Making the Rounds with Oscar

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What would we miss if we didn't have pets? Answers vary, depending on why we chose to have pets in the first place. Mostly, when we interact with companion animals, our faces say it all – we smile a whole lot more when pets are around. In his book, Making the Rounds with Oscar, Doctor David Rosa tells of four cats who reside permanently at Steere House, a multi-storey nursing home in the US. A cat lives on each floor of this facility bringing cheer to residents, staff and visitors. One of these cats, Oscar, has become famous across the world for his sensitivity to those who are nearing the end of their lives and his ability to gently and reliably predict impending death. It’s a remarkable story told by an initially sceptical doctor, who while not claiming to understand how it all works, comes to value Oscar as an important part of his health-care team. At this facility, the benefits to the health and well being of patients, their families and staff far out-weigh the practical logistics of keeping four resident cats. With an informed approach to the selection of animals, along with good care and management, keeping pets does not have to be out of the reach of aged care facilities or anyone living in an apartment, unit or higher density living situation.

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