Leadership Team

We Adore Animals!

Our staff’s actions match these words and adhere to a strict code of conduct that values honesty, hard work and most of all kindhearted, affectionate care. Morris Animal Inn’s staff is trained through the highly respected educational program provided by the Outstanding Pet Care Learning Center (OPCLC). In fact, our full time staff averages over ten years of pet care experience. We are proud of five of our former employees who have achieved their goals and have become veterinarians. Congratulations Joe, Jane, Meghan, Laura and Paul!


The Morris Family

Walter Morris, CKO
 and Marianne Morris

Walter & Marianne Morris picture
Walter and Marianne acquired Walter’s father’s pet care business, Poodle Palace, Inc., in 1978. They have grown the operation into the internationally known Morris Animal Inn.

As charter members of the Pet Care Services Association, the Morris’s thoroughly understand the many issues that worry pet owners. Their constant presence at the Inn, combined with their utmost concern for our canine and feline guests, has earned them the strongest of reputations among clients, employees and peers.

Walter holds a degree in Economics from Villanova University. He co-owns, with daughter Joanne, Morris Pet Care Consulting LLC in Morristown, NJ.

When not working at their businesses, the Morris’s enjoy spending time with their seven grandchildren and their many grand dogs. Volunteer work for their church, their local fire company, and with Villanova consumes their remaining time.

Joanne Morris, CKO

Joanne Morris picture
Joanne Morris grew up working at Morris Animal Inn under her parents’ watchful eye (Walter and Marianne). She has witnessed the Inn’s growth from a small ‘mom and pop’ operation to the largest pet care employer in Northern New Jersey. Throughout her career, Joanne has worked to develop and improve the image of the pet care industry via a variety of pet care-related positions and professional endeavors. Joanne attended Susquehanna University and then owned and operated four highly successful Invisible Fencing dealerships over the course of fifteen years. In 2000, Joanne returned to Morris Animal Inn as Vice President to assist in its growth and development. She has had a hand in every aspect of the business, from caring for dogs and cats to assisting in the design of the expansion completed in 2008, and managing Human Resources and financial matters.

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Outstanding Pet Care Learning Center (OPCLC), Joanne is co-owner and co-founder of Morris Pet Care Consulting, LLC with her father, Walter. Joanne’s daughters, Emily and Ashley, and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Tori, and Lexi, a Great Pyrenees Mix are frequent visitors at the Inn.


Nancy Minoldi,
 Guest Services Director

Nancy joined Morris Animal Inn in 2010 as Guest Services Manager. With her upbeat attitude, Nancy strives to make you and your pet’s experience here as positive and rewarding as possible. For her, no challenge is too big!

Nancy received her B.S. from St. Joseph’s University in Business Management, her Professional Human Resources Certification, and previously worked in customer service in the retail industry. In addition, she received her Pet First Aid Certification from the Red Cross and her Pet Therapy Certification from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. Nancy has taught children how to safely handle and care for animals, and in 2010, she received St. Hubert’s Volunteer of the Year Award. In addition to her two cats, Millie and Sabrina, Nancy shares her home with Angie, an enthusiastic Standard American Eskimo dog and retired laboratory Beagle, Gracie.

Kristen Hedderich,
 Director of Pet Care Operations

Kristen Lewis joined Morris Animal Inn in 2012 as Lodging Manager. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Rutgers University and her Masters Degree in Business from Centenary College. Kristen’s responsibility is to oversee our Lodging department and to ensure that every pet’s stay with Morris Animal Inn is beyond expectation. She has previously worked in the animal care field and brings to us a passion for the health and well-being of all furry creatures.

Kristen is the proud owner of three beautiful rescue dogs; Daisy, a Flat-Coated Retriever Mix, Gracie, a Lab Mix and a recent addition to the family, Duke, a Dalmatian Pointer Mix. All three dogs are super sweet, love to give their paw, give tons of kisses, and even go hiking and swimming. Kristen also owns two horses, Gus and Dakota. She stays involved with rescue groups Noah’s Ark and OSCAR (One Step Closer Animal Rescue) because they “gave us our babies”. Kristen’s activities outside of Morris Animal Inn include horseback riding, physical fitness, hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, skiing and art.

Abbie Stuttard,
 Director of Daycare and Training

Since rescuing her first dog in 2001, a German Shepherd, Abbie has been committed to the goal of safe and positive dog socialization and training. This goal sparked her interest in learning more about the emotional behavior of dogs from puppyhood through the many stages of their lives.

Before re-joining Morris Animal Inn Abbie worked as Daycare Manager of Morris K9 Campus, where she was responsible for creating many programs which included a safe and fun off leash environment where training was incorporated into the daily routine of the many daycare dogs in her care. She worked one on one with a certified dog trainer to integrate training on-site that included a house training program and an intensive 30 day training program.

Abbie has taken many different training classes with her own dogs, German Shepherd Andrew, a Shepherd Mix Livvy and Dachshund Mix Wakely. Their collective achievements include certifying two as Canine Good Citizens and one as a Certified Pet Therapy Dog. Abbie has a keen interest in all dog activities and looks forward to starting her agility competition career.


Theresa Reilly, Recruiting & Human Resources Manager

After graduating from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management, Theresa started her management career in corporate restaurants before joining Morris Animal Inn as Lodging Manager in 2007 with the desire to bring her hospitality experience into the pet care world. She was thrilled to have the chance to return in 2021 as our Recruiting & Human Resource Manager! Her mission is to get the word out to fellow pet lovers so they are aware of the amazing career opportunities that we offer and to make sure that the staff and their experience at MAI are a priority!

What she loves most about working at MAI is the company vision and support of the Morris Family as well as being part of a hard-working, dedicated staff. Making sure that the comfort & safety of the pets in our care and the trust of our clients are the driving force in everything they do is a top priority. Of course, being around the most adorable cats and dogs all day is also a nice perk!

Theresa & her husband keep busy at home with their two rescue pets, a sweet Pitbull/Chihuahua mix named Cookie and a spicy torti cat named Willow, a coop full of chickens, and an ever-expanding vegetable garden.

Amy Letchford,
 Lodging and Wellness Manager

Amy Letchford joined Morris Animal Inn in 1992 part-time in the Activities department while attending Raritan Community College and Caldwell College. Once she graduated with a dual major in Elementary Education and Psychology, she started working full time in the Lodging department. She became the Lodging Supervisor and then stepped away for a few years returning to work part time on Sundays in the Activities department. Not too long after, Amy moved to the Lodging department as the Lodging Supervisor and is currently now the Lodging and Wellness Manager.

Why did Amy decide to work at Morris Animal Inn? She has always loved animals and fully connects with them. All the pet guests are her kids. She strives to create a happy and healthy environment for the fur babies. They can have their own vacation while their owners are away.

When Amy is away from her Morris Animal Inn family, she is with her own family... Her daughter, Amelia, Roxie her 90lb lab mix and her cat Spencer Reid. She is a very family-oriented person and loves spending time with all of them. They hike, go to the beach as much as possible, have family game nights.

Stefanie Austro, Guest Services Manager - Montville

Stefanie joined the Guest Services team at Morris Animal Inn in 2021. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Montclair State University, and a license in cosmetology. Stefanie has always worked in customer experience and spent many years as a General Manager. This, along with her positive attitude and passion for animals, made Morris Animal Inn a perfect fit for her!

As the Guest Services Manager, Stefanie has the best of both worlds by working directly with clients and their pets. Stefanie’s responsibility is to ensure everyone has a wonderful experience at Morris Animal Inn, and she takes pride in the quality of care our pet guests receive.

Stefanie’s furry family members include a Pitbull-Boxer mix named Lucy, and 7 rescued cats named Islander, Valentino, Gary, Hershey, Snowy, Oreo, and Reeces. In her spare time, Stefanie fosters animals, volunteers at a rescue, and is involved in several animal rights groups to support and educate others how to properly treat animals. Stefanie is also working towards becoming a yoga teacher!

Sarah Metzger, Grooming Manager

Sarah joined Morris Animal Inn in 2021 as a Stylist-in-training in the Grooming department. With her many skills and confidence, she quickly moved into the Grooming Manager role. Sarah is working to build more team members as Stylists. She enjoys sharing her knowledge, skills, and passion for grooming. She is all about being a family at work and strives to have staff know it is a fun place to work, that the team is supported and trusted.

Sarah attended North Jersey School of Dog Grooming to receive her grooming certification in 2014. She has experience at a few salons over the past 8 years of her career. When she is not at work, she usually can be found at home spending quality time with her fiancé, her cat Brodi and her dog Henry.

Michell Vargas-Ortiz, Pet Enrichment Manager

Prior to joining the Morris Animal Inn family, Michell interned at the Staten Island Zoo, where she first gained hands-on experience working with animals. In 2015, Michell began working as an Activities Counselor, working part-time at Morris Animal Inn while earning both her Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from Kean University.

Michell oversees the activities for pet guests, including cuddle sessions, swims, playtimes, and cardio sessions. She focuses on their emotional wellbeing, ensuring all pets feel like they’re at home while they’re at Morris Animal Inn.

She loves being a part of a company that takes pride in the quality of care for the animals and strives to make every day as special as possible for both staff and pets. Michell is happy to have been given the opportunity to grow and learn skills across different departments.

Michell stays active at home! She enjoys weightlifting at the gym and taking her Pitbull-Plott Hound mix, Dobby, on hikes where he can swim in any lake or pond he can find. Dobby also loves coming to Morris Animal Inn with Michell where he gets to see all of his friends!

Debora Montgomery, Marketing Manager

Debora joined Morris Animal Inn as Marketing Manager in July 2011. With a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Susquehanna University and Masters’ degree in Communications from William Paterson University, Debora’s mission is to focus on what services best meet the needs of dog and cat clientele and build strong customer relationships. Throughout her career, she has had several years experience as a Marketing Coordinator, Public Relations Manager and Communications Specialist.

Debora supports several animal shelters around the local area. Debora’s love for animals brought her to Morris Animal Inn.

Assistant Managers

Rachel Spina, Assistant Manager of Lodging and Wellness

Rachel joined the Morris Animal Inn (MAI) family in 2021 as the Assistant Lodging and Wellness Manager at the Montville location. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Ramapo College of New Jersey and is a certified Fear Free Pet Professional. Rachel is also certified in Pet CPR and First Aid. Before joining the Morris Animal Inn team, Rachel worked at a pet boarding facility and was an Assistant Manager of a pet supply store.

At MAI, Rachel combines her love of service with working directly with animals. Being the Assistant Manager in Montville allows Rachel to oversee the overall wellbeing of the pets that are lodging. She strives to not only ensure that each animal is enjoying their stay, but that they are thriving while at MAI. It is rewarding to know that the lives of our pet guests are being enriched while they are staying with us.

Rachel has a dog named Luna, a cat named Sirius, and a Ball Python named Minerva. The joy of having pets inspired her to immerse herself in the pet industry. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys writing and baking gluten free treats.

Lauren Malay - Daycare & Training Assistant Manager

Lauren Malay joined the Morris Animal Inn family in 2013 in the Lodging department as a summer job. She graduated from Drew University, earning her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Sustainability, and Cultural Anthropology. Lauren then went on to work in the Activities department, before ultimately joining the Daycare team. She continued her education at Catch Canine Trainers Academy and moved into the role as a dog trainer within the Daycare department.

What Lauren loves most about working at Morris Animal Inn is the deep bonds between the dogs and staff, which is a result of being a positive reinforcement only facility. She is proud to be part of a company that is always growing and learning to remain the best in the industry.

When Lauren is not at work, she loves to be in nature, specifically down the shore. She also enjoys experimenting with recipes and watching movies. Having always been a dog lover, Lauren has fostered many pets over the years and hopes to add a black lab to her family.

Lexi Paul- Assistant Manager of Lodging and Pet Wellness

Lexi joined the Morris Animal Inn team in 2010 in the Activities department. After gaining experience working in Activities, Lexi moved into the Daycare department. Lexi stepped away for a few years and was thrilled to return in 2021 as the Assistant Manager of Lodging and Pet Wellness. Lexi earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University. She is a Certified Free Professional, Pet CPR & First Aid Certified, and holds her Pesticide Operator license.

Lexi has always loved dogs and had a strong desire to work with them. She loves that at Morris Animal Inn, she is working alongside others who share the same passion as her: caring for the greatest cats and dogs around! Lexi strives to create an environment that is as home-like as possible to keep every guest happy and healthy.

Lexi has a Pomeranian/Papillon Mix named Brody, a Hound Mix named Taylor, and a kitty named Lily! In her free time, she participates in agility competitions with her dog Brody, and enjoys kayaking and spending time outdoors.

Request your reservation today!

We take special pride in our quality staff who have received their certifications!

  • Professional Pet Boarding Certification
  • Dog Gurus
  • Paragon School of Grooming

They demonstrate passion for animals in all that they do!