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Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat Hardcover – February 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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. (Feb.)
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"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."―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)."―Library Journal
"You'll be moved."―People
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Most of all, this is a book written from the heart, with heartwarming insights into death and the human spirit. Keep some tissues handy.
The book is well written and tells a story that is broader than a mere story of a cat. Besides detailing Oscar's gift for providing companionship to people who are in the process of dying, the book gives insight into the issues and the dialogues that occur between doctors, patients and relatives of dying dementia patients. It offered insights into the problems created by one's or families' end of life decisions.
I particularly liked Dr. Dosa's writing style that told his story in well organized chapters that allowed a reader to read a chapter and then set aside to mull about what the chapter said and than come back to read the next chapter later. It's truly one of the rare books that one can read this way and not lose anything.
Coincidentally, my brother's wife was dying in a hospice from breast cancer that she had battled for eight years while I was reading this book. During her death watch, I talked with my brother daily offering compassionate listening. I sent him a copy of this book to read to help him gain perspective on his experience through the sharing of stories of others. He loved the book as well.