This is an amazing story of a homeless dog in Bosnia that changed the lives of hundreds of people and dogs around the world. Her name is Tanzie.
Bosnia, having been in a war roughly 20 years before, had left generations of dogs that could not be cared for.
Let’s back up though and start with Katie. Katie is in the U.S. Air Force and was deployed from 2014-2015 to Bosnia. When she first arrived there, she noticed lots of stray dogs. Bosnia, having been in a war roughly 20 years before, had left generations of dogs that could not be cared for. All of these dogs would change her, but one would have such a profound affect that it would change the way she spends her time to this day.
After noticing these dogs and loving dogs so much, especially her two pups that were back home, Katie asked how she could help in a small way. Her local colleagues told her about a dog that they had been feeding during the week. They said they needed someone to bring the food on the weekends, and Katie volunteered. Katie had a friend drive her to the store to get some dog food, and on that Friday night, she headed to the spot outside camp the dog was supposed to be. Nothing. She didn’t see a dog, she didn’t know what to do. She waited. Just as she was about to walk away, she heard small paw steps on the upper level of the building. Tanzie came down, rolled on her back and politely asked for a belly rub from Katie.
she heard small paw steps on the upper level of the building. Tanzie came down
Katie’s life, whether she knew it yet or not, was changed forever.
Before she received her orders to Sarajevo, Katie was planning on finishing her active-duty service in the Air National Guard to start a family — but life had different plans for. Once she arrived in Bosnia, she had the normal feelings of being home sick in a foreign country away from her dogs and family. Tanzie quickly became part of her purpose there. She would sit with her in the morning and after work. She would feed her and play with her. Tanzie was a piece of home for her in that time away from the US, and Katie was most certainly a sense of home for Tanzie that she had not had in a very long time, if ever.
Katie didn’t really expect to be able to keep Tanzie, but as time went on, she found herself in tearful conversations with her husband, searching for a way to find a home for Tanzie. Katie’s husband, Walker, decided to fly over and take Tanzie back with him, under the premise of and finding a home for her in the US. After meeting Tanzie in person, it was unspoken that they would keep Tanzie as part of their own family!
Roughly four months remained before Katie could go home, and now Tanzie was gone. Katie took this as an opportunity to see what good she could bring to other dogs in the area that needed help.
She started a GoFundMe and raised $700 to buy 40 bags of dog food for the pups. This seemed like a million dollars at the time. This small fundraiser was the beginning of what is now The Tanzie Project, which has raised approximately $60K in the last year and a half!
Tanzie lives with Katie and her husband and two other dogs now but continues to change the lives of Bosnian dogs. All donations made to The Tanzie Project go to Animal Welfare programs and Animal Rescue programs that benefit Bosnia’s displaced dogs. These aid with vet bills, medications, shelter repairs and maintenance, and transport expenses that are all part of finding homes for these pups.
Through the process of creating and building The Tanzie Project, Katie was mentored by the wonderful people at Puppy Rescue Mission who are still partners of the organization. Dogs on Deployment also work closely with The Tanzie Project in a mission to make the world a better place for dogs and dog lovers! The future goals of Katie and the organization are to return to Bosnia very soon and also continue to grow strategic partnerships to have a bigger impact!
Want to be a part of this mission, go to TheTanzieProject.org
With the help of several other generous and gracious nonprofit organizations and wonderful volunteers, we have collectively rehomed forgotten Bosnian stray pets, both to the U.S. and other European countries. Here are a few:
Meggy – Austria
Chupko – Switzerland
Rex – Denmark