Nicholas Cross, a 2004 graduate of Desert Vista High School, always dreamed of being a veterinarian since early childhood.

He decided to pursue his undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University where he graduated summa cum laude in 2008 with a degree in animal-dairy-poultry science. He then entered the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine as part of the Class of 2012. Over the past several years, Cross has had the opportunity to experience many aspects of caring for animals, both small and large. This included volunteering at the Phoenix Zoo, working on a dairy farm, caring for lost and injured animals in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and assisting with medical exams of pelicans during the BP oil spill in the gulf last summer. He also had the privilege of working under the supervision of Drs. Baumler and McKenzie in Ahwatukee at Foothills Animal Hospital.

Now in his third year of veterinary school at LSU, Cross has been given a unique assignment. He was chosen to be one of two caretakers for the school mascot, "Mike the Tiger," a 450-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger. This is a two-year commitment that involves the day-to-day care of the tiger. Some of Cross' responsibilities include feeding, keeping Mike's enclosure clean and secure, administering vaccines when needed, and transporting Mike to and from home football games.

Cross will be graduating in May of 2012 and looks forward to working in the profession he loves.

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