Volunteers' Voice

News for and about the Visiting Pet Program

February 2016 Volume 15, Issue 4 

Take Note! 

Tara's Toast to Volunteers

 Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
 Sunday, March 6, 2016
Backyard at The Kamp  2317 Hickory Ave 
Harahan, LA 70123
  Mark Your Calendar

Summer Seminars
Mark your calendar for

June 14th at 6:30


Grooming Made Easy

with VPP member

Stacie Humble

at her shop,


in Harahan.

Invitation and details coming soon
Our thanks to Lori Haeuser for the idea.

Have a suggestion

for a July seminar??? 
Email Lee Gaffney 

at [email protected]
New Volunteer Orientation


June 11, 2016
 10:00am to 12:00 pm

July 10, 2016
2:00pm to 4:00 pm


October 15, 2016
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Harahan Senior Center
 100 Elodie
  Pre-registration required
Contact Claire Sommers at [email protected] to register

Pet/Handler Evaluation

August 6, 2016

January 7, 2017
 Harahan Senior Center
   100 Elodie
 Pre-registration required

Contact Barbara Hyland to register at
[email protected]  
 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

 [email protected] 
 to confirm your slot at any of these Reading To Rover
Happy Retirement

The following VPP members recently retired their pets from service to the community. Our sincere thanks goes to:
Emilie Airhart who retired her dog, Hugh
They joined the VPP in 2014 and were regulars at Chateau.

 Quick Links


Our January evaluation resulted in 11 new volunteers, 3 current members and 1 former member along with their pets passing the evaluation. Be on the lookout for these new teams as they start their probationary visits. In addition to our new teams, we had over 30 members join us for their re-certification workshop! The senior center was packed! The workshop was a great opportunity to meet the new folks and swap stories and experiences. 

You can read more about our new teams in the New Volunteer section below.
It's Volunteer Appreciation time again!
In honor of the kindness and generosity of Madeline Deirdre Burn, we named the Annual Meeting for her beloved Shelty, Tara. We invite you to join us for Tara's Toast to Volunteers.     
Our meeting is a wonderful picnic for volunteers and family members. 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. Just come and enjoy. Bring the family and your VPP dog. Member Monica Stephens is once again in charge of the people/pet games. Bring your spirit of competition and join in the fun. The event is Sunday, March 6th at the Backyard of The Kamp. If you haven't already done so, register by going to this link. More details are listed there.

See you on March 6th!
Lee Gaffney
President, with thanks to Stacey Warnke for the great picnic photo below
Meet the New Volunteers
Sherry Barlow with Nyla Pooh, the  Terrier Mix. Sherry is employed with Ochsner in accounting and works part-time as a cake decorator creating wedding and celebration cakes. Nyla loves going to pet stores and responds to many commands taught at Connie Back's obedience class.
Andrea Finkelstein with Oliver, the English Lab. Andra is a mother of two children and has always wanted to incorporate her love of animals into something meaningful to help others. Oliver loves going for walks and has completed an advanced obedience class.
Megan Jespersen with Daisy, the Greyhound. Megan is employed as an epidemiologist with the Office of Public Works. She also plays the flute in the New Orleans Concert Band. Daisy loves going to dog parks and has completed an obedience class conducted by Connie Back through the LA/SPCA.
Kaitlin Joerger with Hank, the Boxer. Kaitlin works as a patent examiner for the USPTO. She also volunteers with Bike Easy to advocate for safer biking in the city. Hank loves visiting people whether at bars or going on a trip. Hank has completed obedience training classes.
Donna Riess with Bogey, the Golden Retriever.  Donna is retired and volunteers with many organizations including the Junior League and New Orleans Woman's Shelter.  Hobbies include decorating, yoga and biking.  Bogey loves his daily walks and has experienced successful visits in a health care facility visiting a family member.
Mary Snyder with Pipkin, the Toy Poodle. Mary works in human resources at a local refinery and enjoys traveling, reading and biking. Pipkin enjoys daily walks and responds to several commands.
Chris  & Megan Sullivan with Hank, the Border Collie/Retriever Mix.  Chris is a professor at LSU. Megan is a pediatrician at Ochsner. Hank loves meeting people on his daily walks and responds to various commands.
Adrienne Wheeler with Tippy, the Boxer. Adrienne is an attorney. She is also a member of the Sirens of New Orleans, a Mardi Gras dance krewe that does philanthropy events year-round. Tippy loves people and responds to the commands of sit, stay, shake and come.
Cathy & Toby Young with Stella, the Golden Retriever. Cathy is a sustaining member of the Junior League and an active volunteer in many organizations. Toby is a retired banker and enjoys bridge and making jigsaw puzzles.  Stella loves children and adults and going for walks.  She responds to the basic commands.
VPP Volunteers add Pets
Brenda Chetta with Andy, the Toy Poodle.  Brenda is a retired nurse anesthetist and is active in the Jefferson Performing Arts Leading Ladies Club.  She is also an active member of VPP, assisting on evaluation day. Brenda designs doggy fur coats and clothing as well as preparing healthy dog biscuits.  Andy loves to be petted and was involved in the Mardi Paws parade.
Clay Latimer with Nikki, the Maltese/Poodle Mix.  Clay is a retired attorney and works part-time representing children in juvenile and/or family cases.  Nikki loves going for walks and interacting with people as well as with other dogs.
Rhonda & Ricky Vergona with Maggie, the Mountain Feist. Rhonda works at Mandeville Animal Hospital and  Ricky is a medical equipment service technician. Both volunteer with the Tangi Humane Society. Rhonda and Ricky enjoy their monthly VPP visits and are looking forward to Maggie joining this special work. Maggie is calm and loves people.
Guardian Angels
Donations were received from Lee Gaffney, Brenda Chetta, Joy Sturtevant, Barbara Hyland, and Diane Smith in loving memory of Dawn Haggman's dog, Hanna

A donation was received from Lee Gaffney in memory of Dot McIntyre's dog, Stormy

A donation was received from New Orleans Flea Market

A donation was received from Martha Myers

A donation was received from CustomInk

Donations were received from Lee Gaffney and Barbara Hyland in memory of Dana and Mason's dog, Kaci

A donation was received from Lee Gaffney in memory of Edye Conketron 's dog Chuckie

A donation was received from United Way

A donation was received from Johanna and Hap Habisreitinger in honor of Fay and Bill Schultz

A donation was received from Nina Bourgeois

A donation was received from New York Community Trust

A donation was received from Merck Foundation in memory of Cindy O'Donnell's father, Richard O'Donnell
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 29 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 


Visiting Pet Program | P.O. Box 24748 | New Orleans | LA | 70184-4748