Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/08/16/grim_reaper_dog/

'Grim reaper' dog senses nursing home deaths

Woof woof, you're dead

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 16th August 2007 11:11 GMT

It appears it's not just cats who have the gift of sensing when old timers are about to pop their clogs. Hot on the paws of Oscar, the Rhode Island feline who spookily holds death-bed vigils for residents at Providence's Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre, comes news of Scamp - the Ohio grim reaper canine who similarly haunts the bedsides of the ailing.

According to Inside Edition, the Schnauzer prowls the corridors of The Pines nursing home in Canton and "tries to raise the alarm when he gets the feeling that one of the seniors is at death's door".

Staff member Deirdre Huth, who owns the Schnauzer, explained: "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."

Director of nursing Adeline Baker said Scamp had forecast "practically every one of the 40 or so deaths that have occurred in the three years", including that of Andrew Popa. Popa's friend Yvette Notturno has heard about the dog's "gift", and "when she got a call from a nurse that Scamp wouldn't leave her friend's bedside, she came right away knowing that her friend didn't have long". Popa duly died shortly after.

Baker stressed that Scamp's presence was welcomed by residents as they prepared to shuffle off this mortal coil. She said: "It's not like he's a grim reaper. It's kind of comforting to know that maybe at the end of our lives, if we don't have family members, there will be somebody there to be with us." ®