Dr. Jo Ann Morrison spills the beans

As Banfield’s director of veterinary science, Dr. Jo Ann Morrison analyzes medical data to discover new, evidence-based ways to provide outstanding care and help improve outcomes for our patients. Jo Ann came to Banfield after working for more than 20 years as a veterinarian and in academia. We asked her to tell us about her job, her hobbies, and what she might be doing for work if she weren’t a veterinarian. It was awesome.

What do you love about being a veterinarian?

It’s initially all about the animals, as I think it probably is for many veterinarians. To me, it was always the recognition of how good animals are at things like acceptance and unconditional love and being nonjudgmental—the things we should all aspire to. Later, when you get into the profession, you begin to understand that it is also a lot about the people who love pets, and the human-animal bond, which we’re always learning about.

When you care for animals, you have the information you can directly visualize or feel or see or smell, and you have the information you can get from the pet owner, which isn’t always accurate despite best intentions. Animals can’t tell you what’s wrong, but on the other side of the coin, they don’t just tell you what you want to hear. It’s a very honest interaction.

After doing mixed animal practice for some time, I went back to school to specialize in internal medicine. In that specialty, we’re often presented with a mystery, a puzzle, and you have to figure it out. Sometimes, you find something you hoped you wouldn’t find, and you have to have a hard conversation with your client. But other times, you find something really amazing, and really interesting, and you have a great outcome.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I grew up in a small town in Southern Indiana. We had sports in school, so I did a lot of that. Now, I really enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest because there’s downhill skiing in the winter, and it’s amazing—much better than in Indiana 😊. I also like to hike, and I’m a fairly big vegetable gardener.

What might you be doing if you weren’t a veterinarian?

I was one of those little kids who said “I’m going to be a veterinarian,” and I never strayed. I think some people are just hard-wired to do certain things, and I always felt I was hard-wired to be a veterinarian. A lot of things have to fall into place for that to happen, and luckily they did. I got the job experiences I needed, I got accepted to vet school, and I am still a veterinarian to this day, twenty-some years later.

If it hadn’t worked out, my “plan B” would probably have been something like FBI agent or a police detective. I like mysteries and puzzles and solving things.

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