Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

 December 2013
Volume 12, Issue 4

Take Note! 





 New Volunteer Orientation


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

 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:


Creevy Clay who retired her pet, Mostley due to health issues. Creevy and Mostley joined the VPP in 2010 and have been regulars at Chateau and Children's.   We are so lucky that Creevy will continue to volunteer with the VPP in the buddy program.


Tobi Provanzano who retired her dog, Cayenne. Cayenne joined the VPP in 2009. Tobi and Cayenne were regulars at Touro Infirmary visits. We are so lucky that Tobi will continue to volunteer with the VPP in the buddy program.

Holiday Gift Idea



If you are looking for a holiday gift for an animal lover or just a good read for yourself, pick up A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home by Sue Halpern. VPP members, Pat Egers and Maggie, gifted me with a copy of this newly released book and, although not finished, I have enjoyed every page of it.  
Ms. Halpern starts at the beginning....getting her 7 year old mutt, Pransky, ready for her TDI test. 
I giggled my way through the antics Sue and Pransky endured trying to learn to walk on a loose leash. Then there was the anxiety of the test itself. All very familiar stories!
Ms. Halpern "gets it" and with energy, enthusiasm, empathy, humor and just enough statistics and research to keep things interesting, she shares her experiences with us.

This well written, inspiring and fun read goes to the heart of everything we do. Available at www.amazon.com.
Lee Gaffney


 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program



The 2014 Spring visit schedule
is now on the web site.
Be sure to confirm your Spring visits
no later than
December 15th  

 Monthly Schedules for Spring 2014




  Help VPP by shopping through IGive




  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise







It's hard to believe that it is the end of yet another year. For the past 26 years, the Visiting Pet Program has proudly served facilities in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes.


When I think back over my 21 years with the organization, I think of the many places my therapy pets have brought me-TV stations in the wee hours of the morning, schools, churches, Rotary Club and Brownie Troop meetings, summer camps, City Hall and, most recently, the Old State Capital. I also think of the many friendships I have known through the years-both 2 and 4 legged, VPP members and those we visit. My life is so much richer because of the Visiting Pet Program.


Your dedication to our mission and your devotion to the animals is what makes VPP work and work so well. As we bring 2013 to a close, I'd like to thank each of you for all you give-give to each other, give to those we serve, give to your pets and give to me. 


May we all have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014! On to our 27th year of service!


Lee Gaffney


VPP Receives 2013  
Governor's GOLD award

In an effort to increase public awareness and acknowledge the efforts of those that have advanced the quality of life for Louisiana's disability community,
the Governor
's Office of Disability Affairs annually host the Governor's Outstanding Leadership in Disabilities Awards. These awards are presented to individuals, organizations, agencies and employers whose contributions have advanced the opportunities of individuals with disabilities or for those who have been selfless in serving the disability community in Louisiana.

The 2013 Service Animal of the Year GOLD Award was presented to the Visiting Pet Program at a ceremony held recently at the Old State Capital in Baton Rouge. The award recognizes the bond between animals and humans and the service, companionship and therapy
  animals provide to people with specific physical and mental needs. 

Making the trip to Baton Rouge to represent the VPP at the ceremony were Claire Sommers, Program Coordinator, Lee Gaffney, President, Fay Schultz and Mozart, Malay Ghose-Hajra, Monica Stephens and Mike Azarello. Included in photo is Jamar Ennis from the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs. 



Four Paw Salute

Barbara Hyland would like to thank members of the Buddy Program who joined her in assisting with the probationary pet visits for the September'13 evaluation group. Cooperation from everyone is the key to the success of this program.    

Buddy members included Jeanette Albert, Diana Alcazar, Mike Azzarello, Millie Ball, Kim Barrett, Pam Bellone, Kathleen Caulkins, Creevy Clay, Kimberley Clayton, Nancy Feild, Lee Gaffney, Jerry Gibel, Dawn Hagmann, Malay Hajra, Kevin Hand, Delia Hardie, Joyce Lashley, Dot McIntyre, Denise Mehurin, Nicole Parks, Tobi Provenzano, Fay Schultz, Diane Smith, Claire Sommers, Patty Spampneto, Monica Stephens, Joy Sturtevant, Laura Williams.  In addition, the following members assisted with observation visits:  Elizabeth Burke, Jennifer Buuck, Robin Pennell, Andra Ponson, Mary Rowe, Vickie Salter, Nancy Tatarski, Karen Terry, Sandy Woods. 


A thank you is extended to all who helped to welcome our new volunteers.

Guardian Angels



A donation was received from
Robin Kanner


Donation was received from
Mike Azzarello
and the
ATT Work Group


A donation was received from United Way


Donation was received from Mildred Ball


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