KATIE & WALKER WARD
PRESIDENT & VICE PRESIDENT
Katie and Walker met and married in Wichita, Kansas, in 2009. Katie is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, and Walker from Uvalde, Texas. Katie’s love for dogs first started with the stray puppy she adopted while in high school, Benji.
Not being able to take Benji with her as she attended the University of Virginia, after graduating in 2008, she moved to Wichita and brought Benji after she and Walker were married. At first, Walker wasn’t too keen on having a “sleep-in-the-bed” dog, but Katie is very persuasive…and Benji was sleeping comfortably in between them his first night there. The two also adopted a little stray puppy in Wichita in 2011. Of course, Bella also became a “sleep-in-the-bed” dog too!
Katie became aware of the stray dogs in Bosnia after temporarily living in Sarajevo. It would break her heart every day to see so many dogs roaming the streets, hungry, ignored, and often abused. She wanted to try to help the situation while she was there, what little she could do. Her colleagues told her about a stray dog that they would feed during the week. No one was there to feed the dog on the weekend, so Katie decided to change that.
So on a cold November Friday night, she brought dog food to the place where the dog would normally hang around. After calling for the dog for a few minutes, Katie was about to leave until she heard the pitter patter of puppy feet on the upper level - then around the corner came a blonde brindle dog, tail wagging as she slowly crawled down the stairs. Then she rolled over and tucked her paws into her chest - a clear invitation for a belly rub. Katie fell in love right then and there.
After several tearful phone calls back to Walker in Virginia, the two decided to bring that stray dog, Tanzie, to the USA, to "find a home for her." They both knew deep down, it was going to be with them.
While still in Sarajevo, Katie also had the help of a US-based animal welfare nonprofit to send 9 Bosnian street dogs to forever homes the USA! After that, she knew she had to do more once she arrived home. After a few discussions with one another (pretty sure wine was involved), Katie and Walker decided to take a leap of faith and make this effort official. They turned what was just a Facebook page to help buy food for Bosnia's strays into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, "The Tanzie Project," with the goal of finding homes for as many forgotten, mistreated street dogs as possible.
After serving as a military police officer in the United States Air Force for 8 years, Walker now works as an armor at a local gun shop, continuing his passion for firearms. Katie is a professional photojournalist, and spends most of her off-time helping Tanzie save more of the fur friends she left behind, and manage her Facebook page (not having thumbs makes typing difficult)...
Will you help us #savebosnianstrays?