back to article 'Grim reaper' dog senses nursing home deaths

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 …


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  1. John Latham


    ...maybe the dog carries some kind of deadly virus which wipes out every coffin dodger he comes near.


  2. Allan Rutland


    "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."

    Quiet sad unfortunatly. Although am sure if it works this well, the NHS could use it for nursing homes over here. Lets face it, must be plenty of new canine cheap staff available this way.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I smell dead people

    ... they don't know they're dead...

    Seventh Sense, starring Bruce Willis.

    Plot, little boy can smell dead people, other people can't smell them.

    Boy: "Man they stink, and they don't know they stink"

    Bruce: "Perhaps they want you to clean them?"

    Boy: "They're walking around everywhere and they totally hum."

    The plot twist at the end is: they're not dead, and the little boy just has some poop under his nose.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The truth is

    that when they're dying, old people begin to smell like pet food.

  5. Simon Reed

    Re: The truth is

    "The truth is that when they're dying, old people begin to smell like pet food."

    Oh, so THAT's what pet food is made from. Kind of like a Soylent Green with Coffin-Dodger Chunks in a thick rich Gimmer Gravy.

  6. Mark

    Remind me

    Never to go into a Home which has pets. Maybe I can be immortal that way.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Obviously Scamp is just trying to steal Oscar's thunder. Typical celebrity, jumping on every bandwagon they see just for some publicity. Just like Julia Roberts (only more attractive).

  8. Tim Weigel

    And this is news now why? Not like it's a new thing...

    My wife's worked in nursing homes for years and has seen animals do this sort of thing since the start of her career. She mentioned that it must be a slow news cycle for this to be in the news now as it's not exactly new or uncommon.

    In the homes with animals, many of the staff habitually watch the animals for those sorts of behavioral differences. Just like in the articles - in more than one facility, an otherwise indifferent cat would become very friendly to residents as they neared death. Dogs would similarly change behavior around people near death, spending more time around them and barking more.

    My guess is that there's some change in our smell that they pick up on (and given the way pet food smells, I REALLY hope we don't start smelling like THAT), but that's just my layman's uninformed guess.

  9. Kenny Swan


    Dogs can sense when humans are in poor health or feeling down. Everyone knows that. It just so happens that when old people get ill, they're likely on their last legs. I'd say coincidence and nothing more. If it is something more, the dog better stay the hell away from me...

  10. Jack Pastor

    What IS it with Julia Roberts?

    <<Just like Julia Roberts (only more attractive).>>

    Not to get off-topic, but does casting someone in a role as "Pretty Woman" convince the world that she IS ???

  11. Olly Molyneux


    can't be true. I had a dog that always used to sniff my balls and I don't think I'm dead down there just yet. ah,but I might be firing blanks though..

  12. Dillon Pyron

    I've seen it

    Sort of. My neighbor was dying of brain cancer. His dogs were laying in the living room when they suddenly jumped up and went into his bed room and started whining. The family ran in there and five minutes later he died.

    As far as celebrities are concerned, this is more like Lindsay Lohan jumping on the (this is going to get me flamed) Paris Hilton "I'm going to jail" bandwagon. Only without the iPhone.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I smell LIKE dead people

    I smell LIKE dead people, keep those critters back! Or, someone hand me some soap.

  14. Tim

    40 dead

    In three years are they living /dying in the yank tower of doom?.

    I blame the mobile phone's .

    But it could be the pet's getting there own back for the crap food. After eating what part of it's body does a dog lick to get rid of the taste'

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: And this is news now why? Not like it's a new thing...

    It's the silly season, silly! August, and "there's no news".....

  16. Waldo

    Hmm, see to remember that other animals look for dead meat too!

    Vulture circles bedside...... now that would be news.

    Reg you missed a trick there

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    preditors know

    Preditors know when something is sick and about

    to die more than likely it's a genetic encoded

    behavior wolves almost always go after herd animals

    that are sick or too old to carry on they don't really

    know the individuals in the herd they just know the

    symptoms probably not all domestic cats and dogs

    can do this as we have bred some of the wild

    behavior out but I assume quite a few could tell

    you which old person is about to be easily

    brought down and eaten. I love all the simpering

    he's guiding us to god self delusion he's waiting for

    a meal is more like it.

  18. Conway

    I don't know

    If this dog were a care worker, he'd be suspended while all these mysterious deaths are investigated.

    Maybe fido has worked out how to hold a pillow...

  19. CharleyBoy


    Maybe this is the nursing home's attempt to get the lazier residents up and taking some exercise. I can just see them standing at the end of a corridor announcing in a raise voice,

    "Come on then Scamp. Let's take you around to see the residents then.".

    Meanwhile residents are shuffling like crazy to the other end of the home, jumping out the windows, smashing into fire exits. Obviously, everyone there is going to know that if they're not fast enough in getting out of the way then, they've had it.

    I'd hate to be a new resident there (evidently they go through a few - forty gone in three years!).

    "Hello, chaps. This is Mr. Smith he's coming to live here today. Please, make him welcome".

    "Sure, Sure."

    "Shh. Shh, Don't mention Scamp. Maybe that way we'll have a chance.".

    "Wa? Wassat?"

    "Nothing, Nothing Old chap. Have a seat. Here by the nurses station. Never mind the dog basket. You'll be fine there. [snigger]."

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grim Reper pooch

    this has been happening for years and is no new occurance.

    there have been various studies about having a dog in nursing homes, especially in Palliative Care facilities and how they improve the well being of patients.

    I know of one facility in particular where a dog has been present for well over 10 years and alerts the staff to the impending doom of patients.

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