Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

August 2013    Volume 13, Issue 1

Take Note!   






New Volunteer Orientation


October 19, 2013

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


January 4, 2014


 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



In Orleans Parish  



Held on the second Thursday of each month, Rosa Keller Library,
4300 South Broad
New Orleans
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  

  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




Our Deepest Sympathies


Dot McIntyre,
who lost her beloved sheltie,




joined the 

VPP in 2001 and

was a regular at Bayside and Our Lady of Wisdom. 

Tammy was also very active in the westbank

Reading To Rover events.




  Happy Retirement


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



Kim Bradley, who retired her

golden retriever


 Abby joined the VPP in 2001.

Abby was a regular at Magnolia School and participated in the Children's Hospital pet visit program.


Helen Schneidau, who retired her cat Oscar.

Oscar joined the VPP in 1999.

Oscar was a regular at Covenant and John Hainkel Home.



 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program


  Monthly Schedules for Fall 2013 


  Help VPP by shopping through IGive


  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise


Camp Lighthouse  

Zan and Lucy
visit with a camper

Also this summer, eight Visiting Pet teams visited Camp Lighthouse, a camp for visually impaired children and teens run by Lighthouse. Our teams included VPP teams Zan and Lucy, Joie and Benny, Mike and Olive Oyl, Mary and Kokomo, Cathy and Chloe, Nicole and McKenzie, Beth and Nachi and Robin and Ruby.Teams were broken up into two groups. One group visited with the younger children while the second group visited with the teens. The groups switched midway through the visit. The children and teens introduced themselves to the VPP teams and the VPP teams did likewise. Once the formalities were out of the way, it was all about loving on the pups! Most of the campers had some experience with seeing eye dogs, but they are not allowed to play with them. They loved that they were able to play with our dogs. We watched and responded as the kids used their other senses in order to ask questions about the dogs. Both campers and VPP teams thoroughly enjoyed the visit and look forward to future visits. 


Nicole Parks 

Summer Seminars

Dr. Andra Ponson and Bacchus

Our own Andra Ponson, DVM, (Bacchus' mom) shared her knowledge and expertise with all of us at our July seminar on pet poisons.
Dr. Ponson offered information and answered questions for almost 2 hours as the eager group was anxious to learn all they could about this life threatening issue. Dr. Ponson not only informed us of poisons to be aware of, but also gave us specific symptoms to look for and explained the treatment options for each poison. Our thanks to Dr. P. for a lifesaving presentation!

Finals at Loyola

In early May, nine Visiting Pet Program teams visited Loyola University New Orleans to give students a much needed    finals study break. Many students spoke about counting down the days until they returned home to their family pets. Others spoke about stressful finals and long nights of additional studying and paper writing. However, for a hour that night, nothing was more important than finding another dog to pet.

As much fun as the students had, the volunteers had just as much fun. Linda Baeur commented that "the students were great- so full of energy and they were all so excited to see the dogs" and "Jazz and I had a lot of fun." Malay Hajra said that "Mita enjoyed all of the attention from the students and was fast asleep soon after she had dinner." The teams are already looking forward to fall finals!

Teams involved were: Linda & Jazz, Jerry Gibel & Tancuj, Helen Hester & Chaz, Julie & Oscar, Nicole Parks & McKenzie, Malay & Mita, Kathleen & Jazz, Beth & Nachi and Jeanette & Toby

Nicole Parks  



Time to start our visits once again!Hard to believe we are entering our 27th year of service to Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. Even with all the great strides we have made following Hurricane Katrina, we continue to have a waiting list of facilities requesting our services. So nice to be in demand!


Our volunteers didn't take much of a break duing the summer months. Read below about some of their many activites during the summer. We're get the fall started with our Evaluation in early September and then welcome our new volunteers through out the fall.


If you have not already done so, be sure to send in your visit confirmations for September through December. Your schedules are due by August 15th.


Have a wonderful year of "Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles"!


With thanks for all you do,

Lee Gaffney


 Tales Wagging at Reading To Rover




The newly reopened Rosa Keller Library on Board Street welcomes our Reading To Rover program each month.


Reading to Rover is now entering its 13th year of success and is going stronger than ever! Attendance has increased at the libraries on both sides of the river. 


At the East Bank Regional library in Metairie, monthly RTR events bring more than 25 children reading to 7 patient K9 listeners. The West Bank Regional in Harvey has a very devoted group of pups who participate in the monthly Sunday afternoon reading session. The Broad Street Library has reopened and we now have 4 teams serving that area.  


We have again been invited to offer Reading to Rover events during the school year in conjunction with the STAIR program. STAIR is a volunteer-based, non-profit children's literacy organization that provides reading tutors for public school second grade students.   


For more information on Reading to Rover or to arrange to participate, contact Fay Schultz, Reading to Rover Coordinator, at fibrofay@cox.net.

 VPP at Camp Tiger

Eight therapy teams participated in the annual Camp Tiger field day in May.  Camp Tiger is a week long program for children with special needs put on by first-year students at the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans.  Camp Tiger offers its campers a wonderful opportunity to be fully accepted by peers and counselors as the incredible children that they are.


On Friday morning the campers travel to the large field behind Jesuit High School and enjoy a carnival just for them, with music, a petting zoo, inflatables, train rides, snowballs, and of course, the company of some wonderful dogs.  Attending this year from the Visiting Pet Program were Beth Joubert and Nachi, Nicole Thiberville and McKenzie, Mike Azzarello and Olive, Mike Oliver and Alley Oop, Joy Sturtevant and Benny, Robin Pennell and Ruby, Leslie Davis and Bacchus, and Bob Klare and Maggie.


Arriving at 8:30 in the morning, the dogs and handlers spent an hour and a half walking through the crowd, making friends with campers and counselors alike.  An outdoor event in late May means it is warm, but there was plenty of shade from the trees and lots of water (and snowball ice) to keep the dogs cool and happy.  Thanks to everybody who participated and helped make the day special for these wonderful kids.


Bob Klare



VPP at
Care Cadet Camp 

CCC 2013

VPP volunteers Barbara Hyland with Zambi and Creevy Clay with Mostly met with an attentive audience at their recent LASPCA Care Cadet Camp event. The kids enjoyed the company of fury friends and asked many great questions about animal-assisted pet therapy. The pups were great representatives of our organization's mission. Future VPP volunteers in training!

Thanks Barbara and Creevy for taking the time to share our story with the next generation!



Guardian Angels
 Donations were received from
Claire Sommers,
Brenda Chetta,
Nina Bourgeois,
Leslie Davis,
and Chip Anderson,
in memory of Al Bourgeois and his many years of VPP service.


A donation was received from
Leslie Davis in memory of Mr. Jackson Pennington.


Donations were received from
St. Pius X - Daisy Troop,
United Way,
Linda Ferguson,
and Barbara Hyland


Donations were received from
Claire Sommers, Joyce Lashley,
Michael and Linda Wegmann

in memory of Dot McIntyre's Tammy.


A donation was received from Bryan Parks
in honor of Nicole Park's birthday.


A donation was received from Fay and Bill Schultz
in memory of Marvin Leonard.


A donation was received from Creevey Clay
in honor of Mostley's 11th birthday.


A donation was received from Leslie Davis is memory of
Lee and Tom Gaffney's Ginny Belle.


A donation was received from Fay and Bill Schultz  in memory of James Howley.


A donation was received from Leslie Davis
in memory of Dr. Winsauer's mother, Madiha Winsauer.


A donation was received from Penny Hendryx-Leonard  in honor of Fay and Bill Schultz.


A donation was received from Fay and Bill Schultz
in memory of Johanna Habisreitinger's dog Tigger.


A donation was received from Institute of Mental Hygiene on behalf of Bonnie Goldblum.


A donation was received from Christina Fay
in memory of Kelly Fay's Smokey.


A donation was received from Claire Sommers  in memory of Matt Jacock's Chloe.


A donation was received from Harold and Penny Putfark
in memory of their beloved Mikey.


A donation was received from Fay and Bill Schultz
in memory of Jennifer Lemoine's pet, Shelby.


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 26 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

P.O. Box 24748, New Orleans, LA 70184-4748. 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