New feline resident is welcomed at care center

July 07, 2004

Harmony Hall Assisted Living Center in Hickory Ridge has adopted a cat.

"It's kind of a cross between a calico and a tabby," said part-time activities coordinator Loree Lough, who also handles publicity. "She's smaller than the average cat. ... This cat has greener, bigger eyes than I've seen."

Joi James, assistant director of Harmony Hall's recreation department, lobbied for the adoption and bought cat supplies partly at her expense.

"She bought a litter box, self-cleaning; a covered bed - it's like a bed with a canopy - it's all padded, made out of this fleece stuff that they line your winter coat with; a whole bunch of toys. One thing is like a little tiny fishing rod. ... She got everything you could get for a cat," Lough said.

The cat, which came from PetSmart, has been living in the Harmony Hall recreation office for about three weeks. She welcomes visitors there but also visits residents in their rooms. "They know that this is their cat - this is not Joi's cat," Lough said.

James and the cat, whose name is Harmony, spend time in the dementia unit on the third floor; they go from room to room visiting patients.

"They can get into some very alone dark corners, and for some reason seeing a pet, it just pulls them right out of it," Lough said. "It's personal, between them and the cat. This is just this person sharing with that animal something private."

Lough says Harmony's presence has been a huge success.

"It's kind of like the pet understands that the person has drifted away mentally. The changes are amazing in just the few weeks the cat's been there. People who never came out of their rooms now are," she said.

- Fay Lande

Military

Attends seminar: Peter S. Choe, son of Jay H. and Mi H. Choe of Hickory Ridge, recently participated in the Naval Academy's weeklong summer seminar program in Annapolis. The Atholton High School student was introduced to life in the academy through a regimen of academic study, physical training, sports, sailing and leadership training.

Around Town

Pool parties: The Harper's Choice Community Association will hold its second pool party, with snacks, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at the Longfellow Pool. Admission is free, but reservations are required. 410-730- 0770. Also, Wilde Lake will hold its annual family pool party for Wilde Lake residents, with swimming, pizza and goodies, disc jockey Bristol Sounds, dance contests, games and a free raffle for adults from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Bryant Woods Pool. Tickets, which must be bought in advance, are $3. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult. 410-730-3987.

At the library: Howard County's central library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, will present a master gardener program about ticks and Lyme disease at 7 p.m. July 20. The program will focus on deer and the white-footed mouse. 410-313-7860.

Heritage: The Howard County library system and Vantage House Retirement Community will hold the second in a four-part series of book discussions about the nation's cultural heritage, "Let's Talk About It! The Cultural Fabric of America," at 7:30 p.m. Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez will be discussed July 20; The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan, Aug. 3; and poems of Rita Dove and Gwendolyn Brooks, Aug. 17. Discussions, which will be held at Vantage House, 5400 Vantage Point Road, will be led by poet Karen Arnold. Registration is encouraged. Books and resource materials will be available at registration. 410-564-3059.

Arts camp: Slayton House Camp of the Arts in Wilde Lake village is accepting registration for children ages 7 to 13. A junior conservatory for children ages 11 to 13 and a senior conservatory for those ages 14 to 16 will accept campers by audition only. One session, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 26 through Aug. 13, is still available. Extended care is available. 410-730-3987.

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