rocco, the Goldendoodle. Matt is an economist with USACE. He also enjoys outdoor activities, especially those including his dog. Rocco loves to meet people and take long walks.

Cheryl Ortiz with Caylee, the Pit Bull. Cheryl is a CPA specializing in corporate taxation. She is also an active volunteer in the community and also enjoys quilting and scrapbooking. Caylee loves walking in the French Quarter and other outdoor events in the community. She can give you a high five and shake paws.

Nicole Parks with McKenzie, the Golden Retriever. Nicole is an advertising account executive with Peter A. Mayer Advertising. She also enjoys football and boating. McKenzie loves to be petted. She enjoys going to the snowball stand and can give a high five.

Carolyn Sanchez with Sammy, the Cavachon. Carolyn is retired and her hobbies include knitting, gardening and reading. She also volunteers with a culinary history group. Sammy attends a play group several times a month and loves to see his friends. He also enjoys his daily walk in the park.

Richard Smith with T-Bone, the Boxer Mix. Richard is active in volunteer activities with his church. He also enjoys gardening and fishing. T-Bone loves to meet new people and play with other dogs. He loves festivals and restaurants, too.

Desiree Terrebonne with Baxter, the Coton de Tulear. Desiree is an RN and works for a health plan as a case manager. Hobbies include reading, beading and swimming. Baxter enjoys going to stores, birthday parties, shopping and walks. He can also do many tricks, too.

Charlotte Walker with Beau, the Mixed Breed. Charlotte saw firsthand the positive effects of pet therapy at St. Anthony's Nursing Home while visiting a family member. She also volunteers at church and enjoys gardening. Beau loves his neighborhood walks and visits to the fire station.  


Malay Hajra with Tej, the German Shepherd. Malay is a civil engineer by profession. He is also an active board member of VPP. Tej was adopted from St. Tammany Animal Services. He is very friendly, has a gentle nature and loves to give doggy kisses.

Joyce Lashley with Sweetie, the Mixed Breed. Joyce enjoys the company of her family and friends. She is active in volunteer work, including the Audubon Zoo. Sweetie is comfortable in a nursing home setting as she has made several visits and enjoyed meeting the residents. She is very friendly and loveable.  


Dawn Adams with Lewis, the Greyhound. Dawn is the operations manager for Jotun Paints. She is also active in volunteer activities at her church. Lewis is affectionate and loves children. He also enjoys his daily walks in the neighborhood.

Mary Reames with Ruby, the Papillion. Mary recently retired. She enjoys gardening and going to the gym daily. Ruby is loveable and enjoys walks in the neighborhood and going to the pet store.

Vickie Salter with Poppy, the Greyhound. Vickie is employed with the IRS. She is also active in GPA, Greyhound Pets of America. Poppy loves her walks in the neighborhood. She also attends and enjoys monthly Greyhound Meet & Greet sessions on the northshore. 


             Guardian Angels


                         A donation

was received from  

Nina and Al Bourgeois
in memory of
Brenda Chetta's pet,

A donation was received from
Jill Dolese

A donation was received from
Creevy Clay and Ms. Roger Clay  
in memory of Beverly and Doug Lore's dog, 

Donations were received
in loving memory of  
Joy Sturtevant's Boxer,
Claire Sommers
Connie Back 
Fay Schultz 
Barbara Hyland
Lee and Tom Gaffney
Joy Sturtevant

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 24 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