Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

 October 2014
Volume 14, Issue 2

Take Note! 







New Volunteer Orientation

Saturday, October 18, 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 10, 2015



 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








Our Deepest Sympathy to 


Cher Lassiter, who lost her beloved golden retriever, Lady Emma.


Cher and Lady Emma joined the VPP in 2013 and were regulars at Bayside and Westbank Reading to Rover.



 Quick Links

  Visiting Pet Program




 Monthly Schedules for Fall 2014




  Help VPP by shopping through IGive




  Shop for great therapy dog books at Dogwise





Our fall evaluation was a tremendous success. For the first time in recent memory, every dog passed and every person brought everything they were supposed to bring! Remarkable! It made for a very pleasant evaluation day. 


Many of you will be asked to act as an observation team or a buddy for our new volunteers. They are all eager to learn from you and your experiences.  Share the skills you have learned to help the new folks develop into wonderful teams they have the potential to be. You can read about all our new volunteers in the article below.


Our first MITs (Members in Training) are in this new fall group. Sisters Sarah and Sophie Rose will be escorted by their parents, new volunteers Cherie and Randy Rose. Sarah is a Dominican High School 9th grader and Sophie is a 7th grader at Ursuline Academy.  The girls did very well on their pre-visit written test and seem very excited to start their visiting career. Be on the lookout for them on your upcoming visits.


A special thanks to Danna Morris for a remarkable job of pulling the summer orientations and evaluation together and to Barbara Hyland for supporting our new volunteers as they go through our probationary period.  Great job ladies!


Lee Gaffney

Meet the New Volunteers


We welcome our new volunteers:


Emilie Airhart with Hugh, the Treeing Walker Coonhound. Emilie is active with New Orleans Bulldog Rescue and assists Looziana Basset Rescue with their foster program.  Hugh loves to attend events at the mall and visits to the dog park.


Janet Austin with Marcello, the Spinone Italiano. Janet and Marcello were a certified therapy team in NYC and would like to continue this work in New Orleans. Marcello enjoys neighborhood walks and visits to the park.


Rita Bezou and Jesse, the Greyhound. Rita is a teacher of Fine Arts at Ridgewood Prep School and assists the fostering program of 'It's A Grey Area'. Jesse loves to visit dog parks and pet stores.


Catherine Counts with Bruno, the Texas Heeler.  Catherine is a doctoral student at Tulane Univ. School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. She is also involved with La. Task Force I Urban Search & Rescue Canine Team. Bruno loves going to the dog park and performing tricks such as catch, shake and dance.


Stacie Humble and Benny, the Catahoula. Stacie has been working with dogs for fourteen years and also operates a dog grooming salon. She also enjoys traveling and crochet. Benny enjoys going to pet stores and giving a high five.


Sabrina Jacks with Evangeline, the Pit Bull Mix. Sabrina works at Canine Connection, teaches Agility for Fun for the LA/SPCA and is active with Looziana Basset Rescue and New Orleans Bulldog Rescue.  Evangeline loves attending the Barkus parade and agility classes.


Holly Lambert and Lucy, the Black Lab Mix. Holly is office manager for Lambert's Orthotics and Prosthetics and also works with breast cancer survivors and amputees daily. Lucy enjoys socializing at festivals, dog parks, restaurants and bars.


Cherie, Randy, Sarah & Sophie Rose with Daisy & Dexter, the Toy Poodle and Bichon/Poodle Mix.  Cherie is an occupational therapist with experience working in patient's homes as well as health care facilities. She is also a Girl Scout Leader of two troops. Randy is owner of a home health staffing company & outpatient clinic. He is also involved with the Men's Club of St. Francis Xavier School. Sarah is a 9th grader at Dominican High School and Sophie is a 7th grader at Ursuline Academy. Both girls enjoy the company of their friends and attending sleepovers.  Daisy and Dexter love going to the dog park, neighborhood walks and the pet store.


Pearce Webb and Preslie, the Yellow Lab. Pearce is a paralegal with Forman Perry and has been involved with the Junior League. Preslie responds to the commands of sit, stay, roll over and loves a belly rub. 


Gina Young and Coqui, the American Pit Bull.  Gina is a biologist for Mosquito Control Services and is also an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying camping, hiking and canoeing. Coqui loves going to Mardi Gras parades and outdoor restaurants and bars.






Cindy O'Donnell and Cusco, the Shih Tzu.  Cindy has been an active member of VPP for four years and works in pharma sales. Cindy also practices healing touch energy work for people and pets. Cusco loves neighborhood walks, visits to the coffee shop and visiting Cindy's dad in the nursing home.


Guardian Angels

A donation was received from Fay and Bill Schulz in honor of Claire Sommers' pet, Forrest.


A donation was received from New Orleans Fleas Market.


Donations were received from Tammy Battalio, Katherine Smith, Sue and Marty Peters, Laura and Mike Durden, and Mark and Aurora  Allenman in memory of Annemarie and Bert Fisher's pet, Lexi and Lucy.


A donation was received from Fay ad Bill Schultz in memory of Freida Blackburn.


A donation was received from Creevy and Roger Clay in memory of Geraldine Rivera's pet, Beauty.


A donation was received from Barbara Hyland in memory of Cher Lassiter's pet, Lady Emma.


A donation was received from Creevy Clay in honor of Mostley's (Creevey's pet) 12 th birthday.


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 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