Archive for July 29th, 2007

Oscar, Cat with the Purr of Death…

Originally uploaded by karing1960@sbcglobal.net.

Oscar, cat with the purr of death

Inspection round … Oscar patrols the dementia unit of a nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island.
Photo: AP
Colin Nickerson in Providence, Rhode Island
July 27, 2007

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OSCAR the cat makes his grand entrances just as life is about to leave.
A hop onto the bed, a fastidious lick of the paws, then a snuggle beside a nursing home patient with little time left. Oscar’s purr, when keeping close company with the dying, is so intense it is almost a low rumble.
“He’s a cat with an uncanny instinct for death,” said David Dosa, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine and a geriatric specialist. “He attends deaths. He’s pretty insistent on it.”
In the two years since Oscar was adopted into the dementia unit of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Providence he has maintained close vigil over the deaths of more than 25 patients, nursing staff and doctors say.
Dr Dosa had an essay on Oscar published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Like any feline, Oscar gives a hefty portion of his day to sleep. He likes to doze on stacks of patient reports. Or on the desk at the nurses’ station. Or in the linen closet.
When awake, however, the mixed-breed cat shows a solemn dedication to duty, making regular “inspection” rounds of the unit, sauntering in and out of patient rooms – as if checking on the condition of the occupants.
When death is near, Oscar nearly always appears at the last hour or so. Yet he shows no special interest in patients who are simply in poor shape, or even patients who may be dying but who still have a few days. Authorities in animal behaviour have no explanation for Oscar’s ability to sense imminent death. They theorise that he might detect some subtle change in metabolism – felines are as acutely sensitive to smells as dogs – but are stumped as to why he would show interest.
In any event, when Oscar settles on a patient’s bed, caregivers take it as a sign that family members should be summoned immediately.
“We’ve come to recognise him hopping on the bed as one indicator the end is very near,” said Mary Miranda, charge nurse on the surprisingly cheery floor that is home to 41 patients in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, a stroke, and other mentally debilitating diseases. “Oscar’s been consistently right.”
Keeping pets has been a trend in nursing home care for several years. The Steere Centre, founded in 1874, has 120 residents, plus six cats, a slew of parakeets and a floppy-eared rabbit. Oscar’s sole domain, however, is the locked dementia ward. He came to the unit as a kitten in July 2005, brought by a staff member to replace the floor’s previous resident feline, Henry, who had died some months earlier. Click Here to see rest of story. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this.  It has piqued my curiosity.

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Originally uploaded by karing1960@sbcglobal.net.

While we were vacationing in Yosemite in June, Mike, Jeremy and our good friend Cliff drove to Mammoth Lakes for the day. I had opted to stay in the valley and do some sightseeing. While they were visiting there, Mike took Jeremy and Cliff to where we had seen an Earthquake Fault last year, about a mile downhill from Mammoth Mountain ski area’s main lodge. Although the sign indicated that this was a fault, I learned that this crack in the ground is one of many fractures covering the north side of Mammoth Mountain, but it is not actually a true fault, which is more accurately defined as a rift where rock on one side moved in a different direction from rock on the other side. Instead, the ground at the Earthquake Fault appears to have simply opened, and the two sides would fit perfectly if pushed back together. However, the crack is aligned with true faults to the north, suggesting the same underground forces caused it to open. At places, the crack is more than 20 feet deep. Last year when Mike and I first saw the fault and even ventured a short way inside, it gave me an eerie feeling to know that I was standing in a rift in the earth caused by geologic forces.As I was pondering this, my mind began to remember another rift or chasm in my life. This is a rift that all of us face, and it separates us from fellowship with our mighty God and Creator. It is a rift of our own making because of our sinfulness and self will. The Bible describes it like this: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) This chasm left me empty, and trying to find things in this life to fill that void inside. But nothing satisfied. It wasn’t until I came to God and repented of my transgressions that I found the bridge that crossed the chasm to Him. And that bridge was the Cross of Calvary. He filled me with His Holy Spirit, and a wonderful new life of forgiveness and joy was opened up to me! That was over 28 years ago, and I still marvel at what Jesus did for me and for you! I thank God for the cross that bridged that Great Divide! Below are the lyrics to a song that so beautifully what Jesus did for us. It’s available for whosoever will.
Words and Music by Grant Cunningham & Matt Huesmann

Silence Trying to fathom the distance

Looking out ‘cross the canyon carved By my hands

God is gracious Sin would still separate us

Were it not for the bridge His grace Has made us

His love will carry me

(Chorus) There’s a bridge to cross the great divide A way was made to reach the other side The mercy of the Father, cost His son His life His love is deep, His love is wide There’s a cross to bridge the great divide

God is faithful On my own I’m unable

He found me hopeless, alone and Sent a Savior

He’s provided a path and promised to guide us

Safely past all the sin that would divide us

His love delivers me

(Repeat Chorus) The cross that cost my Lord His life Has given me mine There’s a bridge to cross the great divide There’s a cross to bridge the great divide

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