Making Rounds with Oscar
Written by: David Dosa, M.D,
Published By: Hyperion
Reviewed by Natasia Minners
If you’ve been following my articles here at G-POP.net…and why shouldn’t you be…you would know that I attended a class at Kitty Cat University entitled Famous Cats in American History I. The professor assigned us numerous books to read about famous cats that we can all look up to. Most of the books were written by humans who realized that, although all cats are superior and should be worshipped, some of us are extraordinary and should be offered more praise than a scratch between the ears or under the chin and exquisite food. These humans offered up praise in the form of a book and that praise has been published for all the world to see. One such book on my reading list was Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, M.D.
Oscar is a tabby cat that lives at Steere House, a Nursing Home and Hospice located in Rhode Island. Oscar resides on the third floor of the building, which houses as many as six cats and a couple of other animals that make the Nursing Home feel like a home away from home for its residents. The third floor of Steere House contains patients with advanced stage dementia, a fatal debilitating disease which causes humans to forget even their fondest of memories…even forget who they are. Cats can suffer from this, too. It’s rare, but my brother had a mild form of this before he passed away. Anyway, the residents in this ward are generally here because they need twenty-four hour a day care.
Oscar has made these humans a part of his extended family, watching over them with a protective eye and coming to their aid at their greatest time of need - their time of death. Apparently, Oscar had been arriving at dying patient’s bedsides and staying with them as they passed on for quite some time before people actually noticed that this was his job. They just thought that he was a cat like any other and that he chose the strangest moments to warm up to a particular resident. But as the years progressed, everyone began talking about the cat who could predict when a patient was going to die and stayed with them in their final hours.
While their were many believers in Oscar’s abilities, one human in particular, Dr. David Dosa, needed some extra persuasion. He embarked on a research project, talking to the families of past patients and the employees of Steere House, attempting to discover Oscar’s purpose at the nursing home. Most of the people agreed, Oscar’s presence was not only soothing to the dying patient, but also to the members of the family left behind. And each agreed that he always seemed to know when a patient was ready to move on. He even made certain to take extra special care of those patients who were having a particularly hard time of it before death.
It didn’t take very long for Dr. Dosa to realize that Oscar was a special cat, but for some reason, he seemed to need more and more proof about his abilities before he would put them down to paper (silly humans). Thankfully he did so and we get to see just what a hard worker and empathic cat Oscar is, working in conjunction with the human staff at Steere House to make certain that the residents suffering from dementia had the best in care and compassion at their final stages of life.
Oscar is truly a cat to look up to. Starting at a very young age, he reminds us that we are humans best companions in their greatest times of need. Dog lovers may scoff at the idea, but Dr. Dosa has more than proven that Oscar is a treasure to the medical staff at Steere House and every patient and family member to pass through the doors of the third floor ward. Making Rounds with Oscar was a touching read filled with the love and care Oscar has bestowed upon his family at Steere House. He is a cat with ideals one can only hope to aspire to and I’m glad Dr. Dosa shared his experience with this hero among heroes.