More On Roast Beef In The Nursing Home

A penguin visited a nursing home on Wednesday, and as we all know by now that penguins name is ROAST BEEF.  In a wonderful penguin story that just keeps on giving, Roast Beef, a 13-year-old African penguin, is specially trained to make appearances at community events — but those appearances usually involve youths. This was Roast Beef’s first-ever visit to a nursing home. The 5-pound little guy wowed about 60 residents of the Hannah Duston Rehabilitation Center in Haverhill, Mass, and deeply moved nursing-home staffers, visitors and his own aquarium handlers at the same time.  “Upon leaving, our penguin biologist ran into a person who has both parents [in the nursing home] for Alzheimer’s,” said Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the New England Aquarium where Roast Beef lives. “That person told the biologist, ‘I saw a sparkle in my parents’ eyes that I haven’t seen in a long, long time.’” Workers at the New England Aquarium got the idea to visit the Hannah Duston Rehabilitation Center after receiving a letter and artwork from one of its residents. Sandra Sterling, a former Miss Massachusetts from the 1950s, painted a poster of several species of penguins and wrote about how much she loved the tuxedoed birds. LaCasse said Sterling’s letter and paintings ultimately led to a “Eureka” moment at the aquarium. “Everybody loves penguins — it doesn’t matter how old you are!” he said. Sterling got to meet Roast Beef on Wednesday — (“She looks stunning,” LaCasse noted) — and dozens of other residents and onlookers got to see the cheerful bird up close. LaCasse explained to the Penguin Post what it takes for aquarium workers to get Roast Beef ready for an outing: “When it’s time to go, he’ll swim right over and hop right into a plastic carrier — like the kind you put a cat in,” LaCasse said. “He’ll be quite happy about it. And then we assemble his mobile cube.”
For the duration of his outings, Roast Beef stays inside a special, air-conditioned cubicle with toys inside to keep him occupied. Handlers don’t let him leave the cubicle during community events.
“It’s for people’s safety,” LaCasse said. “Penguins are adorable, but they have sharp beaks and they can projectile poop at any time. When we go out into the public we don’t want that to happen to anybody.”

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2 Responses to “More On Roast Beef In The Nursing Home”

  1. Gail K. Says:

    What a wicked awesome idea! (can you tell I am from Massachusetts??) Bringing these creatures to our Seniors is wonderful as many can’t get out for various reasons.

    I applaud the NE Aquarium for upholding their standing as one of the finest aquariums in the world!

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