Suthers, Marie

Portrait of Marie Suthers

Professor - Anthrozoology

Department Chair

Dr. Marie Suthers has more than 25 years of experience in veterinary practice, academic and community education, and the study of human-animal interaction. She is a well-known national and international speaker on the relationship between people and animals including the impact of human-animal interaction on specific human populations and the well-being of animals employed in therapeutic interventions for humans.

Prior to joining the Anthrozoology Program at Carroll College in 2012, Dr. Suthers served as Vice President of Human-Animal Interactions for the American Humane Association. In that capacity she oversaw the research, development and creation of programs and materials, including publications, classroom lesson plans and workshops on Humane Education, Animal-Assisted Therapy and The Link. She also worked with the veterinary community to support mutual efforts to promote public health, animal welfare and well-being. Previously, Dr. Suthers was the Director of Community Education for Heifer International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to relieving global hunger and poverty. Her responsibilities included directing the development, implementation and evaluation of community education initiatives, education partnerships and teacher training initiatives. Prior to that, she developed and directed the Center for Animal-Human Relationships at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, where her focus involved human well-being as it relates to interaction with companion animals. Prior to that, she was a professor and, subsequently, program director of veterinary technology at Columbus State Community College in Ohio, where she managed the veterinary technology program comprising seven faculty members and 200 students, and incorporated advancements in the field of veterinary medicine into the curriculum. 

Dr. Suthers is former-President of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians and served on the board of directors of the International Society for Anthrozoology, the Association for Veterinary Family Practice and the Animal Related Careers Consortium. She served as a Veterinary Medical Officer with the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team–2 of the National Disaster Medical System at the World Trade Center disaster. She received the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award in 2005 and the Distinguished Virginia Veterinarian Award in 2006. She received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from The Ohio State University in 1982.

Dr. Suthers has a son, Benjamin, and the rest of the family includes 2 horses, Buttercup and Scarlet; a Standard Poodle, Sunny; a barn cat turned house cat, Grandpa; and 2 parakeets.

When people ask me where I am from, I say Earth. I have lived in Michigan, Brazil (3rd- 5th grade, my Dad was a missionary for Church World Service), New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Arkansas, and now my home is Montana. I serve as Professor and Department Chair of Anthrozoology.
For over thirty years I have enjoyed a career in veterinary medicine (Ohio State ‘82), from private practice to academia, the nonprofit sector, and back to academia. I have been integral to the field of Anthrozoology for most of my career. In the early 90’s while running a veterinary technology program at Columbus State Community College in Ohio, I developed and delivered an Animal-Assisted Education Certificate Program, one of the first of its kind. Publications included a book and leaders guide, 4-H PetPALS: People and Animals Linking Successfully. From there I was hired by Virginia Tech to develop and direct the Center for Human Animal Relationships at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. In that capacity, I served in leadership roles in the field including President of the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians, Board of Directors of the International Society for Anthrozoology, and Board of Directors of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association. I served the country as a Veterinary Medical Officer for the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team of the National Disaster Medical System at the World Trade Center disaster caring for the search and rescue dogs. In 2005, I was awarded the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year from the American Veterinary Medical Association and in 2006 the Commonwealth of Virginia Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year.
Following Virginia Tech, I decided to try nonprofit work and served as the Director of Community Education for Heifer International. In that capacity, I led Anthrozoology study tours to India, Honduras, Albania and Ukraine. I was then recruited by American Humane Association as a Vice President to develop and direct a brand new Human-Animal Interaction Division to bridge the existing Animal Protection and Child Protection Divisions. Missing my true love, teaching undergraduate students, I came to Carroll College in 2012. Here I teach all the equine classes as well as the freshman series, Canine Science, and the senior capstone course, Animal Welfare. In addition, I lead a group of 15 students on a study abroad to South Africa to examine human-wildlife conflict and conservation.
My goal for the department is to expand the course offerings to keep up with the rapidly growing field of Anthrozoology. Former published research includes “Evaluation of Stress Response of Horses in Equine-Assisted Therapy Programs” and “The Role of Handler Personality Traits in Performance of Canine Explosives Detection Teams.” My current research interest is “Horses, Social Participation and Human Aging-in-Place.” The objective of my proposed study is to assess whether horse ownership contributes to social participation and life satisfaction in older adults.
I live with four horses, two Standard Poodles (who you may have seen on campus), a cat, three hens, and two parakeets. My son, Benjamin, is a freshman at Carroll. In addition to horsing around, I enjoy kayaking, yoga, dance, reading novels, outdoor music, messing around with art, and hanging out with friends. My personal goal is to ride off into the sunset.