Despite the fact that she completed Macomb’s Veterinary Assistant program just last June, animals who find themselves under Cherie Noullet’s watch at Macomb Veterinary Associates in Utica are in the hands of a veteran caregiver.
“My husband Chris and I owned an animal boarding and grooming facility in Troy for 20 years,” says Noullet. “He never had a pet until he met me in college. I grew up with (them) and also picked up any stray within a 20-mile radius of our home.”
For Noullet, home was in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. She met Chris at the University of New Orleans, where she was a competitive volleyball player (and still is) and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education. The Noullets relocated to Michigan when Chris was hired as an engineer at General Motors. They moved her mother to Michigan just nine months before Katrina hit and the floodwaters reached the roofs of the houses in Noullet’s old neighborhood.
“My friends and neighbors lost everything, but New Orleans has come back strong. It is a great place to live or visit,” says Noullet, who has only an occasional accent, but a continued longing for the Creole and Cajun cuisine of her hometown. “We miss the food. If I had stayed in New Orleans, I would be much heavier.”
Noullet was among the first graduates of Macomb Veterinary Assistant program, which debuted in 2019. That year, the Noullets had sold their boarding kennel and moved to the country. When the Workforce and Continuing Education Schedule of Classes arrived in the mail, Noullet knew that she had found the next chapter of her life.
“The registration process was easy and the campus was very nice and welcoming. The teachers were all great and really cared about how you did in their classes,” says Noullet. “I completed the program and national exam last June and now have the title of Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA).”
Noullet’s internship was with Veterinary Associates, which offered her a permanent position after she graduated. Not surprisingly, she said “Yes!”
“Our clinic sees cats, dogs and rabbits. I like knowing that we are helping them, even if sometimes helping them means that we end their suffering,” says Noullet, shown in the photo with the clinic’s top cat, Miguel. “Nothing makes you happier than caring for a pet and see them get 10 times better, health-wise, because of our treatment. The workers and veterinarians at our clinic are very nice and very dedicated. It’s a hard job, but I love it.”
And when she comes home to her house in the country, Skeeter, Dexter (found roaming the streets of Detroit), C.J. and Missy are waiting for her. A beagle and three cats, respectively, all were adopted from rescue organizations, one of which the Noullets donated space to when they owned the boarding kennel.
“All are spayed or neutered,” notes the responsible pet “mother,” “and we love them all.”