That picture is of a young Socko Foley Sears helping himself to the cat food after we had failed to refill his bowl in a timely manner for him. He was a great first pet for me and a great blessing to the marriage between me and Lila.
Lila and I were married back in April of 2007 and in May of 2007 a cat gave birth to a litter at Lila's work. When the kittens were able to walk and come out from underneath the building she noticed this little tuxedo cat with runny eyes who was 95% head and tail and 5% body. He was the runt of the litter and not taken care of by his mother. She also noticed how he seemed to have four socks. Two ankle ones in the front and two knee highs in the back. Lila knew how much I loved wrestling and especially how much respect and admiration I had for Mick Foley and his puppet Mr. Socko. She named our newfound kitten Socko Foley Sears and charged me with taking him to the vet to get a checkup and shots. After getting some eye cream for his conjuntivitis and bowls for food and water, I brought him home to play with before I headed off to work at the Ultimate Sports Show. Socko was very curious about our house because he had been an outdoor cat for his entire time on earth.
When he acclimated to the house, he began finding favorite spots to sleep and play. It amazed me how small he was and how he could fit his entire body into my hand. He was a joy to play with and he began to love sleeping among the stuffed animals when we were not at home.
His absolute favorite place to sleep however was right below my chin or Lila's chin. He would curl up with his disproportioned by and fall asleep with a little snore. It was such an amazing experience for me because I had never owned a pet before. I had helped take care of a girlfriend's cat named Shelby before that was also a tuxedo cat, but Leanne owned her. Socko was mine to take care of and look after. When he grew, his back legs seemed to grow at a faster rate than his front so he always looked like one of those drag racers with enormous back tires and the little tires up front. He would manage to waddle down the hall shaking his butt in a cute little fashion.
He became very possessive of us and wouldn't let anyone else hold him for the longest time without meowing loudly about it. That lasted for a very short time though because he became a very social cat with humans, especially Michaela Hayes-Shoals. Around December Lila and I decided that we were going to give Socko a voice to match his personality. I immediately for some reason went to Eric Cartman of South Park and it stuck. Whenever Socko "talked" it was in the voice of Eric Cartman. Soon he became as foulmouthed as Eric Cartman which generally meant me making Lila end up laughing and trying to get me to not act so profane around our kitten. I think he actually like it though because I never heard him complain.
We took him with us to Lila's parent's house for Thanksgiving where he found his favorite food of all time: White Meat Turkey done in a maple bacon and sage marinade. This slowly became a birthday tradition for him that he would eat until he made himself sick. He loved turkey probably more than anything else in the world but us. This photo is his 5th birthday feast with brother Charlie.
He had grown used to being the only cat at a year old when in August of 2008, we rocked his world by introducing Finlee. At first he was very mean to her and did not enjoy sharing the house with Finlee. He chased her out of the bed a few times to show her that it was his place to be with mommy and daddy. He later grew to accept her as his step-sister and the two became best pals. I loved watching the two of them play together and run through the house after each other. Socko and Finlee had great fun together except when it came to photos. Then Socko wanted all the glory for himself.
He was even accepting of the 4 new kittens we adopted in May of 2009 when a stray gave birth to the litter. Charlie, BeeGee, Big Boy (Now Jorgi), and Little Girl all played with Socko. He looked at us as if to say, "This is cool for now but you better not bring in any more cats ok?" He and Little Girl would go on hunting parties together for velociraptors during the summer. (Yes I totally made up stories about where my cats went during the day while I was at work. Don't judge me.) When Little Girl went missing for six weeks he was a great comfort to me and Lila. When the vet's office found Little Girl, he was the first cat to welcome her back and realize who she was after she'd been gone for so long. They started playing together again nearly right away. Socko was always there to be a good friend to humans and animals alike.
When I broke my hand recently, I spent many nights in a great amount of pain and unable to sleep on the couch. Socko got out of his spot on our bed and came to sit in my lap where we watched television together until the wee hours of the morning. This was one of the last photographs I took of my little buddy.
Yesterday, I awoke from a nap to find my wife sobbing uncontrollably with only the word, "Socko," coming out of her mouth. I knew that it wasn't going to be good. She told me to come outside and get his body out of the road. I was holding it together until I bent over and picked him up. I lost it. I couldn't stop crying. I was holding the body of my first pet and I had lost him forever. This couldn't be. He was my Buddy. He was supposed to be with me and Lila and our first baby. He was supposed to be with us for at least 15 more years. This wasn't right. I laid him gently in the grass and continued to bawl like a baby. Hell, I'm crying right now as I right this. With the help of Lila's Uncle Harold we buried him next to the woods so he could go and hunt the velociraptors in the afterlife and still be close to his brothers and sisters. I can honestly say I didn't realize how much I loved him until I couldn't tell him that any more.
He was my firsts pet and by God if he wasn't the best first pet anyone could ask for. So I offer this humble request to all of you reading this. If you have a dog or cat, give him or her a little extra love tonight. Hold them close and give them an extra treat. Tell them how much you love them and pet them. You never know when they will be taken away from you. Love every moment you have with them. This treatment should also go for any spouse, parent, sibling, cousin, etc. We are given such precious moments with those we love and we never realize how little time we have with them until they go.
So tonight I'm going to go to Lila and each of my cats and tell them how much I love them. I highly suggest you do the same.
RIP Socko Foley Sears. May 1st, 2007 - May 29th, 2012
First Pet, Beloved Brother, Hunter of Velociraptors