MOTIVATION for READING: I volunteer at a nursing home and enjoy reading books about our elders. (If I could figure out a clever term to call this opposite of YA, I would use it; EA for Elder Adult? SA for Senior Adult?) AND I have a pet named Oscar, albeit a dog. I blame Nancy the BookFool for telling me about this book:
A clearly-written tale told with a tenderness for dementia patients as well as objectivity and scientific curiosity about a very special feline.
and I thank Esme at Chocolate & Croissants for sending it to me:
Death is a subject that we do not like to discuss. As Dr. Dosa tenderly tells us “Oscar’s gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of shy away from”.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Oscar is one of two cats that lives on the dementia floor in a Rhode Island nursing home. He seems to have figured out that his special talent is to give comfort to patients in their last hours of life. The family members and staff begin to recognize and appreciate it when Oscar makes his appearance, surveys the situation and curls up to sleep on the bed, snuggled in at their feet. At first, Dr. Dosa is skeptical but warms up to this special cat as he shares the many stories and examples of Oscar’s care.
WHAT’s GOOD and NOT so good: The lovely stories had me crying through every section. There is a good balance of humor and sadness; the stories are both heart-breaking and touching. Dr. Dosa actually does a good job (intentionally or not?) of showing that nursing staffs are typically over-worked and under-appreciated and that doctors can be quite dense. He does give an excellent description of dementia care and what is involved; that each case is different and that adequate resources within our medical system continue to be a challenge. The writing is simple and sometimes Dosa gives personal facts that were unnecessary; I just wanted more Oscar the Cat. I did enjoy all the cat quotes at the beginning of each chapter.
Overall, I was charmed by Oscar and the work he is being recognized for. Four slices of Pie.
For a less than gushy review, check out Citizen Reader’s. Be sure to read the comments, too.
And just one more photo of MY Oscar! The day he graduated from Pet Therapy School: