David Dosa, MD, is a geriatrician on staff at the Steere House, a skilled nursing facility specializing in patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. One of the unique things about Steere House is that they keep pets in the facility (cats, birds and rabbits) because they have found that the animals are oftentimes soothing to patients in distress.One of the cats, Oscar, is fairly standoffish to staff and patients ... except when the patient is close to death. Then, Oscar hops up on the bed for a vigil that doesn't end until the patient has passed. When Dosa is told that the cat can predict when a patient is going to die, he is skeptical. So, he interviews family members and staff who have seen Oscar in action.In the process, he learns a great deal about how families cope when their loved ones develop dementia and also how comforted they were by Oscar's presence during their loved ones' final hours. In fact, when Dosa's mother-in-law begins to develop dementia, he is able to use the lessons learned from Oscar and the families to whom he spoke into action in his own life.Dosa's book brought me to tears more than once, particularly when he wrote about the couple who met in a German concentration camp and how hard a time the husband had with watching his wife deteriorate. The loving stories of how Oscar would sit on a bed, window sill or lap when he was most needed were beautiful. Overall, Dosa concludes that Oscar's gift is one of unconditional compassion and kindness. Who cannot use an extra dose of those qualities at any time, but most particularly in times of crisis?