Morris Animal Foundation honors Zinnie’s legacy through partnership to advance canine IBD research


Pet parents of a late Aussie who suffered from this disease collaborated with the foundation to give meaning to the untimely loss of their best friend

Megan and Jack Czerwinski brought home their beloved Australian shepherd, Zinnie, in 2019. They shared that Zinnie was a “loveable, goofy, and gentle Aussie with an old soul and a playful demeanor,” in an organizational release.1 However, their pup suffered from canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for his entire life, dying from complications of this disease at only 3 years old in May 2022.

Photo courtesy of Morris Animal Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Morris Animal Foundation.

This tragic event is what empowered the Czerwinskis to partner with the Morris Animal Foundation on a new fundraising initiative striving to raise $75,000 to accelerate the study of canine IBD.

“This was a very difficult journey to take together,” the Czerwinskis expressed in a statement.1 “But we wouldn't trade our time with Zinnie and know how blessed we are to have had even a few years with him. With this study, we know that Zinnie's impact won't end with his life and will extend far beyond just the people and pups who knew him.”

IBD is a common cause of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in dogs and consists of characteristic inflammatory cells within the GI tract, once other causes of intestinal inflammation have been excluded. The inflammation damages the lining of the digestive tract which prevents food from being properly digested. Though causes of IBD are not fully understood by veterinarians, several factors may play a part, including overreaction to bacteria in the bowel or to food antigens, and genetics.1

Patient outcomes vary, though for many patients suffering from this disease, it is a manageable life-long condition. Some patients, like Zinnie, do not respond well to treatment and their health continues to decline.

Learn more or contribute to the cause here:


Zinnie’s legacy — Morris Animal Foundation partners to raise funds for canine inflammatory bowel disease. News release. October 4, 2022. Accessed October 5, 2022.

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