Vasily (pictured here in his prime) was euthanized today in my arms. He was a beautiful animal and more than any other I've ever known exuded a natural supreme confidence. I'll always remember the look of disbelief and then the admiring laughter from the owner of a pit bull who had had the temerity to walk his burly dog too close to Vasily's yard. Vasily stalked out into the middle of the street and boxed at the surprised beast, then followed dog and human halfway down the block, tail bottle-brushed and eyes blazing, until he was satisfied that they had learned their lesson. He mellowed in middle age, but still projected such a kingly air that anyone who saw him remarked upon it.
He should have lived twice as long, but cancer, that evil devourer, descended and consumed him. I will miss him very much.