Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

 October 2013
Volume 13, Issue 2

Take Note! 







New Volunteer Orientation

Saturday, October 19, 2013

2:00pm to 4:00pm


Saturday, June 14, 2014

10:00am to 12:00pm


Sunday, July 13, 2014 2:00pm to 4:00pm



 Harahan Senior Center

 100 Elodie

  Pre-registration required

Contact Claire Sommers at paws4visits@gmail.com to register



Pet/Handler Evaluation


January 4, 2014


Saturday, September 6, 2014


 Harahan Senior Center

   100 Elodie

 Pre-registration required

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





Happy Retirement:

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


Donna Lammon retired her dog,

Clyde joined the VPP in 2011 and was a regular at Christwood on the Northshore.

Chip Gomila

retired his dog,  

Mina joined the VPP in 2010 and was a regular at Christwood on the Northshore.  



 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program




 Monthly Schedules for Fall 2013




  Help VPP by shopping through IGive




  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise





It's finally fall and our visits are back in full swing. Our fall evaluation was a huge success, bringing us 17 new volunteers with 16 new dogs as well as 2 current volunteers who had a new pet successfully tested. Read about them in the article below. 

My first visit this fall was on that horrible, rainy September Saturday morning. By 8am my back yard was flooded, by 8:30am, the street was under water. It dawned on me that we just might not make our visit. My heart sank. The dogs were ready, Tommy and I were ready. The weather was the only issue. Finally by 9:30am the street had gone down enough for us to make our escape.

When we arrived at the facility we were greeted by the other volunteers....one carrying the biggest golf umbrella I've ever seen. She had a big towel and was frantically trying to dry her soaking wet dog. Another volunteer had megga poop bags and clean up supplies with her. She was anticipating the worst as everyone knows dogs don't like to do their duty in wet yards!

We were all a bit frazzled by our frantic attempts to make our visit under extreme conditions, but WE MADE IT! That's when it dawned on me...we are like the postal service! Rain, hail, sleet ...everyone still showed up! Talk about dedication!

As we made our rounds, the reason we made the effort became very apparent. Person after person greeted us with "I didn't think you would come because of the weather. I sure am glad to see you!".

That said it all. That is why we made the effort. It would have been very easy to just forget it and crawl back under the cozy covers and listen to the rain. Instead, we brought smiles and snuggles to people who could not get out at all. They had nothing to look forward to on that rainy day but our visit-a visit they genuinely appreciated. THEY made my heart sing over and over that day.

May your heart sing on every visit!

With thanks for all you do,

Lee Gaffney
Meet the New Volunteers


We welcome our new volunteers:



Nicole Barre with Sugar, the Boxer/Standard Poodle Mix. Nicole is an actress and acting teacher having appeared in several movies and commercials. Sugar loves meeting new people and taking walks on the levee.


Martha Bell with Ginger and Honey, both Pekingese. Martha is a retired school teacher and has rescued many dogs. Ginger and Honey love to be around people and trips to the park.


Chuck Bruno with Jazz, the English Cocker Spaniel. Chuck enjoys photography and also volunteers at WYES. Jazz is friendly and enjoys his daily walks.


Louis Calato, Jr. with Kozmo, the Lab Mix. Louis is retired from the insurance industry and enjoys volunteering at sporting events such as the Super Bowl. Kozmo loves visits to the dog parks and having guests at the house.


Shannon Derksen with Maggie, the Golden Retriever. Shannon is a recent law school graduate and works for a firm in Mandeville. Maggie enjoys visits to cafes and has also participated in pet training programs.


Susan Fischer with Cisco, the Greyhound. Susan is a retired RN and is active in It's A Grey Area Adoption Greyhound Group. Cisco loves going to Greyhound Meet & Greets.


Bruce Galbraith with Gunther, the Dachshund. Bruce is a retired professional counselor and is a participant in the Victim-Offender Dialogue Program with the LA. Dept. of Corrections. Gunther loves walks and to visit new places.


Jacinta Kehoe with Sebastian, the Husky/Golden Retriever Mix. Jacinta is a writer, former English teacher and has been involved as a volunteer with animal shelters and foster dogs. Sebastian loves going to the farmer's market, Petsmart and has attended dog swimming parties.


Donna and Paul LaRosa with Smalls, the Terrier/Chihuahua Mix. Donna is a cost analyst with an engineering company and enjoys running and tennis. Paul is a retired investor relations professional and enjoys participating as a high school football official. Smalls loves children and loves to sit in their lap.


Kristin Lausten with Lucia, the Standard Poodle. Kristin is an attorney and volunteers with the junior committee of the New Orleans Opera Guild. Lucia loves to visit local bars and is familiar with many commands.


Kris Losee with Bo, the Greyhound. Kris is an administrator with a law firm and is a volunteer with Greyhound Pets of America. Bo loves to attend Greyhound Meet & Greets.


Jamie Parker with Poochie, the Boston Terrier. Jamie is an attorney and learned about VPP in her neighborhood newsletter that highlighted a Reading To Rover event. Poochie enjoys walks in the park and attending social functions with people and pets.


Lynn Reeves with Deuce, the Dachshund. Lynn recently retired as an educator and conducts a cooking class/catering business. Deuce loves going for walks and being petted.


James Riley with Max, the Golden Retriever. James is a law school graduate and loves sports, cars and dogs. Max loves going for walks in the park. 

Christie Thomas
with Toodle Lou, the West Highland Terrier. Christie is the Director of the Office of Intl. Students and Scholars at UNO and enjoys art, music and reading. Toodle Lou interacts with a variety of people including those with walkers, canes and scooters.


JoAnn Toups with Sadie, the Lab/German Shepherd Mix. JoAnn is the Administrative Coordinator at LaPorte, CPA and has witnessed the benefits of pet therapy. Sadie enjoys meeting people and neighborhood walks.




Claire Sommers with Sadie, the Greyhound. Claire has a strong commitment to the VPP and is an active board member. Sadie loves going to City Bark, pet stores and bars.   

Monica Stephens with Pixie and Jaali, the Ridgebacks. Monica has been a member of VPP for ten years and is active in Ridgeback Rescue. Jaali and Pixie enjoy going to festivals, dog parks and pet stores.



Guardian Angels
   A donation was received from  

Helen Schneidau  

in memory of  

Marcia Legendre's pet,






A Donation was received from  

Cox Communication Dollars for Doers, nominated by VPP member Shannon Bernard


A donation was received from  

Jill Dolese


Donations were received from  

New Orleans Flea and United Way



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 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