Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

 December 2014
Volume 14, Issue 6

Take Note! 





Spring 2015 Visit Confirmation


The 2015 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 2015



 New Volunteer Orientation


Saturday, June 13, 2015

10:00am to 12:00pm


Sunday, July 12, 2015

2:00pm to 4:00pm


Saturday, October 17, 2015

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

Saturday, September 5, 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



Happy Retirement:


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


Cathy Burch retired  Chloe.  Chloe joined VPP in 2007 was a regular at Ochsner


North shore member Janice Padwa retired Kismet. They joined VPP in 2010 and were regulars at Greenbriar. 


Lucia Abramovich retired her VPP dog Oscar due to a health issue.  Lucia and Oscar just joined the VPP in May 2014

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 Our Lady of Wisdom


Helen Schneidau, who lost her beloved cat, Oscar. Oscar joined the VPP in 1999 and retired in 2013.  He was a regular at Covenant and John Hainkel


Ocsar visiting at John Hainkel

 Quick Links






Every few years I pull out this poem to end the year. For those who have read it, enjoy it again. For our newish folks, please take a minute to read it. Its sentiment is something we all should remember with every pair of eyes we look into on our visits.


Have wonderful holidays and the Happiest of New Years as you embark on your visits for 2015 and the VPP enters it's 28th year of service


Lee Gaffney



When an elderly lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland where it has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of North Ireland Association of Mental Health. This little Scottish lady who thought she had nothing left to give to the world, is the authoress of this poem winging across the internet.


An Old Lady's Poem


What do you see, nurses, what do you see?

What are you thinking when you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman, not very wise,

uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,

when you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"


Who seems not to notice the things that you do,

and forever is losing a stocking or shoe

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,

with bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.


Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.


I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,

as I do at you bidding, as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten...with a father and mother,

brothers and sister, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,

dreaming that soon now, a lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty...my heart gives a leap,

remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,

who need me to guide and a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,

but my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.


At fifty once more, babies play around my knee,

again we know children my loved one and me.



Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;

I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own,

and I think of the years and the love that I've known.


I'm now an old woman, and nature is cruel;

Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.

There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells, 
and now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,

and I'm loving and living life over again.

I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,

and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.


So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,


Not a crabby old woman; look closer...see ME!!



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'14 evaluation group. Cooperation from everyone is the key to the success of this program.


Buddy members included Jeanette Albert, Diana Alcazar, Mike Azzarello, Connie Back, Pam Bellone, Cathy Burch, Kathleen Caulkins, Brenda Chetta, Creevy Clay, Kimberley Clayton, Nancy Feild, Jerry Gibel, Lori Haeuser, Dawn Hagmann, Malay Hajra, Kevin Hand, Dot McIntyre, Denise Mehurin, Nicole Parks, Fay Schultz, Diane Smith, Claire Sommers, Patty Spampneto and Monica Stephens. In addition the following members assisted with observation visits:  Lynne Aranda, Anna Breaux, Jennifer Buuck, Sonja Flick and Andra Ponson.


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


Guardian Angels





A donation was received from

  New York Community Trust 

recognizing VPP's service


A donation was receive from 

Linda, Mike, and Angel Wegmann 

in memory of 

Mills, Lexi, Lucy, and Lady


Donation was received from United Way


A donation was received from Lee Gaffney 

in memory of 

Edith Conkerton


 Donations were received from Claire Sommers 

and Barbara Hyland

in memory of 

Helen Schneidau's cat,



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