Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

February 2014 Volume 13, Issue 4

Take Note! 







 Volunteer Appreciation Picnic


 Sunday, March 30, 2014



 Kenner Veterans Park

1925 Williams Blvd

Kenner, LA 70065


 Mark Your Calendar

  Register Here   





Summer Seminars


It is time to plan our summer continuing education workshops.

Your input with ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Email Lee Gaffney with ideas at paws4visits@gmail.com







New Volunteer Orientation

June 14, 2013

 10:00am to 12:00 pm


July 13, 2013

2:00pm to 4:00 pm

October 18, 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

September 6, 2014


January 10, 2015


 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


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


Annemarie Fisher, who retired Lucy.   Lucy joined in 2008 and was a regular at Our Lady Of Wisdom.  Lucy, the lovely Golden Retriever, has reached the remarkable age of 13 years old.  She has aged gracefully but the time has come for her to hang up her VPP leash and enjoy retirement.  



Clay Latimer, who retired her Greyhound, Connie.  Clay and Connie joined the VPP  in 2011 and were regulars at East Jefferson General Hospital.   Clay stated that at 10 1/2 years old ,   Connie seems to think that she deserves to be retired, not just from the track, but from anything that requires more than a 15-20 minute attention span.   We all need to be our pet's best advocate and "listen" when they tell us they are ready to hang up their VPP leash and enjoy retirement.




Monica Stephens, who  retired Pinot, her teeny tiny Pomeranian.   Pinot joined VPP in 2011 and was a regular at St. Joseph Nursing Home.   Pinot might be small in stature but is big in personality.   But as we all know our pets age far too quickly.  And at age 13 years  it just so happens that Pinot's age has caught up with him.   Monica will continue to volunteer with her 2 Ridgebacks. 




 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program


   Monthly Schedules for Spring 2014 


  Help VPP by shopping through IGive


  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise




As I write this, it is 30 degrees outside and flurries of sleet are expected to fall soon. To keep me warm, I put another log on the fire and decided to think about our wonderful Annual Meeting and Family Picnic. That event always warms my heart.


From the camaraderie shared with those who love our animals and share our mission, to the great food and exciting games, it's a day not to be missed. VPP provides everything except your chair. Just come and enjoy. Bring the family and your VPP dog.  It's Sunday, March 30th at the Kenner Veterans Park. If you haven't already done so, register by going to this link. More details are listed there.



This year, as a way of giving back to the Harahan Senior Center, we are collecting items to sell in their flea market. Just bring your gently used items (cleaned, folded/hung and ready to sell) to the Annual Meeting and give to board member Dana Morris. Dana will deliver all the donations to the Senior Center for us.


Speaking of seniors, a dear friend shared a poem with me that I thought I would share with all of you. I hope you enjoy it.


Lee Gaffney




When I am old...
 I will wear soft gray sweatshirts...
 And a bandana over my silver hair.....
 And I will spend my social security checks on wine and my dogs.


 I will sit in my house on my well-worn chair
 And listen to my dogs' breathing.
 I will sneak out in the middle of a warm summer night
 And take my dogs for a run, if my old bones will allow...


  When people come to call, I will smile 
 And nod as I show them my dogs...
 And talk of them and about them...
 ...the ones so beloved of the past
 And the ones so beloved of today....


 I will still work hard cleaning after them,
 Mopping and feeding them and 
 Whispering their names in a soft loving way.


 I will wear the gleaming sweat on my throat,
 Like a jewel and I will be an embarrassment to all...
 Especially my family...
 Who have not yet found the peace in being free 
 To have dogs as your best friends....


 These friends who always wait, at any hour, for your footfall...
 And eagerly jump to their feet out of a sound sleep,
 To greet you as if you are a God.


With warm eyes full of adoring love and hope
 That you will always stay,
 I'll hug their big strong necks...
 I'll kiss their dear sweet heads...
 And whisper in their very special company....


I look in the Mirror...and see I am getting old....
 This is the kind of person I am...and have always been.
 Loving dogs is easy,
 They are part of me.

Please accept me for who I am.
 My dogs appreciate my presence in their lives...
 They love my presence in their lives......
 When I am old this will be important to me...
 You will understand when you are old....
 If you have dogs to love too.

VPP Volunteer Appreciation Picnic and Annual Meeting 2014


It's that exciting time of year again!!!


The VPP Volunteer Appreciation Day Picnic and Award ceremony will be held Sunday, March 30, 2014 from 1pm-3pm. Come on out and join the fun at Kenner Veterans Park (1925 Williams Boulevard) in Kenner. A map to Veterans Park, 1925 Williams Blvd in Kenner is linked below.


The VPP will provide sandwiches, snacks and soft drinks. Bring the family and your own chairs or a blanket to sit on and enjoy an afternoon of fun. We will have access to several covered shelters and a great play gym for the kids.


Please confirm your attendance (note how many guests will attend) by registering below. Each VPP member is welcomed to bring one guest at no charge. Additional guests are welcome at a nominal fee of $5.00 per person.


To be sure there is enough food for everyone, we need an accurate head count no later than March 1.


Some rules to remember...

  • 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.

We hope you and your dog will be able to attend this family fun day. Please respond no later than March 1 and give us a head count for your guests.


We look forward to seeing you on March 30th!  

Meet the New Volunteers


Lucia Abramovich with Oscar, the Beagle Mix. Lucia is a Curatorial Fellow at NOMA. Lucia also sings with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans. Oscar loves children, neighborhood walks and visiting a neighborhood bar.   


Margie Berry with Sugar, the Bichon/Poodle Mix. Margie is retired from the real estate industry and enjoys gardening and genealogy.  Margie is also a Eucharistic Minister. Sugar loves to visit with people and go for walks.


Julie Burak with Fox, the Wiry Haired Terrier. Julie is employed by the American Red Cross serving a year of service through the AmeriCorps program. Fox loves road trips, especially to NJ and loves to go camping.


Pat Crosby with Lucy, the Shih Tzu. Pat is a retired teacher and is now an instructor for court reporting, having been a court reporter for many years. Lucy loves people and other animals. She also loves to be petted.


Deborah Duperon with Lucas, the Lab Mix. Debbie is retired from the USDA Forest Service. Hobbies include gardening, reading and traveling. Lucas loves to socialize, whether on trips to the beach, hiking or walks in the park.


Jean Inman & Steve Inman with Scout, the Labradoodle. Jean is a retired legal assistant. Presently she is involved with the Discovery Walk at the zoo, holding animals for children and telling them of their characteristics. Steve is a retired oilfield engineer and enjoys fishing, jogging and golf. Scout loves to go for walks and responds to sit, stay, lay and heel.


Alissa Johnson with Daisy, the Mixed Breed.  Alissa is employed with Ochsner, working with statistics. Alissa is also president of Animal Helper. Daisy loves being petted and responds to the commands of sit, down and stay.


Stacey Larrison with Captain, the Golden Retriever. Stacey is Health Systems Manager for a biotech company. Stacey also enjoys yoga and traveling. Captain loves his walks and doing belly flops in the pool. Captain is named after 'Captain Hook' because he was born with a crooked/broken tail.


Sandy Parker with Effie Trinket, the Persian Cat.  Sandy is involved in the film industry as a script supervisor. Sandy is also on the board of Women in Film & Television Louisiana. Effie Trinket loves to be held and petted and is very comfortable with everyone.


Beatriz Pereira with Astolpho, the DSH Cat. Beatriz, originally from Brazil, is a faculty member at Tulane. Beatriz also conducts research on consumer behavior. Astolpho is a world traveler, originally rescued in Michigan and has made many trips to Brazil. Astolpho loves people and loves to play and be brushed.


Cynthia Poblete with Satchmo, the French Bulldog. Cynthia is retired from the criminal justice system having served as a federal officer. Satchmo loves meeting people and is familiar with the commands of sit and down.

Current Volunteers Add Pets



Kim Barrett with Jax, the Mixed Breed. Kim enjoys her pet visits with VPP and is active in volunteer activities at her church. Jax loves to travel and also enjoys neighborhood walks.


Lee Gaffney and Tom Gaffney with Gabrielle Pearl, the Mixed Breed and Stanley Watson, the Terrier Mix. Lee is president of VPP as well as president of New Orleans Oral School. Lee also teaches 'Agility For Fun' on behalf of the LA/SPCA. Tom is also a long-standing member of VPP and is a board member of the New Orleans Personal Computer Club.  Gabrielle Pearl and Stanley Watson love people and attending animal events. Both have successfully completed several obedience training courses. 


Barbara Hyland with Alex, the Greyhound. Barbara is active in VPP as well as a volunteer and member of the advisory board of the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. Alex loves people as well as his daily walks. 


Mary Rowe and Koa, the Standard Poodle. Mary is an RN in ICU at EJGH. Mary also enjoys reading and gardening. Koa loves going to the dog park, festivals and dog friendly restaurants. 

Guardian Angels
A donation was received from

Lee Gaffney in memory of Vickie Rianda's Angel


Donations were received from 
New Orleans Flea Market, United Way, and Martha Myers


A donation was received from Michael Rosenthal in tribute to the Rosenthal Clan
A donation was received from Lee Gaffney in memory of Kevin Hand's brother, Michael
A donation was received from Ray and Johanna Habisreitinger in honor of  Fay and Bill Schultz; JJ, Mozart & Betty 


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 27 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