Pet therapy program recruiting new helpers

The Visiting Pet Program, New Orleans’ oldest and largest animal assisted therapy program, will offer its volunteer orientation from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Harahan Senior Center, 100 Elodie, Harahan.

This is a people-only orientation; no pets.

Pre-registration is required and there is a $10 fee to attend. To register for the orientation, email the organization paws4visits@gmail.com.

Winners of the prestigious Dorothy Dorsett Brown Humanitarian Award, the 100 pets and handlers of the Visiting Pet Program visit 20 nursing homes and hospitals in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes.

At facilities on both sides of the river and the lake, the Visiting Pet Program volunteers live up to their motto of “Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles” with every visit they make.

The 25-year-old nonprofit organization features dogs, cats, guinea pigs and rabbits as their animal therapists.

The Visiting Pet Program also provides a literacy project, Reading To Rover, to area libraries. Designed to help beginning readers practice their reading aloud skills, the gentle, patient dogs prove to be excellent listeners. Reading To Rover is offered at area libraries in Jefferson Parish.

For more information about the Visiting Pet Program, visit their website at http://www.visitingpetprogram.org.