Shadow hops up to meet me, happily licking my fingers. He's a full grown black lab, 100 pounds of bounding dog. He's glad to see me, and I rub his enormous head, and scratch behind his ears. No reason not to show kindness to the condemned.

Tomorrow Shadow will die. For murder. Out on a walk, he shot away from Kate and attacked another smaller dog, Kate couldn't call him off. Couldn't pry the other dog from his jaws with both hands in Shadow's mouth. The other dog's owner couldn't pull him away. It took a right cross to the snout before Shadow dropped his prey.

It's called predator reflex. Shadow is well-fed and disciplined. He will happily roll-over and play dead. He's trained to sit and wait before his meals. He loves people. But every once in a while he just feels the need to kill something. Maybe he learned to kill during his days as a stray. Who knows. Kate saw his dark side and worse of all that he liked it. Animals, including humans, who like killing can't really be trained to stop. No matter how vigilant she is, sooner or later he will break loose.

Today Shadow gets to spend his day romping on the farm. No other small animals will be close to tempt him. Just a nice walk, a run and a good meal. The last meal for the condemned applies to dogs as well as humans.

In the morning the kind veterinarian who checked him for ear mites and vaccinated him for rabies will put a new needle in, Shadow will go to sleep. I wonder if he will dream of cats.