Medicine Paranormal Skepticism/critical thinking

The dog of doom

I knew it.

I knew it wouldn’t be long before this happened. About three weeks ago, we had the Oscar the Death Cat, a.k.a. the kitty of doom. Given the discussions of animals and death and speculation that other animals might be able to “predict” impending death, you knew it was coming.

Behold the Doggy of Death:


His name is Scamp, and he lives at a nursing home in Ohio:

Scamp, a Schnauzer, lives at The Pines nursing home in Ohio – where his owner, a staff member, claims he has been present for the death of virtually every patient for the past three years. That’s around forty deaths, twice as many as Oscar the cat’s kill count of 20.

Deirdre Huth, Scamps owner, says that the doomhound always turns up in the hours before one of the residents dies, waiting patiently in their room until they pass away.

‘He has either barked or he’ll pace around the room. The only time he barks is when he’s trying to tell us something’s wrong,’ she said.

‘It’s not like he’s a grim reaper,’ she added, inaccurately.

Can you say “confirmation bias” again? Sure, I knew you could. At least this story didn’t make it into the New England Journal of Medicine.

I’m beginning to wonder if, in the wake of Oscar’s reaping, we’ll see an epidemic of death-predicting animals?

Happy the Death Hamster, anyone?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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