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Separated by global pandemic, Seattle Peace Corps volunteer reunited with her cat

Casey Boulding was separated from her cat when she was forced to leave Morocco while volunteering with the Peace Corps. The two finally reunited months later.

SEATTLE — Who doesn’t love a good reunion story? Especially if it involves pets and an intercontinental journey.  

Seattle resident Casey Boulding says her close friend recently told her she was "happy you’re home, but I’m also sorry to see you here.” 

It’s a pandemic style show of solidarity as Casey is one of many in limbo during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Casey was about 18 months into her service with the Peace Corps in Morocco when COVID-19 became a global crisis and her organization decided to halt operations and send all volunteers back to the United States. 

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Because the average assignment is 27 months, many Peace Corps volunteers bond with local animals. 

“Little know secret, there’s a lot of down time in the Peace Corps so companionship with an animal is pretty typical," Casey said.

When the world changed in mid-March, Casey was sent back to Seattle with little time to make plans for her new kitty companion.  

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“I am so thankful for the host families back in Morocco that cared for her while I tried to work out getting her home,” Casey said

Four months passed before Casey learned of cargo planes flying out of Morocco. There were numerous veterinarian and permitting obstacles, but that didn’t deter Casey.  

“There’s only one flight and that’s from Casablanca to JFK so I had to fly to New York to meet her at customs," Casey said. "It still feels like a dream that she’s here.”   

Casey says it’s a joyful homecoming of sorts and also rather surreal.  

“She reminds me so much of my time in Morocco and yet she’s here in my childhood bedroom,” Casey said.

The sign out front of Casey’s Seattle home says “Welcome home baby!”