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Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Catby David Dosa
Synopses & Reviews
A remarkable cat. A special gift. A life-changing journey.
They thought he was just a cat.
When Oscar arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island he was a cute little guy with attitude. He loved to stretch out in a puddle of sunlight and chase his tail until he was dizzy. Occasionally he consented to a scratch behind the ears, but only when it suited him. In other words, he was a typical cat. Or so it seemed. It wasn't long before Oscar had created something of a stir.
Apparently, this ordinary cat possesses an extraordinary gift: he knows instinctively when the end of life is near.
Oscar is a welcome distraction for the residents of Steere House, many of whom are living with Alzheimer's. But he never spends much time with them--until they are in their last hours. Then, as if this were his job, Oscar strides purposely into a patient's room, curls up on the bed, and begins his vigil. Oscar provides comfort and companionship when people need him most. And his presence lets caregivers and loved ones know that it's time to say good-bye.
Oscar's gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of us shy away from.
Making Rounds with Oscar is the story of an unusual cat, the patients he serves, their caregivers, and of one doctor who learned how to listen. Heartfelt, inspiring, and full of humor and pathos, this book allows readers to take a walk into a world rarely seen from the outside, a world we often misunderstand.
Praise for Making Rounds With Oscar
"I love this book — Oscar has much to teach us about empathy and courage. I couldn't put it down."
-Sarah Gruen, author of Water for Elephants
"At its heart, Dosa's search is more about how people cope with death than Oscar's purported ability to predict it."
-The Associated Press
"Beautifully written, heartwarming [...] Told with profound insight and great respect for all involved, this is more than just a cat story (although it will appeal to fans of Vicki Myron's Dewey)."
"You'll be moved."
"Dosa, a geriatrician with a strong aversion to cats, tells the endearing story of Oscar the cat, the aloof resident at a nursing home who only spends time with people who are about to die. Despite hearing numerous stories about Oscar's uncanny ability to predict when a patient's time is nearing, Dosa, ever the scientist, remains skeptical. Slowly, he starts to concede that there may be something special about Oscar. Dosa starts to pay more attention to the cat's decidedly odd behavior, noticing that Oscar seeks out the dying, snuggles with the patient and family members until the patient passes; with others, he smells the patient's feet, sits outside a closed door until admitted, or refuses to leave a dying patient's bed. Dosa discovers how powerfully Oscar's mere presence reassures frightened or grieving family. Ultimately, the good doctor realizes that it doesn't matter where Oscar's gift comes from; it's the comfort he brings that's important. This touching and engaging book is a must-read for more than just cat lovers; anyone who enjoys a well-written and compelling story will find much to admire in its unlikely hero." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An otherwise ordinary cat, Oscar has the uncanny ability to predict when people in the Steere House nursing home are about to die. Dr. Dosa tells the stories of several patients and examines end-of-life care as it exists today.
When Dr. David Dosa, an attending physician at Steere House, wrote about Oscar in the New England Journal of Medicine, the response was tremendous, with coverage everywhere from Today to People to CNN. Now, in Rounding with Oscar, Dr. Dosa expands his story, using the tabby and the stories of several patients to examine end-of-life care as it exists today. Oscar the cat has very special skill. An otherwise ordinary cat--he'd sooner give you his back or a sideways glance than curl up on your lap--Oscar has the uncanny ability to predict when people are about to die. Adopted by staff members at Steere House nursing home when he was a kitten, the three year-old tabby has presided over the deaths of more than 25 nursing home residents thus far. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death--a blessing, really, because it allows staff members to notify families that the end is near. Oscar is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves because he provides companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone. Heartfelt, inspiring, and sometimes even funny, Rounding with Oscar allows readers into a world rarely seen from the outside, and often misunderstood.
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