Monday, May 24, 2010

Book for Animal Lovers

I'm reading an interesting book right now, Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, M.D. Oscar is a cat who lives at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Rhode Island where David Dosa is a doctor at the facility. Oscar is a special cat in that he knows when a patient is dying and sits vigil on their bed during their final hours. Ordinarily Oscar is a rather solitary feline, spending his days and nights under chairs or curled up in corners. Until Oscar senses that a patient is dying, then he jumps onto their beds, snuggles up next to them and commences purring. Oscar's gentle knowledge allows caregivers the time to make the patient as comfortable as possible and allows family members a precious window of time to say goodbye. Extraordinary.

I've read about instinctive animals before. Dogs that can sense seizures or cancer. Cats that comfort sick children. Dolphins that rescue drowning swimmers. Horses that work with autistic children. The examples are endless and there are dozens of books and articles on the subject. As a former cat owner I know their quirky personalities are a blessing and a curse. I've owned cats that were so friendly as to make you crazy, the obsessive kneading of your stomach or the "cat hat" while you are sleeping. And I've owned a cat that was so feral he was only happy away from humans. I'm a dog person these days and sharing my home for the last 8 years is a temperamental, spoiled, bossy, talking beagle named Eloise (yes she is named after the Eloise at the Plaza books by Kay Thompson and of course I have a pet named after a literary character,I'm a librarian!) My Eloise is a wonderful companion who seems to know when I want to be alone (although she barks like a child for attention) and when I need a warm furry presence at my side.

Almost all pet lovers have had a "once in a lifetime" animal so special that you never forget them. For so many residents, their families, the doctors, nurses and staff at the nursing home Oscar is that special animal and I hope he continues to comfort them all for years to come. His story and theirs is worth a read. For more information on Oscar visit the web-page for Steere House, his home.

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