I’ve always had a soft spot for cats, dogs, and other household pets. When I was just a boy, we had a black cat we’d named Blackie (I know that sounds racist, but he was named actually after a local Frenchman who ran a convenience store right next door to us – the store was named “Blackie’s”). Blackie was my first ever pet, and as such – he earned a particularly love-filled spot in my heart that never completely healed when we were forced to get rid of him. I was only four or five years old when we did. Fast forward to me now in my thirties, and I have yet to have a pet to call my absolute own, though I now…