Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

 April 2012
Volume 11, Issue 5

Take Note! 







New Volunteer Orientation

 Saturday, June 16, 2012

 10:00am to 12:00 pm


Sunday, July 15, 2012

2:00pm to 4:00 pm

Saturday, October 20, 2012

2:00 pm to 4:00 pm


 Harahan Senior Center

 100 Elodie

  Pre-registration required

Contact Claire Sommers at paws4visits@gmail.com to register



Pet/Handler Evaluation


Saturday, September 8, 2012

 Saturday, January 5, 2013

 Harahan Senior Center

   100 Elodie

 Pre-registration required

Contact Barbara Hyland to register at

 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   


 Contact Fay Schultz


 to confirm your slot at any of these Reading To Rover






Summer Seminars

June 5th

Pet Loss and Grieving 


July 13

Photo Fun with Your Pet


Watch for a detailed announcement coming soon.     






 Happy Retirement

Ginny Belle Gaffney served 15 years and
3 months at
John Hainkel Home.




The following VPP members recently retired their pets from service to the community. Our sincere thanks goes to:



Lee and Tom Gaffney retired their Corgie/Westie mix Ginny Belle.
Ginny Belle
joined in 1996 and was a regular at John Hainkel Home.



Cindy Baucum who retired her Pomeranian, Bijou.
joined in 2008 and was a regular at Ochsner








Our Deepest Sympathies 



to Linda Wegmann who lost her precious golden retriever,


Maxx joined the VPP in 2002 and was a regular visitor at Bayside, Our Lady of Wisdom, and Reading to Rover.


and to Kathleen and John Davenport who lost her beautiful Beagle,


Molly joined the VPP in 2003 and retired in 2010  


and to Kathy Barnett
wholost her wonderful Collie,  


Truman joined the VPP in 2006 and retired in 2011


and to Millie Ball who lost her red headed Doxie mix,Millie.

Little Millie joined the VPP in 2004 and was a regular visitor at John Hainkel Home.


Maxx, Molly, Truman,  

and Millie  

were all very special and will be missed by all who met them. We are truly appreciative of all the joy they brought to the residents they visited. Our deepest sympathies to Linda, Kathleen, John, Kathy, and Millie for the loss of their special pets.












 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program




  Monthly Schedules for Spring 2012




  Help VPP by shopping through IGive




  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise






In the next few weeks, our January, 2012 probationary class will complete their "Buddy" visits. My newest beast, Andy, and I are part of that probationary group. For me, after 20 years of visiting, it has been very interesting to be on the other side of that Buddy shirt.

Experiencing new facilities with an inexperienced pooch has had it's own set of challenges. I have felt like a newbie all over again! Where is the facility located? What time is the visit?  Who likes the dogs? It's amazes me just how methodical my visits have become...1st Saturday of the month, 10:30am. I know what rooms to visit, most every one's names, and have an instinct for when to approach and when not to approach. The facility and its residents have become a part of my life. Now, Andy and I are meeting new people, going new places and working hard to become teammates. It has been a learning experience for both of us.

Over the last few months, I have grown to see the good and and not so good in being the experienced volunteer and being the newbie. As a newbie, I am never relaxed. I don't really get to enjoy the residents as I am so busy working with my
and praying he behaves correctly. On the other hand, I am visiting places I don't usually go, meeting new people, and sharing Andy with folks who enjoy his Raggedy Andy looks and bubbly personality. Andy doesn't care where he goes as long as someone is petting him!  I need to get more into that mindset.

With experience comes confidence. I'm never totally relaxed because all eyes are on my pooch...but, I am much more confident that he knows his job and is ready to do it. We enjoy the folks we visit and we have a history with them. The residents, the dog and I all look forward to our visits and we  get so much out of them. On the other hand, with experience comes complacency. We seem to become a little more lax with the rules, maybe not being as aware as we once were. That's when the problems happen. I know that; all my experience has taught me that over and over again. I need to pay attention to the voice in my head!  
Bottom line: relax but be constantly aware; be confident; live by the rules; enjoy your visits. All the effort on your part brings so much joy to others. 

From one probationary volunteer to all others, congratulations on completing your mentoring period! May you all have 20 wonderful years of visits ahead of you.

With thanks for all you do,

Lee Gaffney

VPP Volunteer Appreciation Picnic 2012


Board members with big smiles as we celebrate 25 years of service to Orleans, Jefferson and
St. Tammany parishes. 

Our most sincere thanks to all of you who came out in the sunshine to enjoy our Volunteer Appreciation Picnic. It was a fun time to socialize with fellow volunteers, meet their family and friends, and to snuggle with their 4 legged teammates. It was also time to celebrate our 25 years of service to the community. Celebrating with that fabulously yummy cake made the day extra special! Congratulations to all who earned the awards that were presented at the event. A special thanks to Stacey Warnke for many of the beautiful photos you see here and on our web site. And to all the people who helped us with the manual labor...Bless You! There would be no picnic without you!       

Pet award recipients included:
3 Years of Service:
Annemarie Fisher
Bijou-Cindy Baucum
Hercules-Kevin Hand
Sally- Candice Sirmon 
3 year award recipients in attendance(from left to right) Lucy with Ann Marie Fisher, Hercules with Kevin Hand and
Sally with Candice Sirmon.

6 Years of Service:
Madison-Shirley Walters
9 Years of Service:
Maxx-Linda Wegmann
Bud-Laura Williams

Bud received his 9 year service award with handler Laura Williams

12 Years of Service:
Oscar-Helen Schneidau
Oscar, the cat, is missing from the picture. He received his 12 years service award which was accepted by his handler, Helen Schneidau

15 Years of Service
Ginny Belle-Lee and Tom Gaffney

People award recipients were:

5 Years of Service
Kim Barrett
Joy Sturtevant
Sandy Woods

5 years of service recipients Sandy Woods and Joy Sturtevant

10 Years of Service

Dawn Adams
Brenda Chetta
Ellen Goldring
Gayle Kroeger
Marcia Legendre
Dot McIntyre
Ginger Schell
Kim Bradley
Patty Spampneto 
Monica Stephens
Recipients of 10 year service awards include (left to right) Dot McIntyre, Monica Stephens, Gayle Kroeger, Brenda Chetta, Ginger Schell and Kim Bradley.

15 Years of Service
Rebecca Breaud 

20 Years of Service
Lee Gaffney
Tom Gaffney
Lee and Tom Gaffney received awards for 20 years of service. Their dog, Ginny Belle, also received an award for her 15 years of service.

2012 Outstanding Volunteers
2012 Outstanding Volunteers (left to right) Joy Sturtevant, Corrine Klare(standing for husband Bob Klare), Creevy Clay, Brenda Chetta and Diane Smith.

Volunteers Brenda Chetta, Creevy Clay, Bob Klare, Diane Smith and Joy Sturtevant were the 2012 recipients of the coveted Outstanding Volunteer award.

All of these volunteers went above and beyond their required monthly visit. From doing additional visits during the month, to serving as Mentors to our probationary volunteers, to dedicated participation to our Reading to Rover program, to volunteering to represent our organization at a variety of community events- their devotion to our mission is overwhelming! We thank each one for sharing their time and talents with us. We are honored to call them Visiting Pet Program volunteers.
Guardian Angels
           A donation was received from
Nina and Al Bourgeois in loving memory of their dear friend and fellow dog lover,
          Jean Thompson Romano



A donation was received from
Lee Gaffney in memory of Lizette, dog owned by Yvonne Kaul


A donation was received from

Ginny and Myron Tuman 
in honor of Cindy O'Donnell's birthday
A donation was received from Linda and Mike Wegmann in loving memory of their Golden angel
Maxx to celebrate nine years of bringing love and leaving smiles through the VPP and Reading to Rover.
A donation was received from John and Kathleen Davenport
in memory of their beagle, Molly 
Donations were received in memory of Linda Wegmann's golden retriever, Maxx, from
Joyce Lashley
Claire Sommers
Joy Sturtevant
Annemarie Fisher and
Dot McIntire
A donation was received from Lee and Tom Gaffney in memory of Millie Ball's dog, Millie


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 25 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