Putney, Nicole Christine DVM, of London, England, formerly of Davison, Michigan, died unexpectedly on May 29, 2015. Memorial Services will be announced soon. Friends are asked to send via the funeral home's website (www.hillfh.com
) a written favorite memory of Nicole to share at the memorial. Donations in Nicole's memory may be made to The Humane Society of the United States (www.humanesociety.org
) or Dumb Friends League (www.ddfl.org
) She was born at Hurley Hospital on October 4, 1982. As a newborn, she was called a "fighter" by the nurses in the NICU. She graduated with high honors from Davison High School, and was on the Dean's Lists of Oakland University and later at the University of Washington-Seattle, graduating with a B.S. in Biology in 2005. She was admitted to the Veterinary College of Washington State University in Pullman, where she received the Thinking Outside the Box award, among other awards and scholarships, graduating in 2009. Nicole was the leader of a group of vet students who changed the policy of euthanizing "colony dogs" taken from shelters by the school for anesthesia practice by the students. Now the dogs are neutered by students and sent back to shelters for adoption. It was a long, hard fight with school professors and officials, but Nicole and her small group worked tirelessly in conjunction with the National Humane Society's Veterinary division and a chapter was established there and policies changed. In 2009, in Washington D.C. she received the "National Vet Student of the Year" award for her animal rights activism, at the National Humane Society's annual conference there. In the summer of 2009, the then just-established Cornell Veterinary Shelter Program selected Nicole for a year's internship in Ithaca, New York., which she completed in 2010. Nicole published articles on veterinary topics, did volunteer veterinary work on Indian reservations for several summers, traveled to Costa Rica on a veterinary mission, and in the course of her training, visited several animals shelters in the eastern and southern United States. She was diligent and uncompromising in her work, always prepared and organized. She also testified several times in Court on animal abuse cases; she relished prosecuting abusers. In Oregon it is a felony charge, and she thought it should be in every state. After her internship at Cornell, she took a position as a full-time shelter vet in Portland, Oregon, handling business affairs as well as working 10 to 12 hours a day performing surgeries and making difficult decisions. Later, she moved on to full-time work in a shelter in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was in Colorado that she was reunited with Simon Mueller, a former Davison High School exchange student, someone she had kept in touch with for 17 years. They married in Paris, the site of Simon's work for the International Energy Agency. In London, she was hired by the Royal Veterinary College to set up and oversee a shelter medicine program there. She had been looking forward to her position and had a gift for teaching, because of her passion for humane and proper procedures in animal shelters. Nicole was attending a veterinary conference in Manchester, England, when she passed away. Left to treasure all the good times, her laughter and wit, her love of animals, and her leadership and courage, are her husband, Simon Mueller, and his family in Berlin and Switzerland; her parents, Alton and Christina Putney of Davison; brother, Evan of Burton; her paternal grandparents, Larry and Nancy Czap; many aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends, and her loving pets, Smokey the pug, Boris the cat, and especially Olive, a wonderful colony dog she saved from euthanasia at her veterinary college. It is the family's hope that her life's work will continue to inspire those who are interested in veterinary medicine and the compassionate care of animals, especially those abused animals in need of an advocate. Arrangements by Hill Funeral Home, 11723 S. Saginaw St., Grand Blanc, MI
Published by Flint Journal from Jun. 6 to Jun. 7, 2015.