Pip the Beach Cat Volunteers at Harrison Hall Senior Living in Snow Hill, Maryland

Each week, usually on Wednesday afternoons, Pip heads off to Snow Hill to visit the Harrison House Senior Living Center. This is a much smaller facility than Berlin, so we know almost everyone there now. We’ve since upgraded our Fannypack pictured below to something sturdier, but we’ll hold this one near and dear to our hearts as it belonged to Pip’s Great-Great-Grandmother Florence Parsons from Berlin, Maryland.

Pip always heads straight to Ms. Summer’s* room because it’s here that he gets a special place on the windowsill and gets to watch birds with her, sometimes for over an hour! Pip is also unofficially in charge of filling all of the bird feeders, but the bags we buy are too heavy for him to carry, so Ms.Summer watches him in his bubble while I (Meowmy) lug the 50lb. bag of bird seed outside to fill up the feeders. Luckily, the birds have been eating it pretty quickly so there’s less to carry! And lots of people have feeders so we check on them all. The squirrels really like the feeder we watch, so it runs out of seed really quick! Last week our friend said the squirrels were jumping on the screen trying to land on the seed! 

Once I’m back in the room with Pip, he’s out and about to watch the birds! So far we have seen yellow finches, cardinals, black birds, squirrels, and lots of other small wild birds. It’s exciting for all involved- especially watching the way Pip’s tail wiggles about as he watches the birds. 

Once we’re done with bird watching, Pip visits one-on-one with about 4-5 other residents. One, you will remember, often saves her veggies for Pip (shhhhh don’t tell anyone!). I can’t tell if it’s because she doesn’t want to eat her veggies, or if it’s because she thinks it’s funny to see what Pip will eat. Needless to say, he has eaten both greens and peas, but he will not eat them by the spoonful. They are only gobbled down if given to him piece by piece. 

Our other residents we work with are cat lovers, so we just all sit and chat and let Pip play around and get treats. Sometimes he takes a nap. 

Our last stop is always in the dementia wing. We love to check on the residents there, and they love to see Pip! Every week it’s like we’re there for the first time, and we laugh and talk and they just think it’s so funny that a cat is there! Sometimes we take short walks up and down the hall- for this, Pip usually stays in his bubble and we get to see everyone!

On our way out we always stop by the activity room to say bye one more time, and see if they’re playing bingo, and if so, who’s won so far! Some weeks they play for really special prizes, like having lunch with the staff, and they get to order takeout, that the staff treats them to! Everyone here is so nice, and it truly feels like a family that we’ve been able to be a small part of. 

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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