You've probably seen Oscar on television, or heard about him on the news. But, until you've read Dr. David Dosa's bestseller, Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat, you haven't really met Oscar.
To Dr. Dosa, Oscar was the black-and-white tabby that lived on the third floor at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, the floor for Alzheimers' patients, and patients with dementia. Dosa was a geriatrician who worked there, but he never cared for cats, and thought Oscar was nothing special, a cat that didn't have a reputation for being sociable. But, it was Mary Miranda, the day nurse, a maternal figure, who said, "Oscar only spends time with patients who are about to die."
So, Dosa started his own study of Oscar. He talked to family members of patients who had died, with Oscar tucked in the bed. And, each family said Oscar only showed up the day the patient was dying, curling himself up on the bed, purring, and, somehow providing comfort for the patient, and the family. Everyone had glowing words for the cat that acted as a death warning. There was even the story of Oscar racing from one patient who had died to make it to the bed of another dying person.
In the course of his investigations, Dosa learned from the survivors. He learned to be more understanding, compassionate, and empathetic. And, his doubts about Oscar changed. Although he still looked for a scientific explanation of Oscar's knowledge, he said, "I was starting to think of Oscar...as a sort of gentle guide who could take people from someplace scary to one more forgiving."
I think so many of us hunger for that connection to animals. It's why books such as Making Rounds with Oscar become bestsellers. There's a fascination with the mysteries around death, and animals. No matter why we read these books, this book is a beautiful story. One survivor said if birth is a miracle, death should be considered a miracle as well. Oscar's story puts death in a context of a beautiful, sometimes painful, but beautiful, miracle.
David Dosa's website is www.daviddosa.com
Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, M.D., Hyperion, ©2010. ISBN 9781401323233 (hardcover), 225p.
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