You know, I was just thinking about VBS, the kids, and which teachers they love. There are some teachers that the kids just don’t care all that much for. Those are the teachers who are always fussing at the kids.

But all the kids like Bethany. It occurred to me when I was looking at the pic of her dancing with the 3 boys…’s because she has fun. And she lets them have fun. And they respect her anyway. You don’t have to be constantly yelling at the kids to make them behave. They will behave for you if they love you. I wish some of the other teachers could catch on to that.

Today we had 75 kids, and 25 workers.


Real Life Adventures 7-25-07

Zits 7-25-07



Oscar, a hospice cat at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R.I., walks past an activity room at the facility earlier this week.

July 25, 2007, 4:30PM
Cat accurately predicts deaths of nursing home residents

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one,” said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.

The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He’d sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. “This is not a cat that’s friendly to people,” he said.

Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill

She was convinced of Oscar’s talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn’t eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.

Oscar wouldn’t stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor’s prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient’s final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don’t know he’s there, so patients aren’t aware he’s a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.

No one’s certain if Oscar’s behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.

Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa’s article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.

If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it’s also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.

Nursing home staffers aren’t concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.

Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his “compassionate hospice care.”

Science writer Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


11 thoughts on “

  1. yes! I just read that article, actually! I think it’s sweet that the kitty curls up with them. oh and RYC: no baby!

  2. You and I both know that animals can sense things that people cannot.  There may be some pheramone involved, or something in the dying person’s nervous system that the cat can sense.  If it’s something like that, it would take some pretty advanced machinery to study that.  Between you and me, I don’t think it’s the heated blanket – :hammer:

  3. :goodjob: :yes: I think you’re right. I don’t buy the heated blanket thing. Animals just sense when something is wrong. There are dogs that can sense when someone is about to have a seizure. You can’t explain that one away with a heated blanket! 😆

  4. :heartbeat:Beth is the best… she is the sweetest and I love her dearly.. I can see her working with kids and the kids just loving on her.. she’s easy to love…
    What a cool story about “Oscar”… I bet it’s comforting for the person to have this cuddly kitty next to them when they pass… even if they are in a coma, just the warmth of the kitty… so sweet… I was showing Ben this story and he was all “Awwwwwwww”… great!
    Have a great Thursday!

  5. :(rtc: I just saw the blog about your uncle, thanks for letting me know.. how terrible.. bless his heart, and yes I will pray for him.  He looks like a very sweet man… pray that he does not have to suffer…

  6. Beth is the best… she is the sweetest and I love her dearly.. I can see her working with kids and the kids just loving on her.. she’s easy to love…
    Do you want to come be in her VBS class? 😆

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