CPRA Mission: Morris Animal Foundation (Denver)

As our #ResearchPride month draws to a close, I am excited to introduce our very first entry in a recurring segment to the CPRA blog. “CPRA Missions” shows what pride in our profession really means by highlighting the amazing causes our colleagues are dedicated to supporting.

To launch things off please enjoy the following blog by Rebecca Richman, Senior Research Specialist at the Morris Animal Foundation.


rebecca richman and princess

Rebecca Richman and Princess, a timber wolf at Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center. The Morris Animal Foundation has just funded research to re-evaluate distinct species of wolves and the results should be very interesting!

Our mission at Morris Animal Foundation is to create healthier lives for animals around the world. We fund science to help wildlife, companion animals, and horses. The foundation was established in 1948 by Dr. Mark L. Morris Sr., a veterinarian who cared deeply about animals and their well-being. He created the first nutritional food to help Buddy, one of the first guide dogs in the United States, who was diagnosed with kidney disease. This was the beginning of Dr. Morris’ pioneering work to create nutritional diets for animals. He eventually partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and used the royalties from this work to establish Morris Animal Foundation.

Fast forward to today, our Scientific Advisory Boards, comprised of the brightest minds around the world focused on animal health, meet three times a year to choose the best, most impactful studies for our available funding. We have invested more than $100 million toward 2,400 studies that have led to significant breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments, preventions, and cures to benefit animals around the world. Some of these breakthroughs have become industry gold standards and are used in every veterinary practice in the country. At any given time, the foundation is managing about 250 studies in the field and at the world’s most respected veterinary research institutions and universities, including Colorado State University.

Morris Animal Foundation is unique in that we’re the best resource, and often times the only resource, for funding research that focuses solely on benefiting animals. Some of this research does have an eventual impact on human health, but our focus is on helping animals. In addition to the 250-on-average studies we’re managing, our work is focused on five key initiatives: Healthy Animals, Future Scientists, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Osteosarcoma, and the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is the largest observational study ever conducted in the United States to benefit dogs everywhere.

I’m a nature lover so our wildlife research is very important for me personally. We’ve helped many species come back from the brink of extinction, including cheetahs, black rhinos and elephants to name just a few. We also help researchers respond to wildlife emergencies around the world. Recently we provided emergency funding that helped scientists identify malnutrition in stranded California sea lion pups. The veterinarians developed treatments and supportive care plans that increased survival of the pups so they could be successfully returned to the wild after rehabilitation. Another favorite study is focused on finding a cure for white-nosed syndrome in bats, a deadly disease impacting multiple species and thousands of bats around the country. These oftentimes underappreciated creatures help pollinate not only native plants, but our food crops as well. Bats also keep insect populations under control. They’re very beneficial little critters!

I enjoy working for Morris Animal Foundation not only because of the amazing work that we do and because we’re the only source of funding for some incredibly important research for animals, but also because the people here are awesome. Their passion fuels everything we do. From the donors and staff to the trustees and scientists, we all love animals and we believe animals make the world a better place. I’m very excited because as the foundation continues to grow, we’ll be able to fund even more studies and help even more animals everywhere!


If you are interested in learning more about the Morris Animal Foundation, you can check out their website here: http://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/

Also, any members who are excited to show some #ResearchPride and brag up their organization in an upcoming “CPRA Missions” post, please contact Colleen Reese at creese11@uwyo.edu or 307-766-3921.



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