Share Your Stories

Since Oscar’s story made headlines, I’ve heard from many people telling me about their own special animal experiences.  Oscar is certainly not alone in his ability to provide human comfort during times of illness and I’d like to hear more about other animals who have provided similar compassion during challenging times. Please post your stories below along with your name and city. Your email address will not be shared and will be used only for communication purposes.

{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Lou Comlin August 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I am a hospice social worker. I visit an elderly woman who adopted a kitten a couple of years ago. He was only 4 months old when she had a stroke in her bathroom and fell to the floor. He stayed by her head to comfort and guard her. He never left her side. When the paramedics came in, the cat would not let them touch his friend. The cat growled and hissed and struck out at anyone wanting to get closer to her.He’s a beautiful boy — also a Tabby. He continues to guard and protect her. When the woman has visitors, the cat sits or stands on her bed and stares at them — always watchful. The woman is usually on her side in bed. At one of my first visits, the cat stood with his front paws on her hip and glared at me until he felt certain I was not there to harm her. He is always by her side unless he visits the litter box or goes to the kitchen to eat. All she has to do is say “meow” and he runs back to her bed. I’ve never met a cat quite like him. He and I are slowly getting to know one another. The catnip toy helped a bit. His friend said he expects a treat from me every time I stop by. :)One of my first hospice patient had a young female cat (6 months or less) that stayed by her side whenever she was awake. The woman’s daughter was in the bathroom when the woman took her last breath and the cat scratched at the door and cried to get the daughter’s attention.

Sandra Crawford August 31, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I am not surprised that Oscar knew impending death. When my mother was in a nursing home suffering from a stroke a few years ago, there were 2 cats who regularly visited patients. They would enter her room but never jumped on her bed until the night she died. One cat lay by her legs then left after she died. I had never seen anything like that, but the nurse said it was common. My husband died a year ago suddenly collapsing, and our cat tried to wake him by pawing at him.

Ms. Kelly McCowan August 31, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Hi Dr. David.You might be interested to know about the research work of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. In particular, you might want to check-out the book he wrote titled, ‘Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home’.Basically, the book is about Sheldrake documenting that dogs, cats, birds & other animals appear to have psychic ability. Sheldrake is a scientist too, so you might find this book to be a worthwhile read.Best Wishes,Kelly

Wes Bouchard August 31, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Its comforting to know a cat has the ability to comfort us when we are passing into the next life. My cat must be giving mixed signals…he comforts me when my wife is shopping. Maybe the bill to come or the lost cells thinking about it!

Shelley August 31, 2010 at 6:18 pm

My mother passed away on December 8, 2007. She was a widow, as my dad had passed away in 2001. She and my dad adopted a cat fifteen years before she died. Following my dad’s passing, it was Max that made her happy, whole, and never lonely. She was hospitalized for 3 weeks and in a coma before she was finally taken off the ventilator. She was then moved to hospice. We were told we could bring Max to the hospice home to stay with her. Max started out at the foot of her bed, never leaving her side unless to eat or use the litter. She was in hospice for 6 days before she passed away, and every day, Max would move up closer on the bed towards her head. If we had to move him so the nurses could bathe her, he would always return to the very same spot he had left. Whenever we moved him, he cried like a baby until he was back in the bed. The day before she passed away, he had moved up and wouldn’t move from the spot between her shoulders and neck. BTW, she was very ill but stable and not much had changed in my mothers condition throughout the five days. On the sixth day, we walked in and Max was curled at her neck. Later that morning she passed away. After she passed away, we all were convinced that Max knew exactly what was going on and when she was going to die.. I hadn’t given it much thought until I saw that your book had been published. I look forward to reading it! Thank you.

Kathleen A. Ryan August 31, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I don’t know if my previous comment went through, so forgive me if this is a repeat! The news of your essay in 2007 prompted me to share a story while attending Frank McCourt’s memoir writing workshop at the Southampton Writers Conference. It was about a 911 call I handled in 1989 (I was a cop for 21 years), in which an elderly lady died in her sleep in her home. When the PA came to make pronouncement, he moved the sheet to expose her body; a cat sprang out at us. I often wondered about the cat under the covers. Frank encouraged me to write about it, and I did: an essay called, “The Watcher.” I submitted it to The Southampton Review in 2008, and it is finally being published next month in the Winter/Spring Edition. My essay won a creative nonfiction award with the Public Safety Writers Association last year. Best wishes with your book ~ it’s very exciting!

Janet M. Fravel August 31, 2010 at 6:19 pm

All cats seem to have a sense when death is near. When my husband was in a home hospice situation in 2003 our oldest cat who had always had a special tie with my husband jumped up on his hosptal bed and refused to leave his side all day. My husband passed away at 4:10 p.m. that day. The cat, Sylvester, had previously layed on the bed with him for short periods but this day was different and he knew it.

Susan Nester August 31, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Right after the birth of my daughter I adopted a beautiful calico kitten, Katie, from an animal shelter in Atlanta Ga. A few years later I had a son and my two children developed a very strong bond with Katie.After my divorce, I struggled to balance a full-time job with raising my children, but Katie helped me out. She was never in the habit of sleeping with the kids, unless something was wrong. If I awoke in the morning to find Katie perched on top of a child’s bed, I knew that child was sick. Often times she surprised me, because there was no prior indication that the child was coming down with anything. Katie somehow knew there was a problem and diligently laid down beside that child until I awoke the next morning.

Mark Reeder August 31, 2010 at 6:22 pm

My prior cat, Peaches, had a sense when things weren’t going well. Her most remarkable one was when a friend was telling me he had been fired unjustly from his job. He was on the phone with me at the time. Remarkably, Peaches started rubbing the phone with her head! I know cats have remarkable hearing but it isn’t that good. Clearly she had a sense something was wrong.

Elaine Sherman August 31, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Cause of death on my mother’s death certificate reads “end stage dementia.” Thank you, Dr. Dosa, not only for a beautifully written story about Oscar, but for putting a face on dementia as well as explaining the various manifestations of the disease and the many reactions to this disease that robs relationships. I have three of the wonderful critters and I would take one of them with me to the nursing home when I would go to visit. Shakespeare is a 23 pound orange tabby that the residents thought was a baby lion! Thank you. You did so much more than investigate Oscar’s compassionate talent.

Wanda August 31, 2010 at 6:23 pm

When I was a child, I could also tell when a pet was going to die because in the hours before its death, it had a very specific smell. I later noticed the same smell when my grandmother was near death.The smell was not unpleasant, but very distinct from any other smell.I would not describe my sense of smell as highly developed. There are certain smells that I cannot detect at all.It seems highly probable to me that Oscar just likes that smell and there is nothing mysterious about its “gift”.

Joy Meyer August 31, 2010 at 6:40 pm

My cat Luc could predict when I was pregnant, even before I knew. Stand-offish by nature, he’d become very loving and protective when I was pregnant. Once the baby was born, he’d go back to his normal routine. After my 3rd child, we’d decided we were complete. One day, Luc was acting “that way” again, I couldn’t believe it! I ran to the store and got a test and yes, I was pregnant. He was a remarkable cat.

Lydia August 31, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I had a cat who let me know that my other cat was in trouble. My old white cat did not show up for food, my younger cat met me at the door when I came home in the afternoon and was very aggitated. He lead my into the woods behind my house where the older cat lie dead.

Donna Howland August 31, 2010 at 6:41 pm

When I came back to live with my mother who was at the beginning of dementia I also brought my dog. She slept with me the first night and there after went to my mothers room and was her constant companion day and night until she went to a nursing home. She did not see mom except when we went for visits. The day mom died the dog howled and cried to wake me up and then the phone rang and they told me mom was gone. I hope they are together now again.

Manuela August 31, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Dear Oscar,I’m from Sardinia, and my sister has got two cats in her house, one boy and one female.Only when I feel very tired, and I lay on the bed in my sister guest room, the female cat come closer and sits on my chest.She starts to purr and I feel more relaxed. She puts her face in my face direction, and it’s like an healing. Then she turns, she sits in another position with her paws in my stomach. She sits very still, she purrs more and I feel much more relaxed.Just once and only when I feel totally relaxed she leaves.With this method I can do meditation.Also, this method is very good for ill children.I believe that your cats purr, are the opening of your chachras. Like for us saying the “OM “. I also believe that the best way to caress a cat is from the head to the tail. I know you cats, are very sensitive and the reason why you can understand when a person is dying is because as a cat you can feel other levels of our reality much better then humans.Most humans, Oscar, believe only that exists the body and nothing else after.But you know that there is more the a body. You know that even thoughts and feelings have got a very strong energy. I believe that you can see or notice or feeling this kind of thoughts, or feeling/emotions energy.Sorry, Oscar for my bad English, hope you don’t mind.Bye, Oscar, I love you.All the best.

manuela August 31, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Me again. I’m from Sardinia, but I live in Edinburgh.When I go back to Italy for holidays, my cat who stays at my parents house, sleeps in my bed close to me.His face is on the pillow front of mine. And in the morning he touches my nose with his paw.For all days of my holiday the cat sleeps close to me.But the last night before leaving and go back to Scotland, the cat sits at the end of the bed,close my feet giving me his back. He turns his face, and looks in the opposite direction giving me his back. He knows perfectly, that I will leave the day after.Only one night before my leaving he has done it this game. I was suppose to travel the morning after, but the night before, the cat slept close to me on my pillow like usual.The day after, I’ve lost my flight.He knew it could’ve happened before me. !!

bren August 31, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I lived out of town from my parents and when my father died, I returned home for the funeral. In the early evening,after family get together s I returned to my parents home and fell asleep in the guest room. After about 20 minutes I was awakened in extreme distress, gasping for air. My husband rushed me to the hospital for emergency treatment. I later found my parents cat had been sleeping under the guest bed. Had I not had emergency treatment, I would have died. It seems very dangerous to allow cats to roam around a nursing home among people with possible allergies to cats. I love animals, but my body sadly exhibits respiratory distress, wheezing, runny nose, headaches, and can not tolerate cats. Maybe some of the 50 patients also had this problem develop once introduced to exposure to Oscar.

Mary Grace C Borja August 31, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Hi Dr. Dosa,When I read about Oscar, it reminded me of my childhood and how my cats have comforted me in times of illness in the family. I was sickly as a child and my mom would know that I’d be okay and will recover once my cat would sleep in my room. This is quite opposite of Oscar who foretells death. In the Philippines, old wives tale say that when a cat sits or sleeps in the room of a person who is ill, the person will get well and the cat will die. Their explanation is that the cat will save you from death so they trade their soul instead. I don’t believe in this but has witnessed at least 3-4 of my cats died after I got well and when my dad became very ill. Anyway my point is that I think there is that either there is something that ill human beings emit that draw cats to them or cats are just but angels of comfort. And maybe, like Oscar I know that cats are just but sweet, caring and comforting especially in times of illness, death and grief.

Kelly Kruchkow-Moore August 31, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Hi Dr. Dosa,I wanted to tell you about my own special fur ball, Hanna. I’ve had her (or more like, she’s had me), for the past 4 1/2 years. She’s a Turkish Van and just full of herself.I am a diabetic and have been most of my life. Once you’ve had diabetes for a long period of time you tend not to get the warning signs of low blood sugar. I have been known to total cars, black out and run into gas pumps, and many other things. I’ve been noticing for the last two years that when my blood sugar drops, Hanna is always there, trying to “wake me up”. She’ll paw at me and meow until she can get me moving. I believe animals can smell a chemical change in our bodies and that’s how I think Oscar knows when someone is ready to pass, and how Hanna knows when my blood sugar is dropping. Animals are amazing beings and a true blessing to those who are lucky enough to be owned by them. My best to you and Oscar.

michelle jackson August 31, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Hello Dr. Dosa,I have 8 wonderful cats that live inside with me. They get up with me in the morning and see me off to the door when I leave for work at 6am. When I get home from work or school, they are right there waiting on me. We eat together and sleep together. They give me unconditional love. When I am doing homework 3 of them jump up on the desk and watch me study. They are my best friends in the world. When I am sick, they never leave my side. I love animals. I just finished your book and I donated it to our hopsital waiting room on my floor. Thank you for publishing this book. Oscar is awesome.

John September 2, 2010 at 2:24 pm

It’s been 14 years since my companion died of hiv-related dementia. We kept four cats, all female, who generally hated each other (except for a mother-daughter pair). On the morning of my partner’s death, I came out into the living room, where we had set up his bed. A nurse I had hired was sitting on the sofa, and all four cats were on my partner’s bed …. one above his head, one at each side, and the fourth (the “alpha” cat) between his legs. The nurse told me that she was unable to get near my partner, as the alpha cat would hiss menacingly with bared teeth if she approached. I was able to tend to him, and his breathing had slowed, consistent with someone on a morphine drip. He died within a few hours.I have no doubt that there is indeed something smell-related associated with death that cats can sense. As well, my partner loved our cats and tended to them daily, and they no doubt knew what was happening and wanted to be with him.

Emy Beach September 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Hello Dr. Dosa, Thank you for writting such a heartwarming, thought provoking, and informative book. I purchased the book on Sunday February 7th, and finished reading it that evening. I lost my beloved kitty “Matilda” to feline mammary adeno carcinoma (breast cancer) last May 8th 2009. So reading about Oscar, and seeing his photograph on the cover surely warmed my hearth. Reading about all of these families stories, the love, and sacrifices that were made, left me thinking if I would be bless enough to find a facility like yours that seems to care deeply enough about their patients, if, and when that time comes for me. Will there be a being like Oscar that will accompany me until the end. Thank you very much again for writting this wonderful book. May God bless you, your family, and your wonderful, and loving staff at Steere Nursing Home. And may our good Lord continue to use Oscar as His instrument of comfort, peace, and, love.

Emy Beach September 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Hello Dr. Dosa, I just wanted to send a short note due to the incorrect e mail I sent previously. My correct e-mail is;ebeach325@comcast.net. I apologize for the error, and once again thank you for this wonderful book. Please give a hug to Oscar from me.

Mike Boyer September 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I just finished your excellent book and wanted to thank you for takng the time to share your observations with us.Oscar looks very much like my Rocky, who is also a most perceptive cat.Now that I have finished your book I am donating it to the local library.

Sharon Payne September 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm

This past November when my mother passed away she was visited by the nursing home’s cat, Jane. During the 5 days of my mother’s passing Jane comforted both Jane and me. I love the facility where my mother was at and likewise the workers there. I believe that nearly every worker visited me daily to see how my mother and I were doing. Each of them mentioned the mysterious powers that Jane, the cat, possessed. They had noticed that Jane seemed to know when a resident was near death, just as Oscar did. I slept in a recliner beside my mother’s bed and kept a round the clock vigil. The staff of the facility made up a bed for me in a vacant room because they were worried that I wasn’t getting my rest. I opted to stay with Mom even though they superstitiously promised to keep Jane out of the room they had prepared for me. They believed with all their hearts that if Jane visited your room it was a sign of impending death. I loved the comfort Jane provided to my mother and me. I also very much enjoyed your book. It brought back many memories of the journey I was on with my mother. Thank you for writing this wonderful book that very accurately describes the journey of Alzheimer’s patients and their families!

Robin Fiskaa September 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I have been involved with kitty rescue and adoption for about 6 years. Back in 2006 I fostered a mommy cat with her 6 babies, and I had named them all after Santa’s reindeer. In the summer of 2006 my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer and was sent home from a two week stay at the hosptial with hospice services. As the weeks went by she deteriorated. Although she had always had pets she asked me one day to bring home one of the kittens for a visit….Had “Cupid” not been adopted I would’ve brought her home because she was so loving and friendly. When the day arrived to go to visit my mom I chose “Blitzen”, an adorable 12 week old black kitten to bring home to show her. At this point my mom was bedridden, had a catheter, was not eating, didn’t speak much anymore, and just spent the days listening to her music. I arrived with Blitzen and I could tell she was very excited…I took him out of his carrier and gently placed him in the bed with her and instead of walking around and investigating things, he curled up at her left side and remained there the entire day until we left to go home. I was amazed, and I always felt that he “knew” my mom was ill and that his job was to comfort her. She did not pass away that particular day but little Blitzen had that sixth sense… and I still swear to it to this day.

Judy A. Smith September 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

My mother was legally blind and couldn’t see if sh tried to look up. My two daughters and I had a black, burmese, cat. To make a long story short, we lived about 6 houses away from my mother. When she came to visit, the cat walked her home, checked out her house and came back home. I wrote a short story about this. If you want to hear the details, let me know. Thanks, Judy Smith (pen name: Shadow Smith)

barbarabreuchert@yahoo.com September 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Very true, the staff reinforcement is great. My pets look after me & my son wheen we are sick. Ive also been informed when my pets were going to passover– they were very happy that I found them before they left (within an hour often), wagging tails when they barely had strength. Ive had morphing mud puppies to salamanders also tell me when they were chan ging need of water to land environments. Thats kind of weird, yes, even to me. My son and I had a dozen – we didnt know they were supposed to much less going to change, they woke me up several times in my sleep and told me to get them out of the water. Thanks for reminding me of these weird encounters… he was 7yrs that year, he knew how zaney this amphibian communication became.. My son is now 17 and thinks all intuitive-ness, including me, is nuts. I can remind him now that i remember… I think we forget about the things we kjnow nobody else will beleive. thanks

Julie Allen September 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I believe every word of this story. My mother died on January 15, 2010. In bed, at her head was Pablo, my 8 year old cat and at her feet, Andy who is 6. A friend came from out of town to visit on January 14. My mother told him not to come the following day. A neighbor came by also and both cats went into the room with her and my mother. I didn’t know until after my mother died and my neighbor visited again that she told me both cats were there with my mother. They definitely knew because both cats never got on the bed with my mother at the same time, and it was as if they were telling my friend that she was going to leave us. It was 24 hours later that my mother passed away. I also believe she chose her time once she saw her good friend from out of town.

Marlene Goodman September 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Back in 2006 I had heart surgery and when back home, my cat Hirschfeld never wanted to leave my side. He kept laying on my chest as if he wanted to help me heal. But the most remarkable story goes beyond this. The night I came home from my surgery, I had a very vivid dream about apocalypse and darkness outside my home but my home was filled with light – then a wall disappeared and I ventured out into the darkness on a quest. In the distance I saw a bright light and crawled over debris and rubble to reach the light. When I got to it, it was my deceased cat Emile. He rolled over, looked at me and morphed into a newborn female human. I picked up the baby and woke up. Emile appeared in another dream days later. Three months later I called a friend to meet me for dinner. I picked out a specific restaurant because I just felt like I really wanted to dine there. After my friend and I had finished dining and exited, a little 12 week old kitten was mewing, running around in the parking lot, obviously scared and hungry. It had to have been dumped there. I chased her down and picked up the kitten and at that moment she began to purr. I instantly knew who this was – my cat Emile! He had come back to me as this female kitten, as my dream had foretold! What was my confirmation? Emile’s best friend was my other deceased cat Tiffany. The restaurant where I found “Emillia” was the Tiffany Restaurant.

Kathy Ryall September 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I came to live with Dad a year and a half ago when he was diagnosed with dementia. Foxey, a gray,short-hair with yellow eyes, came to live with us last August. He has become Dad’s cat, even though I feed and care for him most. Dad spends most days in his gray robe. The two of them match. Dad sits by his big window most of the time, and watches the backyard and the birds. Foxey lays in the chair across from him most of the day, and also watches the yard and the birds. Dad’s eyes water a lot. So does Foxey’s. Dad sits on a stool next to the furnace register to get some heat. Foxey frequently lays next to the register and stares down it. Dad is a picky eater. Like most cats, so is Foxey. When Dad moves into the living room in the afternoon, Foxey follows to sit on his favorite rocking chair. At night, Foxey runs under Dad’s bed and hides while Dad gets ready for bed. Truly, Dad has found a comrade in arms for his last days.

Ruth Jones September 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm

As s personal caregiver to my husband for over 6 years post stroke,I appreciate your inclusion of others. I do not have a cat story, but known many humans feel the presence of angels at such times and cats love the light.

Nancy ONeill September 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm

My Mother passed away on February 23, 2009. She suffered with AD for well over 13 years. The last decade of her life she was unable to walk, speak and her eyes were always closed. AD robbed her of her spirit and very being. We experienced much of what the familes in the book revealed. No one could possibly understand how cruel this disease is unless they experience it firsthand in their own family. The residents in my Mother’s hall were so severely overtaken by the ravages of AD that few were able to respond to pets brought in to visit. The book should be a must read for those entering the geriatric field. It will open up their eyes to the heartache this disease causes. This book was theraputic for me. I wish it was available 13 years ago as I began saying good-bye to my best friend-my once loving Mother. I wish I had Oscar in my Mother’s room on February 23, 2009. This book is a must read for all families embarking on the AD journey. I’ll never understand why my Mother got this heartbreaking disease.

Denise Benda September 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

WONDERFUL book!! Animals are extraordinary creatures (humans can learn alot from them). Husband/I have five cats (all rescues) and while suffering once w/ a severe migraine and in bed, our cat Tess came in, put her paw on my cheek and then laid down beside me — she’s NEVER done that before. W/ my pet-sitting over the past 30 years, I have many fond memories of those creatures from the past, the present, and those unknown yet w/n the future. I wish peace for all afflicted and involved w/ AD; book gave me a stronger insight of how devastating AD is to so many.

Dave Langan September 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Hi, just finished reading ‘Making the Rounds with Oscar’ and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. As a cat owner I got a kick out of reading about Dr Dosa’s varying degrees of success trying to ‘bond’ with a cat! But what David really succeeds in is conveying how debilitating and heartbreaking an illness dementia is. You’re in a tough line of work, doctor; I tip my hat to you. And to you, Oscar, however you do it.Congratulations on a profoundly moving and poignant book. That second-last chapter, with Oscar on the trolley making rounds with Mary, was magic.

Robin September 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Not so much compassion story, but my Maine Coon is intuitive. She sleeps with us every night. However, many nights she will wait to come to bed, lurking in the doorway or hallway. However, the SECOND that I drift off to sleep, she then leaps on the bed. This makes me think that she somehow senses the change of activity in the brain, or level of consciousness. I have noted this for almost 10 years; it seems to almost be a game with her. (Her sense of humour is apparent in many of her other interactions with us.)

Christy Cornell September 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Dr Dosa- I’m reading your book with immense interest. My pet therapy dog Mr Bear does EXACTLY the same thing as Oscar (chapter 4)after he has visited the children. If we see the CV-ICU or really sick kids, he sleeps for HOURS after we come home but if the children are in the orthoped floor or general area and not that ill, he has no trouble bouncing back from the hospital visit. I’ve noticed it for 4 years. The sicker the child, the longer it takes him to “shake” it off. I think he carries the thought of the illness with him. Amazing – I’d wondered about other pet therapy animals – and now I know Oscar was the same! Someone should write a paper on it alone…truly fascinating.

Kerry Wallis September 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm

When I was a child we had a cute little fox terrier named “Snowy”. He was quite an independent little dog who loved to be around us kids but not picked up or played with. However when I would get into trouble from my parents (waaayyyyy tooo often to count) I would go and sit on our back steps and feel sorry for myself. At those times Snowy would come up and sit tight up against me – hip to hip. If I were upset enough to be crying he would reach over and lick my tears away.Many years later when he was an old dog he was on daily medication (I do not really know what the tablets were for) and it was my job to give him the tablet each day. I remember so clearly the day I gave him his tablet and as I was doing so he died in my arms.

Cecile Hannaway September 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I purchased this book for my daughter who is a surgeon and cat lover. I was born and raised in RI and got my nursing training at RI Hospital so that made me even more interested in Dr. Dosa. I had to read the book before giving it to her and I’ve never cried after reading a book but this one brought tears to my eyes and much thought about the love that animals share with people. I am a widow and have 2 cats and it’s amazing how sensitive they are to how my day is going. When I’m feeling down or sick they are right by my side and as soon as I lay down in bed they are right there snuggled to me until I get up. I had often thought that they sensed my feelings but this book has made me realize even more how much cats are intuitive about their surroundings. These quiet little creatures that sometimes appear to sleep all day are just waiting with one eye shut and one open watching your every move. Thank you Dr. Dosa for helping me realize how special my 2 friends are but most of all allowing me to reflect on the compassion that is needed for the people involved at such a difficult time in their lives.

Eric Overton September 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm

In 2002 my cat Juliet suffered from kidney failure. On her first trip to the emergency clinic, her body temperature had dropped to 93 degrees and I was told she probably wouldn’t live the night. This was the first of many nights I slept on the clinic floor with my head in her cage. If she was willing to keep fighting, I wasn’t going to quit on her, either.Six months later I was diagnosed with late stage malignant melanoma / clear cell sarcoma. My one year survival odds were about 8%.Nothing is quite so comforting when you’ve taken a 10MM unit / m^2 blast of interferon as being able to drag yourself home and curl up with your cat. There was more than one occasion where I just felt like saying, “Let me die now and get this over with.” But it was clear that there was a cat who wasn’t about to let me quit. I got the message loud and clear that if she could fight, I could fight. And had I not got that, I wouldn’t be typing this message almost eight years later with no recurrence of disease.Juliet passed away peacefully in 2004, once she knew her job of getting me well was done. Her great-grandson Dudley is stretched out across my forearms as I type this.

leo bautista September 2, 2010 at 2:38 pm

dear mr.dosa and oscar, i really love your new book. i got it out of the library. wich i can’t put down. i read your book every night. before going to sleep. we have two dogs and cat. the cat was droped off in 94 when we lived in new england eastern ct. we still have the cat until this day. his name is tigger. does oscar live at the nursing fulltime. does he go home with mr.dosa and his family. iam thinking of buying your book. with my chore money.sincerely leo bautistahdbautista1@yahoo.com

Janre Hughes September 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I have just read your book , and loved reading about Oscar. He is truly a beautiful cat! I am recommending the book to all my friends, whether they are cat lovers or not! Thank you for writing the story.

Evelin Knorr September 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

My husband, John, and I have had two tabby cats for 14 years now. Muffin decided he was my cat and sits in my lap every chance he gets. Buffy in turns would sit next to or on the arm of the chair where John was sitting. John has had cancer for the past 2-3 years. In December the Hospice program started coming to our house and we got a hospital bed. At first Buffy wasn’t sure he like the change and stayed on our bed which was next to the hospital bed. On January 6 just over night John took a turn for the worse. Buffy started laying next to John’s legs on the hospital bed. He stayed there almost constantly eating little, and he was the big eater of the two cats, and just getting up to use the litter box. We had to physically move him so we could turn my husband in bed and then Buffy was right back there again. He did that for 6 days until my husband passed away on the 11th. Our entire neighborhood and many many friends came to say goodbye to John and remarked how Buffy just stayed “glued” to John for the duration. Now every night Buffy lays next to me as I grieve until I fall asleep. If I get up in the night Buffy is back in his heated bed but is there right next to me when I get up. When I get particularly sad and end up crying both Buffy and Muffin come and lie next to me. They can be in a different room sleeping and if I am sitting in a chair or in the kitchen wherever they come. They are great angel comforters.

Joy Rosenberger September 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I just finished your book in one sitting. Half the time I smiled and the other half I cried. My grandmother had dementia in the early 1960′s and no nursing home would take her. She lived out the last years of her life in a state mental institution and we only visited there once. I was only in high school but I always have felt pain and guilt because I could not take care of her. She was the most precious person in my life, but she died alone, with no family present. More than loving Oscar, as I read your book, I felt hope for people suffering from dementia now. We have come a long way since the 60′s. Your book enabled me to let go of the pain I have been carrying all these years about “abandoning” my Mema in that mental hospital. Now I can believe that someone there must have loved and cared for her too, the way the staff at Steere does for their patients and families. We have always had cats and they were “Oscars”, sitting on the kids’ beds when they were sick. I am going to see if we could have pets at the hospice where I volunteer! I never imagined that a book about a cat in Rhode Island could bring so much healing to my heart! Thank you, Dr. Dosa. JoyPS I will be praying for you and the staff at Steere

Joyce Bissell September 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Hello Dr. Dosa,I purchased your book on Oscar last week and am up to page 141 right now.In the Fall of ’98, after spending nearly the whole year in hospital with transverse myelitis (later being diagnosed with MS) a gol-colored cat began to hang around my home and one night it showed up in terrible condition. Well, my husband and I took him into the garage to keep him from our others and brought him to our vet the next day.He was treated and neutered and we took him in as an indoor cat. We named him Squinty. He’s enjoyed being an indoor cat ever since. In the beginning of 2000, my husband suffered a stroke which resuled in paralysis on the left side.I took him home by the end of the year and took care of him for 8and1/2 years after, while still working.Dementia entered a couple years before his death, which was at home.Squinty amazed the hospice people as he stayed with Lewis his last three days, only leaving his bed to eat or visit the litter pan.Squinty is truly,yet,another extraordinary cat.

Jenny Rossetto September 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I have 9 cats that are my furbabies, each one of them is special to me. I’ve bought the book 2 days ago, and I’ve finished reading today. I LOVED it… so touching in so many ways…

Kerisa September 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

First of all I am in the process of reading Making Rounds with Oscar. It is very moving and touching. My family has 3 cats that live with us. About 10 years ago my husband, who has then in his early 30′s, developed a bad case of broncitis and was in bed for nearly two weeks. One of our male cats curled up beside him after the first day and stayed there, only leaving to use his box. He(the cat) refused to eat. He became so weak he could barely walk. I had to start feeding him at bedside. They both eventually recovered and are doing well. Even to this day is my husband it sick this cat will not leave his side. One of our other cats is a female and she is the same way with me and my sons. The third cat is this way with my daughter. There have been many times over the years that the cat’s behavior has alerted me that the children were ill even before they said anything.

Eileen Pinelli September 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Hi Dr. Dosa,I am enjoying your book very much. I am a cat person who is also a petsitter for cats. Love hearing about the nursing home cats and I did a little bit of pet therapy at a nursing home. Very rewarding experience. I see your book also as a comfort and strength to families who suffer as a result of theirfamily members changing so drastically from the person they once knew. Thanks for writing this book.

ep September 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

You are a talented doctor and teacher, Dr. Dosa. You are also a gifted storyteller. I read your book in a day. It was ‘unputdownable!’ I loved it; I’m happy for the book’s success.Of course, Oscar’s photo on that wonderful and creative book jacket invited me to read on, and I was not disappointed. Each chapter is like a clear but soft charcoal sketch of the patients and caregivers you face everyday in your rounds. The dialogue is honest and true. The compassionate words you share with us in your ‘Afterword’ contain the best diagnosis and advice about this particular end-of-life disease.As for Oscar – well, he so reminded me of our own black and white cat, ‘Runt’. My mother was not a cat lover, and Runt knew his place. When mom came home to us from the hospital for the last time, my husband and I were told she had about 7 – 10 days left. During her last 48 hours, Runt curled himself up at the bottom of her bed, quietly and without fanfare, leaving only to be fed and and do his business. Mom died in my arms, and Runt was there for the three of us.

Patty September 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Dear Dr. Dosa,I really enjoyed reading “Making Rounds with Oscar”, when a book can get a emotional connection its a Great book! and thats what your book did.My Mother had dementia for 5 years the last three spent in a nursing home. The only person she knew was my Dad. And she would keep calling for him. The first two years I would stay during the day and when Dad got off from work he would take over. She could be really mean. And the first time it happened to me thats when my Mom died. It wasn’t my Mom in that body anymore. It really was really hard seeing her that way. She died in the hospital with all of us around her. She never opened her eyes the whole time. And after everyone left the room my Dad had stepped back in and he said her room was full of sunshine, when there was none before. That gave him some peace. Since then I worry about dying and not knowing my children. It is a hard to take when a parent does not know you. Since I have read your book I know now there are a lot more people going through what we did. Thanks for writing your book it gave me comfort.

edda September 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm

You are a talented doctor and teacher, Dr. Dosa. You are also a giftedstoryteller. I loved ‘Making Rounds’; I could not put it down. Thedialogue in your story is honest and true. In each chapter you providean artful sketch of individuals and families fighting the terribleconsequences of dementia. Your ‘Afterword’ is unforgettable.The book brought back many memories of my parents in their last years.My mother and I cared for my father at home as he suffered throughvarious mini-strokes. “Death by inches” is how the doctors describedit. Every TIA stole another part of the father I so loved and admired.A few years after he passed, my husband and I started to care for mymother at our home. Mom didn’t like cats, but our wonderful black andwhite cat, ‘Runt’, knew his place. Oscar’s compassion so reminded meof Runt. When mom came home from the hospital for the last time, wewere told she had some 7-10 days left. During the last 48 hours, Runt,without fanfare or warning, simply curled up at the bottom of her bedand did not leave, except to eat and tend to his business. When momdied in my arms, Runt was there for the three of us.

Susie Watson September 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Dr. Dosa – I just want to thank you for such a wonderful book. I just finished Making Rounds with Oscar, and only wish it had been available when my mother was alive. I kept her at home with me, my dog and two cats, as long as I could. But,ultimately, I could no longer care for her myself. She loved being at home with the animals. I have always had cats and know the sedative, healing powers they possess. I would like to be able to send you a picture of my sweet Shelby (my dog who died 2 yrs ago). After my mother died, I adopted Shelby – upon geting to know her, I found that she was the sweetest most intuitive dog I had every been around. So, I had her certified as a therapy and she was able to visit nursing homes until she became ill w/cancer. What a blessing for her and those people she visited and loved. If there is a way I can share her picture with you, please let me know. I have 2 wonderful pics with her pals in the nursing home.

terri arnold September 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm

dad had been at an alzheimers’ facility for almost 2 years. after a week at the hospital, we were settling him into a room at the neighboring facility. he was already struggling to breathe. within moments of our arrival, a young cat peered around the corner of the doorway…the expresion in that cat’s face is hard to explain but i just sensed a peacefulness, the cat somehow was telling me everything was going to be okay. i asked the nurse if it was “one of those cats”…she said she wasn’t sure…this cat was kind of new.well, 4 days later, dad had died. as i cleaned out his room, that cat came by the room; again there was an aura of peace surrounding that cat that i just can’t explain. tbe nurse then told me the cat had been in dad’s room for almost two straight days… when i brought a thank you basket to the facility later that week, i included cat treats for my special friend.

Mary Ellen September 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I just completed reading your fantastic book, and I know that Oscar has a very special gift not only for the dying patient but also for their families. I’ve read that cats and dogs can do wonders for the sick , by lowering their blood pressures and calming effects. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about Oscar .

Gail Murray September 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Fifteen years ago when I went through a dreadful year of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, I was blessed to have an Oscar-like cat. Smokey would get on me, snuggle close, and just purr and purr. It was the most comforting treatment of all. Thank you Smokey, thank you forever.

magnolia September 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Last month, after over a week in the hospital, my brother was admitted to an in-patient hospice facility. My husband and I had visited with him every day during this final illness, meaning our two cats had been spending alot of time alone. Since they both are spoiled rotten, we were being shunned by one, and getting dirty looks and “attitude” from the other each day when we made it home. When we got the dreaded telephone call at 1 a.m. that my brother had left us, we just sat in the living room, trying to process the fact that I had just taken him pecan pie that very day, and that I had promised to bring him a home-cooked meal that I would now never be able to prepare for him. We noticed the two cats who usually never got up during the night, sitting quietly on the floor staring at us. I know it sounds stupid, but it was like they wanted to make eye contact! It was only then, we knew they were trying to comfort us. If I live to be a hundred, I will always believe these two companions somehow figured out that we were grieving, and they were needed. This strange support lasted until after the funeral. We still talk about it… I am nearly finished with your book. I do NOT want it to end. How I wish my mother could have had a doctor like you when she was battling alzheimers. You are a gift.

Linda Tombari September 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I loved your book so much, I just couldn’t put it down. I am 61 years old with a bad case of RH. Arthritis. I used to work the 11-7 shift at a nursing home and have and love cats. So I could relate to your in more than one way. I cryed and laugh with all your stories, as if I lived there. Oscar is one special cat. My cats are all different and very special to me, I love them all. I hope Oscar has a good long life. Hope you write another book, thank you for writing this one. My mother-in-law also and die from dementia, it was very hard for my husband and his sisters to see her like that, it’s never easy. Thank you again.Linda Tombari

Sue September 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Oscar saved my mind by preparing me before I saw my mother for the last time. The book played out in front of me. No doctors tell you what will be. I believed she would have good and bad days and slowly forget more and more. No one explained it as a terminal illness. My dad reads his book so he doesn’t feel guilty that he didn’t do enough. Oscar prepared me to deal with the last part, the part I didn’t realize was in front of me, until I read the book. Thank you so so much Oscar and Dr. Dosa and Mary for encouraging all of this.

joann balen September 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I loved your book, I have been a cat and animal lover all of my life and have lived on a farm where we have had so many experiences that they are too many to number. Animals bring so much comfort. I have taken care of both of my parents with Alz. for the last 17 years and just recently gave up and admitted my Mother into a rest home after my father finally died. What a horrible disease, I have kept a journal and would like to share some of the stories and feelings with you to see if you think I could some day write a book that may help other caregivers who are struggling with the same circumstances. Hopefully I can hear back from you, I know you are busy but I would like to help others any why that I could. Thank you, Joann B

Annie September 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Cats are amazing animals. People always say that they only act for themselves. I don’t believe that that is true at all. I joke all of the time that we are my family cats’ kittens. One of our cats,”Baby” was my daughter’s other mommy while she was growing up. If my daughter cried,especially due to sickness or injury, Baby would be right there rubbing against her. If Baby didn’t think my response to my daughter was fast enough she’d let me know it too. She would throw a fit-meowing and howling, circling my daughter and then running back and forth between us if I wasn’t right there.

Annie September 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Thank you for this book. My grandmother died with terminal dementia when she was just in her early 60′s- about 12 years ago. Your book was therapeutic to say the least. I found myself crying many times as memories came back, along with the guilt. I have never believed that enough was done for my Grandma during her final years on Earth. I was in college with no driver’s license and no way to get to the home in which she was placed. I have always regretted not being able to be there. I only hope that the nursing home that she was in was half as wonderful as Steere House…

Glenn Bassett September 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Hello. This isn’t so much a story as a musical tribute. I was inspired by Oscar’s example to write about the value of simply being with someone in troubled times, as opposed to trying to make it all better or cheer someone up — just being with them.It’s a song called ‘Let Me Curl Up Here’. Here’s the link:www.youtube.com/watch?v=uskkIxbuAVQBest wishes,Glenn.

Theresa Plesco September 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Dear Dr. Dosa, I recently finished your book, Making Rounds with Oscar.It made me cry, it made me smile,it made me laugh and it gave me hope. I now know I am not alone out there in the world dealing with a parent with Dementia. My Mother-in-Law died with advanced Dementia while in a nursing home after a very long illness. Last year my own father was diagnosed with dementia. It’s been a very difficult year dealing with all the changes. My father has a pet dog that is his companion and helps to keep him grounded. I am a cat lover/owner and have always been interested in animal behavior. They are truly amazing creatures with incredible insight.Thank you for the wonderful book.

Brook September 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm

This book was totally awesome…I loved it!!!!

Helen September 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Thank you so much for writing this book. I enjoyed it more than I can say. My father-in-law died 15 years ago, eight months aftter my husband and I were married. I didn’t know him since he was toward the end of his life when I met him. My mother-in-law was dx. with dementia eleven years ago and was in a nursing home less than a year later where she still resides at the age of 87. She has no idea who we are any more. One of my biggest concerns is the heredity factor. My husband was dx. with Parkinson’s Disease twenty years ago when he was in his early 40s. He forgets things and I’m at a point of wondering if it’s just natural forgetting that we go through as we age or is it the precursor to dementia. Neither of us has any immediate family nearby and it is scary. I worry about my husband if I’m hospitalized as he no longer drives. I worry about him when he puts something on the stove and sits down and falls asleep. I try to be aware of what he is doing but also don’t want to ignore any situation that is questionable.Have to go,Helen in SW FL

Tami Kietzmann September 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I am an RN who is working in a long-term care facility with many dementia residents. I absolutely loved the book, as you were able to bring to light this horrible disease with compassion. It waslike I was listening to a story that a friend was telling.I saw the similarities of several of my residents with yours. I love my job and helping the families give their loved one a respectable end to their life. It is ok to let go, and that is one of the hardest things to teach the families.Thank you for writing this book and allowing others to share in the comfort of Oscar. He is a very unique cat.Tami Kietzmann, RN

Helen September 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I’m still wondering if anyone knows what the heredity factor is for children of both parents with Alzheimer’s. Especially if one of the children has Parkinson’s Disease.Chicken Soup for Cats has a story in it about a woman who took her cat that would snuggle up with the patientsto nursing homes and hospice.Helen

Brooke Ashmore September 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I checked this book out at my local library simply because I have a cat named Oscar and I thought it cute. I believe I was born a cat lover since I’ve always had at least 1 throughout my whole life. Thank you for writing about Oscar and what he is doing. People should realize that animals have certain intuitions and we should pay them more attention.

Margie Laley September 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Dear Dr. Dosa, I enjoyed your book, Making Rounds withOscar. Just the picture of Oscar on the cover made me want to read it. I enjoyreading anything about a cat. I, myself,have had 3 special cats so far. Each one has had its unique personality, and I believe the Lord created them to give us love and companionship unconditionally (as Oscar did). There’s a scripture in the BibleJob l2:7 – Ask the animals, and they will teach you. We can learn so much from animals. Thank you for writing the book. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotton Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Bette Kavanagh September 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I rescued a 6 month old kitten. She was sweet and gentle and a true lap cat but when any of my grandchildren came to visit she took off. When my youngest daughter had a son who was diagnosed PDD on the autism spectrum Jessie had a change of heart. She allowed this little boy to hold her lie next to her and I have the cutest picture of them nose to nose on the couch. I believe that my sweet Jessie knew that Nick needed her. I loved your book!

Julia Turner September 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm

During my work as a hospice social worker, I have seen many of my patients comforted by the presence of their furry friends, the ones who often keep steady vigil at the bedside. Oscar is a remarkable cat and obviously has a gift for knowing when to begin his watch. Thank you for supporting the hospice philosophy in your writing. I plan to include your book in an upcoming project concerning bibliotherapy in the hospice experience.

Julia Turner September 3, 2010 at 12:35 pm

As a hospice social worker, I have had numerous patients whose furry friends keep vigil at their bedside. They seem to know how to gently jump onto the bed without causing harm, and are quite content in their duty. Oscar surely has a gift for knowing when to begin his watch. Thank you for beautifully supporting the hospice philosophy in your writing. I plan to reference your book in an upcoming project concerning bibliotherapy in the hospice experience.

Sharon Tanner September 3, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Dr. Dosa,I haven’t even finished Oscar’s book,but I had to stop and share my story. It is of a mother I lost to LBD in 2006. You mentioned in your book that no one knew about LBD. Understatement 4 years ago. To quote you from your book on pg 91….”Though it won’t make you feel any better, I understand how hard it is to see someone who still looks like your father, but has lost so much of what made him the person you knew.”I had a Heinz 57 who was the love of my life. For 8 years, he knew every time I was sad or ill. He never left my side to eat, drink or potty until I got up as well. My mother was not big on animals… especially ones inside the house, but when I moved home to care for her, she accepted Little Boy Blue’s presence, part and parcel. To shorten a long love story, as my mother deteriorated, Blue kept a daily vigil under her hospital bed in our house. He was under her bed the evening before and at the moment of her passing into Heaven. Blue is with her there now. Her mind is strong and vital again and he is chasing Milkbones. I had him euthanzied in April, due to Cushing’s Disease. Yes, Dr. Dosa, pets do, indeed, have spiritual powers. Powers to calm and bring peace to a dying soul and their grieving family. I highly commend the Steere Home for acknowledging this fact. And, I thank you for writing this lovely book.

Peg Mann September 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Dr. Dosa: I just read your book and it was wonderful. My mother had alzheimers and passed away 6 years ago – so many of your stories were very familiar situations to me. I was glad to read your comments that you also would like to see improvements in the nursing homes. We had a cat named, Jinxie, that would “tuck” my son in every night when he was small. She would get in bed with him and stay there until he went to sleep every night. He’s 28 now and has a paw print and the name Jinxie tattooed on his leg. (I’m not into tattoos myself). :) I have a cat and his name is McCartney (of course, after Paul). He has a toy he loves and after reading your book, I set your book on the library table. McCartney seemed like he became really agitated and started meowing and racing around and the next thing I knew, he put his toy on top of your book. I thought that was really interesting. He’s never done anything like that before. I’d had the book at the house for about a week before that and he didn’t seem to have any reaction to it until after I’d read it. Maybe he and Oscar communicated somehow. :) I had a lot of strong emotions after reading the book because it made me think about my mother’s experiences and somewhat relive some of that time again. Maybe you can write some more books. Bless you and keep up the great work!Peg Mann

Donna Parish-Bischoff September 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Loving the book so much ! Thank you for sharing the experience and Oscar with us !

Mary E. Halfmann September 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Stump wandering the halls, making her rounds. I let her finish her work before taking her home for the weekend. I was proud of my little girl. My vet told me once that cats like smelly stuff, so I opened her up a can of tuna, and rubbed her with catnip to reward her. I had a dream that night that when I went to visit Stump at the nursing home, she was wearing a tiny white lab coat, a stopwatch on her left paw with a stethoscope wrapped around her neck. I could not find her tiny tinker bell.

Kathy Spencer September 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I so related to this book. After having both my parents in nursing homes with Alzheimers I saw myself and them in several of your stories. I couldn’t put down this book. I also have a lovely Tabby cat, Shasha that is my best friend and my guardian angel. I don’t know what I would have done without her this past year after my Mother passed. Thank you David for writing such a lovely account of the wonderful people you treat and Oscar. I’ve told myself that I need to write a book also….on the do’s and don’ts of being a guardian. I learned as I went on this 8 year adventure with my parents. It helped me become a stronger person and hopefully a daughter my parents are proud of. Take care Dr. Dosa and God bless you!Kathy J. Spencer1020 South Timberline DriveBenbrook, Texas 76126kathy.spencer@fwisd.org

Sylvia Peters September 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Thank you for sharing Oscar’s story. Several years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. She lived on her own until she was no longer able to live independently. At that point she moved into our home which included a Siamese cat and two poodles. To put it mildly she barely tolerated the animals and would often shoo them away. When she became bed ridden the animals began to hold vigil surrounding her in her bed. At some point her attitude changed and the animals became a comfort to her. I remember one day in particular when her sister came to visit and said the animals should be removed from her room because she was so ill. To the amazement of her sister she insisted that they stay in her room. I know they provided a great deal of comfort and solace to her and also to us. They rarely left her side until she was hospitalized and died. Than you for writing the book, my husband and I had the opportunity to hear you speak during an appearance in Tampa, Fl.

LInda van Twist September 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Just look at Oscar’s eyes! I’m convinced that pets can be angels to people in distress. When my mother died in 1978, my father got into a deep depression, because he was pensioned the same month. We had a cat Mickey, which we had picked up from the streets. It was a loner and a grumpy old cat, who just loved my mother, because she had taken care of him after we got him at home. He never wanted to sit on anybody’s lap, until a few months after my mother’s death. He jumped onto my father’s lap, on a moment when my dad was deeply sad and depressed. I made a picture of this wonderful moment, when my dad showed a little smile again.

Michelle H. September 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm

When my mom returned home after spinal surgery, our cat Fluffy brought her great comfort with the simplest of gestures — he placed his paw on her hand as she lay in bed. He was a concerned child. He was the first one she asked about after she came out of surgery: “How’s my son?” she wrote on a piece of paper. Fluffy died several months later, too soon at the age of three. A special soul.

koral September 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I like your site! continue to keep it on to the favor of all, koral

jeanne leavitt September 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

This is one of the nicest books I have read in along time. Being 65 yrs old it really made me think about life, present and furture. Thank you for writing it.Jeanne

Patricia September 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I have just finished reading your book and would like to say thank you. My father passed away from Alzheimer’s on 31st March 2010. He was a beautiful, kind and gentle soul and even though we had said good bye long before his passing, his death was still devastating for the whole family. Even though I live in Australia, there were so many of your stories I could relate to and I only wish that we had an Oscar to help us through the last distressing hours. Again thanks for writing this book and letting the world know about how wonderful cats can be.

LaDonna Curran September 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Just finished the book today. I enjoyed it immensely. We had a similar little angel helping us while my mother was dying of lung cancer. Our angel cat was Whiskers. Like Oscar he had a reputation of coming in for the final hours or minutes of life. Like Oscar Whiskers would occasionally drop in just to check on things and say “HI”. We had heard the stories of Whiskers coming in to escort the spirit home. And so he did. At the nursing home they said if Whiskers comes and sits under the bed it was not a real encouraging sign. The evening before my mothers passing Whiskers started his vigil of checking in every so often. My mother loved him and so did I. About 15 minutes before her passing Whiskers came to stay. He was at the foot of the bed. As her breaths started to slow rapidly Whiskers came to the upper half of the bed. At four breaths a minute he walked acrossed her mid-ssection to me for a pet and then turned and walked back acrossed her solar plexus for a pet from my sister who was sitting opposite me on the other side of the bed. My mother took one more breath and was gone. It seemed to us that Whiskers gave us his condolences and her the permission to leave. A scene forever etched in my mind. Since then Whiskers has been removed from the home because of new management. What a loss!

Bea Brugge September 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I am currently reading the book and I have to say that it is such a touching book. I was currently a caregiver for my Grandpa, whom passed away from on August 3, 2010. I took care of him, in my home, for 2 years. He was diagnosed with Dementia. I seen him through this difficult disease and I watched his daily living skills decline. In the end I had to do everything for him. If given the opportunity I would do it again for him in a heartbeat. In fact, in honor of him and everyone that is affected by this debilitating illness I am participating in the Memory Walk 2010 for the Alzheimer’s Association. Thank you Dr. Dosa for writing and sharing this wonderful story!

Thomas Henderson September 8, 2010 at 11:27 am

Hello!
I found out about your book “Making Rounds With Oscar” through a condensed version in an issue of the Reader’s Digest. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimers in October, 2001, not long after he turned 65. With help, my mother and I took care of him at home till February, 2009. He spent the last 6 months of his life at a nearby Care Facility – I don’t think they like to be called Nursing Homes anymore – and I discovered your book shortly after he passed on August 20, 2009. My mother and I enjoyed your book very much; in fact, she sent another copy to a cousin and her sister. They had also been through a similar situation, and they appreciated, and enjoyed, the book as well. It is both relateable and comforting, as well as informative. Thank You Very Much!

jennifer chance October 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Dr. Dosa and Oscar,
My 79 yr old Mother had lived at home by herself until 2 yrs ago when she under went open heart surgery for a valve replacement. After surgery she never returned home!!! Her mental status went from ok- sometimes forgetting to dillusions! She was not able to retuen home by the state because she was a danger to herself. I inquired with a nuero dr and showed her a cat scan from earlier months and she was able from that to diagnose my Mother with Moderate Alzheimers. No chance to plan no chance to grieve just to act. My Mother was a very alert person to the heart valve replacement! My Mother had me wehn she was 46 yrs old. I am only 36 now and I have been trying to deal with the disease as well as my greif of loss of the Mother I knew. She is now 82 yrs old. You talked in your book about not feeling guilt or accepting the person they become.. so easier said than done! I Don’t and Can’t understand why there is not more media and celebrity attention behind this horrible disease ? It is not just a old person disease!!! Myb Mother’s Grandmother passed in 1988 from it and now her and her Brother are suffering as well. So Guess I will also!! Your book was to close to home. I felt like I was in the nursing of my Mother. But the book was also very comforting to know that you as a Dr. and some others feel the pain of dementia and alz. My Mother always talks about when I go home I want a dog. We always had cats and dogs when I was younger. Wish we could raise as much money for research and a cure as they do with Breast Cancer! I Thank you for the book , I read it in 6 hours!!! Tears and All!

Tami December 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I’ve just finished reading ” Making Rounds…” what a great story. I lost my mom two years ago to dementia, thank you for sharing the stories and bringing to light this horrible disease. I wish the care home that my mother was in had an Oscar to care for the residents, what a great idea it is.

Betsy January 1, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I first heard about Oscar on the news and then found your book and bought it a few months ago. I set it aside until a few days ago when I wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to curl up with a quilt, my cat and a book. I was expecting a story about an amazing cat with a gift, but got much more. My mother had dementia and lived the last year and a half of her life in a nursing home. They didn’t have animals inside the facility, but there were three friendly dogs that roamed the grounds. They almost always greeted me with wagging tails as I was leaving from a visit, as if they knew I needed something to lift my spirits. Your interviews with families helped me to come to grips with some of the unresolved feelings I had about the difficult choice my family had to make. Thank you so much for your dedication and determination to learn and share that information and insight, not just about the disease, but the impact on families and caregivers.

Merelyn February 17, 2011 at 6:11 am

In 2000 my parents came to live with my daughter & I as my mother had pancreatic cancer & 6 months to live & my father had to undergo a full laryngectomy through throat cancer. Even though I grew up as a child with cats my mother refused to allow them inside. My daughter & I had our own cat called Cilla who very rarely stayed inside & hated strangers. We would often be looking for her outside & calling for her, to which she always responded yet after my parents arrived we found that every night Cilla would hide inside & usually sneak behind my Mothers lounge chair. One night I could not find her & it was only after going into my Mothers room ( mum was sleeping in a seperate room from dad) I found her hiding under the bed.
Mum got used to Cilla hiding behind her chair & used to talk to her saying ” I know you are there cat” or she would ask if Cilla was inside or behind her chair or where is that cat now. A few months later my mum was taken to hospital where she died. That night we could not find Cilla yet the next day she came in & immediately went to my mums room then continually padded up & down the hallway near the bedroom door. She did not enter the lounge once but looked at us as if asking “where is she”. We knew she was looking for Mum & I tried to tell her where she had gone. Cilla joined her 12months later

Stephanie L Simpson July 27, 2011 at 6:47 am

Thank you Dr Dosa for realizing how much end of life and hospice care are necessary. .I had heard about Oscar previously and I just finished reading your wonderful book. I worked as a Certified Nurse Assistant as a second job for 5 1/2 years at our Hospice inpatient Unit at one of the local hospitals. I have helped take care of quite a few dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. We let the families bring in their pets to either visit or stay with the patients. and it was so comforting to see the patients reaction and see them relax when they saw their beloved pet come for a visit. We enjoyed the visits as well & it was not unusual to see one of us kneeling down to get puppy kisses. I have four inside cats and feed a couple of feral cats as well. When you walk in the door and your “Babies” are there to greet you it is the best feeling in the world. May God Bless you for all you are doing to help the patients and families come to terms with a heart breaking disease.

J. September 30, 2011 at 1:54 am

Dear Dr. Dosa!

I remember the time when my grandpa died. He died at his home which is located over the way to ours, in the middle of the night my grandma found him lying on the floor of the toilet. He was deaf and obviously he had kind of a stroke. I saw it when the undertaker came to carry him out of the house. This made my heart burst. Then I had to rest, was in a haze, just went to bed. Although my former cat “Ramses” wasn’t a cuddly one, at this time he went to my bed, just to lie next to me and brought comfort to me with just beeing there.
That was unbelievable. He obviously had a sense when he “just should be there” and when I was having a hard time.

Unfortunately, here in Austria it is not usual that animals are living in hospices and homes for elderly people. In my opinion that’s such a deficit! They give so much love, so much love in a simple way, to people who are often out of their senses, who are impaired and where no normal contact to their environment exists anymore.
Petting an animal is so relaxing and calming. I think that sick people as well as mentally impaired old people and of course children too can only benefit from contact with animals.
You can often see that people who are harsh and unfriedly, who are not able to socialize, that they’re also rude and rough when having contact with animals.
So I think that people of every age can learn something from animals. The implicit love and impartiality, the gentleness. They don’t ask where you’re coming from, if you’re rich or poor, … that’s so impressive.

I also think that people have to learn to let go beloved ones, even when it’s a hard time to see your near members of your family suffering. Especially when there’s somebody with cancer or another incurable illness, it’s important to think about what the one once said about death and letting go. Today medicine can do a lot, but it’s not always the best thing to prolong life if the patient already gave up and lost his will to live. So in my opinion it is very important, for young people too, to spend a few thoughts about what I want concerning life-prolonging actions. My mother always uses to say “No CPR, no feeding tube …” and for sure I’ll consider that, when this time has come, even if it’s hard for me. I have to admit that it’s not that easy in Austria. Active euthanasia is illegal, so every doctor has to reanimate and so on. But we were glad that my grandpa wasn’t reanimated when he died. He was deaf and beeing in a normal hospital here where he couldn’t communicate in “his” way would have been horrible for him.

Now I’m, beside my studies and work, a voluntary worker at a old citizen’s home. I’m visiting an old women once a week. She’s already demented, but it’s not that worse that she’s running away or so. But she’s impaired, often don’t knowing names of her beloved ones. She also only has to living sisters, but they’re not living in this city. Her joy and delight when I’m walking over to her sitting in her wheelchair is amazing. Then I’m, as often as possible, taking her out for a walk (because beside those walks she’s most of the time sitting in the lounge). She enjoys the simple things of live – when I show a ladybug or a feather to her, when the sun is shining, when we simply can sit out there to enjoy the sun …
She’s not very talkative, but I can feel that she appreciates not to be a lone, just to sit outside watching things going on … that’s priceless.

Dear Dr. Dosa, I’m looking forward to your next book, because I’m just reading “Making rounds with oscar”. It’s an amazing book, not only because of the cat, also because of the various life histories of all the people …

mARJORIE cOHEN January 12, 2012 at 11:40 am

Dr.Dosa,
Your book has helped my husband and I understand the frustrations we experience with his mother’s dementia. It seems that in one year she completely changed and began forgetting simple things and then when I asked the Dr. to look into this but not tell her, which they ended up doing, she became very upset with me, the daughter-in-law, who has been helpful and like a daughter to her.
This book has helped us understand the disease, yet it doesn’t make it any easier. The one thing with Joan, is that she will not believe that the Dr. told her she should not drive after a serious medical situation that put her into the hospital for a few days, hemoraging from cumedin levels. She doesn’t take her meds and insisits that she does. She continues to ask about her car. I was with her when the Dr. discussed this with her and heard it myself. How do other families handle this situation. She continues to forget important events that the family remeinds her of. No recollection of wedding of her grandson in Mn. that we took her to. and other events.
Ever since a friend of hers died a year ago we have all noticed the extreme change. This is a woman who read a book a week or less, crossward puzzles everyday, took classes at a local University 10 yrs ago etc. and we are so confused how this change could come about so quickly. She thinks she is 87 or 90. She just turned 86. Even when we explain to her what her age is, she smiles and goes back to the 87 or 90.She was always very stylish and now wheres the same clothes everyday. Even when I point it out to her.
The book is helping us cope as well, but that doesn’t mean we are not so puzzled how this could have happened so quickly.

Keep advocating for individuals with Dementia and Azheimer’s.
And more family accounts and stories would be welcomed and so helpful through this journey.
Thank you, Marjorie and David Cohen

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