Joseph was 8 years old when he went to live with his grandmother. Joseph had been removed from his mother’s home because of ongoing physical abuse and neglect due to her drug addiction. When he moved into his grandmother’s home, he had to leave behind his cat Smokey. Smokey had been more than a cat to Joseph. Smokey was his best friend and his security.
Once Joseph was moved into the home of his grandmother, he was also assigned a CASA volunteer, Doug. Doug went to see Joseph once a week and together they got to know each other over games of catch, multiple board games and walks to the park. On one of these walks, Joseph confided to Doug, how much he missed Smokey and his concerns that his mom wasn’t taking care of the cat. When Joseph was in her care, Joseph assumed the responsibly for Smokey, making sure he had food and water, and a clean litter box. His mother often forgot about the cat for days at a time.
Doug outlined Joseph’s concern for his cat in his next court report. At the next court hearing, the Judge asked Doug about Smokey and made it an order of the court that Joseph’s mom get Smokey to Joseph that same week. Doug was able to be there for the emotional reunion between Joseph and Smokey.