Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

February 2012 Volume 11, Issue 4

Take Note! 










 Volunteer Appreciation Picnic


 Sunday, March 4, 2012


 Soniat Playground in Harahan, LA. 

Mark Your Calendar

Register Here 







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.







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





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






 Happy Retirement



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


Linda Wegmann
  who retired her golden retriever 


 Linda and Maxx joined the VPP in 2002. At 12

years of age Maxx is a senior and deserving of rest and relaxation.  


 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program


  Monthly Schedules for Spring 2012


  Help VPP by shopping through IGive


  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise




As we enter 2012, we celebrate 25 years of "bringing love and leaving smiles" to the more than 20 facilities we serve in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. When I became involved with this program 20 years ago, there were just 7 volunteers and we visited about 6 facilities, each just twice a year. My how things have changed! If you haven't already done so, be sure to read about our history on the web page. Click "about us" at http://www.visitingpetprogram.org


While you are on the web page, check out the new pet memorial page. It is up and running and waiting for your loving memory of your therapy pet. Please submit your stories and photos to our web master, Danna Morris at dannamorris@gmail.com. She is looking forward to hearing from you.


At our most recent Board meeting, we took a closer look at our Buddy/Mentor program and discussed ways to improve it so that we are training the best in our mentors and thus, training the best in our volunteers. Two important changes were made to the program. First, a potential buddy must be recommended to the Board and will then be invited to attend the Buddy Workshop held in September and January. The second important change is that prior to participating independently in a first buddy visit, the new mentor will shadow a seasoned mentor on a buddy visit. The new mentor will observe the skills and techniques of the seasoned veteran as part of the new mentor's hands on training. Our mentor program is the key to training successful volunteers. We want to be sure our buddies are as skilled and knowledgeable as possible.


On Sunday, March 4th we will officially celebrate our 25 years of service at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic. Your 2 legged family members are invited to attend as well as your 4 legged therapy dog. If you have not yet received your invitation, please contact me at paws4visits@gmail.com and I'll email another one to you. Be sure to register on line before the due date so that we can have an accurate head count. We look forward to seeing all of you there.


With thanks for all you do,
Lee Gaffney

VPP Volunteer Appreciation Picnic 2012


The VPP Volunteer Appreciation Day Picnic and Award ceremony will be held Sunday, March 4th, 2012 from 1pm-3pm. Please come  out and join the fun at the Soniat Playground in Harahan. Soniat Playground is located at 6601 10th Street, Harahan, LA 70123.    


All human VPP volunteers, certified and probationary, and their family, kids and guests are invited. VPP dogs that have completed certification are invited to attend. Unfortunately, we cannot invite dogs that are not certified through our program. Dogs that are still in the probationary phase Are Not allowed to attend. All dogs must remain on leash throughout the entire event and, just like on visits, only one dog per handler. 

As always, flexi-leashes are not permitted. Certified volunteers are asked to wear their green VPP shirts. 

The VPP will provide sandwiches, snacks and soft drinks. Bring the kids and your own chairs or a blanket to sit on and enjoy an afternoon of fun. We will have access to two covered shelters and a great play gym for the kids. Please confirm your attendance (note how many guests will attend) to be sure there is enough food for everyone, we need an accurate head count no later than Feb 27th, 2012.  register here  

We look forward to seeing everyone!


Meet the New Volunteers

Diana Alcazar-O'Dowd
with Lilou, the Blue Heeler Mix.

Diana's background is in the animal health industry and is planning to enroll in a program with Bergin University of Canine Studies. Lilou enjoys going to restaurants that allow pets and interacting with people, regardless of their age.


Linda Bauer with Jazz, the Mixed Breed.

Linda works at a local bookstore. She also enjoys long distance cycling. Jazz loves to go on walks in the neighborhood or park.


Cara Beal with Bebhinn, the Maremma Sheepdog.

Cara is a full-time student but wanted to volunteer with a group that would include her dog. Bebhinn is a gentle giant that loves people and walks in the park.


Christopher & Jennifer Bech with Maya, the Schnauzer-Shih Tzu-Poodle Mix.

Christopher is an agent with a life insurance company and also a financial service professional. Jennifer recently graduated from nursing school. Both are licensed pyrotechnicians, shooting professional fireworks shows. Maya loves the Barkus parade and has enjoyed visits to City Bark since it opened.


Anna Breaux with Izzy, the Beagle.

Anna is a CPA and a lawyer employed by a CPA firm. She is also active with New Orleans Oral School. Izzy loves to meet people and go for neighborhood walks.


Leslie Campbell with Baxter, the Pug/Chihuahua Mix.

Leslie is a structural engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers and is a soccer player as well as a volunteer soccer coach for the Miracle League.

Baxter loves to go to the dog park and especially the soccer games.


Danielle Nodurft & Judy Nodurft with Midnight, the Mixed Breed.

Danielle is employed with Ochsner Health System in the Emergency Department. Judy works for the Jefferson Parish School System as the coordinator for all speech pathologists. Midnight loves people and is entertaining. He can shake with his paw.

Current Volunteers Add Pets


Kimberly Bradley with Molly, the Great Pyrenees and Lucy, the Golden Retriever.

Kimberly is a senior pediatric occupational therapist. Both Molly and Lucy enjoy festivals, parks and meeting people.


Sheliah DiJohn with Baby Anthony, the Shih Tzu.

Sheliah is a teacher for Jefferson Parish Public Schools. Baby Anthony is very affectionate and loves people.


Linda Ferguson with Finnegan, the Cairn Terrier.

Linda has been an active member of VPP for nearly ten years. Finnegan is a lap dog who loves to cozy up to people.


Lee & Tommy Gaffney with Andy, the Mixed Breed.

Lee is president of the VPP and is also the Advancement Coordinator for Delgado Community College. Tommy works for Brinson Company in sales. Both have been with VPP over twenty years. Andy loves people, any age. Loves to be petted, too.


Barbara Hyland with Zambi, the Greyhound.

Barbara is enjoying retirement, allowing time to volunteer and travel. Zambi loves to go for her daily walks, whether in the neighborhood or lakefront.  


Guardian Angels
           A donation was received from
Claire Sommers in loving memory of
             Cindy Goldstein's dog



A donation was received from
Hap and Johanna Habisreitinger in
honor of
Fay Schultz

and her service to VPP


A donation was received from

Christina Fay 
in loving memory of
owned by
Kevin Kornman
A donation was received from
the Aetna Foundation
on behalf of Aetna volunteer
Barbara Hyland


A donation was received from
Kathleen Davenport
A donation was received from
Barbara Hyland in loving memory of
                       Cathy Burch's dog Annabelle
A donation was received from
Barbara Hyland in memory of
Gay Korndorffer's dog Kai Kai
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