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They thought he was just a cat.

When Oscar arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island in 2005, he was a just cute little guy with attitude. He loved to stretch out in a puddle of sunlight and chase his tail until he was dizzy. Occasionally he consented to a scratch behind the ears, but only when it suited him. In other words, he was a typical cat. Or so it seemed. It wasn’t long before Oscar had created something of a stir.

Apparently this ordinary cat possesses an extraordinary gift: he knows instinctively when end of life is near.

Oscar is a welcome distraction for the residents of Steere House, many of whom are living with Alzheimer’s. But he never spends much time with them—until they are in their last hours. Then, as if this were his job, Oscar strides purposely into a patient’s room, curls up on the bed, and begins his vigil. Oscar’s provides comfort and companionship when people need him most. And his presence lets caregivers and loved ones know that it’s time to say goodbye.
Oscar’s gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of us shy away from.

Making Rounds with Oscar is the story of an unusual cat, the patients he serves, their caregivers, and of one doctor who learns how to listen. Heartfelt, inspiring, and full of the humor and pathos, this book allows readers to take a walk into a world rarely seen from the outside, a world we often misunderstand.

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DAVID DOSA, MD, MPH is a practicing geriatrician and health services researcher at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. In July 2007, David garnered international attention for an essay on Oscar that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.After the story made headlines on morning television programs and newspapers around the world (not to mention People Magazine), David decided to write a book about his experiences with Oscar. That book, entitled Making Rounds with Oscar-The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat was written mostly on nights and weekends during the ensuing months.David lives with his wife Dionne and their two children outside of Providence, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, like many of the characters in his book, David and his wife are also now part of the “Sandwich Generation”- a generation caught between raising children and caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease.