Not sure my three-year-old Lab likes the designation, but often I refer to him as the "kitty mamma." He is the one who monitors feline behavior in our house. The two kittens like to harass the 14-year-old, frail cat. When they get too rough, Banjo intervenes, pushing the offenders away or distracting them with a game of chase.
The kittens love him. The other dogs grunt or turn away when they walk past. But Banjo tolerates them. They appreciate that. They take it further. They want to be near him. He is their protector. Their advocate. Maybe even their surrogate mamma. Little Blaze climbs in bed with him every morning and snuggles. Sometimes he just want to put his head up against Banjo. Other times he remembers snuggling with his real mamma and starts kneading Banjo's belly.
The amazing Banjo tolerates this. I think he knows that not only is he responsible for the felines' well being, but must have concern for their comfort as well. It's a touchy situation, but for the most part, harmony is maintained.