Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat
By David Dosa, M.D.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Based on an essay Dr. David Dosa wrote for the New England Journal of Medicine, Making Rounds with Oscar is an inspiring story about a cat with a remarkable gift. The staff and patients come to recognize that Oscar has what appears to be a sixth sense. This sixth sense takes the patients and staff of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island on an incredible journey.
Thought to be just a normal cat, Oscar is one of the cats that roams free at the Steere House offering emotional support to both the patients and families who visit loved ones. When people start to notice that Oscar mysteriously appears and stands vigil when patients are nearing the end of their lives, they start talking. Dr. David Dosa, sets out on a mission to discover more about Oscar and how he’s impacted staff and patients. What he discovers is a truly inspiring story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m not usually one to read books about animals because frankly, I assume all the animals die and I’m a complete and total sap when it comes to animals and I know I’ll be left a blubbering, weeping fool. Thankfully, that did not happen in this book. This is a truly inspiring story in so many ways. First off, Oscar is a extraordinary animal. But I think that most cats are extraordinary. I’ve always felt that cats have the ability to sense what is beyond human senses. I’ve always lived with cats and have seen some strange and interesting behavior from them. They can sense earthquakes before they happen, they can sense when their owners are sick, and I truly think they can sense the corporeal. Don’t believe me, watch your cat sometime, do they sometimes stare off at something that seems to be just empty space? They have to be looking at something right? But I digress…
The other facet of this book that I found fascinating was Dr. Dosa’s exploration of the impact of animals on the sick and dying as well as their family members. Based on the many interviews conducted throughout this book, it’s clear that the animals residing at the Steere House have a very positive impact on the patients and their families. The fact that Oscar seems to be the one who stays with the dying, is astounding. It’s unexplainable, but somehow explanation just isn’t necessary. It simply is and it is good. Overall, an inspiring story about a cat who helps make death less scary and takes away the aloneness that often surrounds the dying.