Humanitarian award named for Bowie, Heath

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Dr. Walter C. BowieThe Alabama VMA has created an award to honor individuals who have been extraordinary in their care for and service to animals and people. The Bowie-Heath Humanitarian Award is named for two Alabama veterinarians who influenced hundreds of students, veterinarians, and laypeople; contributed countless hours of work; and were dedicated to the veterinary profession. The enduring quality of their work was built by fostering the human-animal bond for the mutual benefit of humans and other animals.

Dr. Walter C. Bowie (KSU '47) was instrumental in creating Tuskegee University's Center for the Study of Human-Animal Interdependent Relationships. He was dean of Tuskegee's School of Veterinary Medicine from 1972-1990. Dean Emeritus Bowie is known as a dedicated professor, researcher, administrator, consultant, innovator, and humanitarian.

The late Dr. M.K. Heath (AUB '19) spent many years in practice in Birmingham, Ala., before returning to the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine to teach. Dr. Heath was the Alabama VMA's executive secretary and delegate to the AVMA for many years. Even though he died in 1982, the ALVMA said he remains one of Auburn's most admired professors.

Four recipients from the Huntsville, Ala., area were honored with the first Bowie-Heath awards in late January during the ALVMA Animal Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Nina Beal began The Ark to find homes for pets and has taught some 25,000 children responsible pet care. Nancy Pett has worked tirelessly to teach young and old how to care for and appreciate animals. Connie Gates and Mimi Bynum established Therapy Partners Inc., whose pet therapy teams have benefited some 50,000 human patients.