Making Rounds with Oscar

Thoughts   Making Rounds with Oscar:  The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa MD, Hyperion 2010, 215 pages.

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:

(This is the only size image I could find!  oh well…)

Here’s another;  with Copley.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

10 thoughts on “Making Rounds with Oscar

  1. Aw, love the Oscar pics! I liked the non-gushy review for the difference and the quotes. Thanks for adding that. I did think the doctor was a bit slow on the uptake, myself, and that a cat understanding when someone is near death and curling up near them isn’t as startling as he thinks. Cats are pretty intuitive creatures. Our Sunshine would climb up on my chest and stick her nose under my chin if I was upset. And, she tried to follow me down the hall on her last day on earth (she didn’t make it; she collapsed in the hallway) — always the companion. Have I recommended A Dog’s Purpose to you? You must read it. It’s wonderful.

  2. I think you and Oscar are such a gift to the people in your lives. 🙂

    I would probably cry my way through this whole book…nursing homes just seem so sad to me. But I enjoyed your post, and you remind me that when I start feeling a bit healthier, I’d love to start volunteering in a nursing home.

    1. It is very rewarding to volunteer at a nursing home. You hear such fascinating stories of lives long lived and most people are smiley, appreciative and say such nice things. It’s fun. Yesterday, I re-orged the library – told everyone that as soon as Oscar masters his alphabet, I’d let him help. Took me 3 hours just to get the A-J books straightened up! It’s always a bigger project than I expect – of course, because I’m taking time to talk with every person who enters the library.

      1. I really love chatting with older people; that’s the main reason I want to volunteer! Visiting my grandma last month made me miss it all the more…I’m always asking her to tell me stories. lol She laughs at me.

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