Hello and seeking guidance

Hello Basenji Community,

I was a clinical social worker. In 2008, after spending a year in the war zone of Uganda, I traveled to the tropical island of Zanzibar for a holiday. Imagine my surprise when I followed the distinctive sound of a yodel and found a one pound, four week old Bisenji puppy in the garbage.

Three years later and Zanzi (named after Zanzibar) are companions in the best of ways.

However, upon my return I began to experience some symptoms of dementia (though I am in my thirties) due to sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from sexual assualt. The injury triggered a seizure disorder that has "addled" my brain. I have recently ceased being able to practice as a psychotherapist. I am living in a special housing program through an an agency for people with severe disabilities. My income is now $1000/month.

A few months ago Zanzi was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the result of the many bacteria and parasites she had when I rescued her. Her prescription dog food is over $200/month, all the money I have left for my own groceries after rent and bills. I am currently living off food from the food bank to pay for her dog food.

Does anyone know of a non-profit that might help cover the cost of her food for six months? I am hoping by then, with the help of medications and occupational therapy, that the fall-out from the seizures and TBI will be improved and I will be back on my feet.

Any guidance or assistance would be deeply appreciated.
Our Best,
Elle and Zanzi!

can you send me a photo of this dog?

I don't know of an organization, but I wanted to extend my sincere hope that you are able to get the aide you need for this difficult time period.

wow, what a devastating story. i'm sorry that i can't think of any organizations off-hand that could help, but i truly hope you are able to heal and get through this tough time.

You and Zanzi have both been through a lot, hopefully both will improve with help. I don't know of any organizations, but I would think you could cook for her for less than $200/month. Many dogs get home cooked meals, cook a weeks (or 2) supply and freeze in portions to thaw every day. Just something to consider.

Hi Elle and Zanzi - I am happy that you found the Basenji Forums. Welcome. We do have members from Colorado that may be able to point you in the right direction. I'm sorry for your health challenges, but I commend you wholeheartedly for persevering and keeping your Zanzi. You might want to check out "Favourite Recipes" on this forum.

I am very sorry to hear about all you have gone through.

The other members are right, you can prepare the food at home cheaply. Perhaps some local folks might help out with a day of "dog food prep" so you can do a few weeks at a time.

Another option is to contact the dog food company, WITH DOCUMENTATIONS of your situation. Many may be willing to do a good will aid to help by providing the food free or at minimal cost. I just can't wrap my head around any prescription food costing $200 a month for one dog. What food do they have him on?

Where in colorado are you?
I know of this place:

Otherwise, like others, i'd think you could cook for less than $200 a month. You can usually find a good natural care book for pets that has recipes. (I like Pitcairn's book and it is in the ppld.org system)

If that figure includes drugs, ask about getting them from an online source (like 1800petmeds). Sometimes your vet will offer to match the price.

What prescription food are you feeding? Is it dry or canned or both? My boy is on Iams Intestinal Prescription dry and canned for an esophagus motility problem and it is no where near $200 a month. He has been on it for a number of years.


Elle, you still here with us? Thinking of you and Zanzi.

Dear All who responded,

Many thanks for the helpful and supportive responses. I do not have internet or a computer so am limited to when I am able to get to the library. I want so much to attach a pic of Zanzi, but am not having success.

When she was first diagnosed with IBS she was on Purina's canned food, "en." She still was having mild diahrea. Recently I tried Sciene Diet's "id" with much greater success. She eats a can a.m. and p.m. and each can is about $2.20. In addition I supplement with i.d. kibble. She and I run about five miles a day, so even with all that food she is extremely lean.

She also is given pro-pectalin and suflazalazine (spelling?) 2x a day which is another $50 a month.

I am going to try the suggestions given here, to see about short term assistance in her RX food being funded. We've done the homemade food, but it doesn't prevent the runs. There's something about the RX food (someone told me it is "enteric" or prepared in a way that it doesn't start to digest until it's in the colon on something, this is me with my TBI trying to sound "smart").

I will write again when I have news about possible funding success. And if anyone felt comfortable giving their private email I could send a picture of Zanzi and maybe that person knows how to post to all. She is a bisenji, and I think she might have a little African Dingo in her too.

Many many thanks for the supportive responses,
Elle and Zanzibar

sulfasalizne 500mg, 100 pills is $26.99 on pet meds. don't know how that compares to what you're paying now. Sometimes with meds, you can also get a higher dose and split the pill, but the pills should be scored in order to do this. Often that will be cheaper.

Otherwise, if you can, I'd feed more kibble and less canned. Generally the canned is more expensive.

I think perhaps you should email a dog nutritionist on how to feed her home prepared food.. surely not everything would make her have loose stools, perhaps it's about getting the balance right ? have you contacted the Basenji club in Colorado for more support ?

That is a great video. Thanks for sharing.

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