"Big Dawg" was our family cat for over 14 years. He was probably at least two years old when we got him. He was probably part Mancoon, and was the largest domestic cat we've ever seen. He was given his name by son, Jonathan Blosser, in part because of "Big Dawg's" size. One day a UPS truck showed up at our door, and when the delivery man turned around and saw "Big Dawg," he practically dropped his package. He said he thought it was a Puma! Big Dawg was an exceptionally good-natured cat. An outdoor cat, he adjusted well to every move we made, and while Amy and I were in England, he stayed with her parents without ever leaving their open yard. When he was younger, he was once hit by a car and suffered several bad fractures. After a trip to the vet, I fed him liquid food with a turkey baster for three months until his jaw healed enough for him to eat solid food again. Once a friendly neighbor tried to adopt him and domesticate him as an indoor cat. But two weeks later he made his escape and returned home. He was clearly disgusted with all the wussy ribbons they tried tying around his head. Big Dawg was a tom cat's tom cat. He dominated his turf. Once when a black lab came loping brazenly into our yard, Big Dawg sprang from the deck onto the black lab's neck, dug in, and hung on until the terrified lab beat a hasty retreat. Big Dawg became a Godfatherly protector of Igor, a black kitten we adopted last spring. They became fast friends in recent months. Last Thursday (Sept. 9th, the feast day of St. Peter Claver) Big Dawg failed to show up for dinner. I found him lying peacefully alongside the stone garden wall in the grass under the shade of a Crape Myrtle. There was no sign of foul play. He may have died simply of a heart attack. He showed no signs of ill health in the days leading up to his death. He was getting old, and the spring had gone out of his step, but he could still hold his own when it came to defending his turf. No cat in its right mind would want to tangle with B-i-g D-a-w-g ... I can't help thinking that St. Francis, animal lover that he was, must have arranged a place in heaven for beloved pets. How could God have refused him? Big Dawg, beloved, faithful, loyal guardian of the Blosser family: requiescat in pace (rest in peace).