If you are fascinated by things unexplainable, you will love this story.
Oscar is a cat who lives at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, RI. Oscar would be rather ordinary if not for his uncanny ability. He is a beautiful cat with a medium-length grey tabby coat and a long, bushy tail. He first came to live at Steere House when the staff adopted him because they feel pets make the Center more homey.
Oscar’s ability? Though he is usually aloof, he sometimes seeks out the rooms of certain patients. When he does, he curls up on the bed of one of the room’s occupants and stays with them until they expire. He arrives near their “final hours.” What makes him choose those patients? No one knows.
Dr. David Dosa is fascinated by Oscar. At first he was skeptical, but when he and his colleagues recorded fifty episodes of Oscar picking soon-to-be-deceased patients, their doubts vanished.
Now Dr. Dosa has written a book about Oscar and his ability: Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat. Both the staff and families of patients find Oscar to be a great comfort, and he is frequently mentioned in obituaries.
As someone who teaches a Sunday School class in a nursing center, I can really relate to the importance of the comforting presence a pet brings to the residence. When a pet comes to visit, it matters not whom the owner is, for a time that pet belongs to everyone who sees him.
Losing residents becomes a part of nursing home work one must adjust to when one has been called to such a ministry. I can certainly see how an Oscar could bring tremendous comfort to the bereaved.
Our thanks to Ray Henry of the Associated Press and Stew Milne for the photograph of Oscar.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.