Dr. Mark Morris Sr.
Born in 1901, Dr. Morris was a visionary in the area of clinical nutrition. He believed nutrition could be used to improve the lives of pets with certain health conditions. At a time when most veterinary work revolved around farm animals, he cared for companion animals and their owners, opening Raritan Hospital for Animals in Edison, New Jersey, in 1928. At this time, this was only the second exclusively small animal hospital in the United States.
Dr. Morris had new ideas for the management of diseases in companion animals. He worked with Dr. Jim Allison at Rutgers University's biochemistry department to develop techniques for diagnosing diseases in small animals. His ideas were new and not always well received, but Dr. Morris soon established himself as an expert in pet food.
After he joined with the Hill Packing Company in Topeka, Kansas, to can his pet foods, Dr. Morris established a charity for small animals. The Morris Animal Foundation continues to provide funding for small animal research, wildlife research and funding for veterinary student scholarships. Today it's the largest nonprofit foundation in the world for companion animal and wildlife health studies, with funds approaching $50 million since its founding in 1948.
Throughout his life, Dr. Morris was active in the small animal arena. He was the first president of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). He also led a committee to establish nutritional standards for pet foods, and these efforts later formed the basis used today be the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Dr. Morris died in 1993 at the age of 92.