Nikki Moustaki is a writer and a Pawer Woman: She runs several blogs, including a “postcards for pet food” charity site, www.petpostcardproject.com, and a new pet product review blog, Nikki Knows Pets. She can also be found at Nikki Moustaki.com. As a dog trainer and pet expert, she also writes and consults for pet product companies for a living. She also works outside the pet industry with media and companies.
I’ve been a fan of hers forever, so being able to include Nikki as one of the 2012 Fidose of Reality Pawer Women is a great thrill.
Nikki wears many hats. “I used to train birds and do bird behavior consulting, then I moved on to training dogs full-time, and now I train dogs pro-bono for tough cases where a dog may end up in the shelter,” the busy writer shares. “I write for many pet related magazines for both the trade and the consumer sides, including Pet Product News and Dog Fancy. I also write a blog for DogChannel.com.”
Throughout this series, we’ve been getting questions from fans and followers as to how they can engage in the same type of career(s) as our Pawer Women. For Nikki, she says pet people are passionate, so she believes you need to have that passion to move forward.” We here at Fidose of Reality can attest to that!
Her roots are grounded in animals. At 15 years old, Nikki worked in a grooming salon washing dogs for $2.75 an hour. It was that experience that started her on the path of learning about grooming products and a variety of dog breeds and medical conditions. She was hired at age 17 to work in a large pet store as the “fish girl,” where she cared for over 100 fish.
“At 18, I acquired my first baby lovebird, which set me on a path to a bird hobby, breeding and hand feeding thousands of baby birds. At the height of my bird keeping, I had over 120 birds in a variety of species,” she says. “At 21, I went to work as manager of a bird store, then moved on to work for an independent pet retailer, where I learned everything about the pet products they sold. At 23, I stopped breeding birds and started rescuing them instead, taking in unwanted birds and finding them homes. I joined several bird clubs and started writing for Bird Talk magazine. I began training birds, and would go on many years later to be the bird handler for the Tony Danza show (2006).”
At this stage of her life, Nikki had five cats, many bird species, a variety of aquatic turtles, tortises in several species, snakes, salamanders, hermit crabs (loads of them!), hamsters, gerbils, rats (furry and hairless), mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and even a turkey. I had also grown up with Dobermans and a Pomeranian.
Fast forward to today, and having written books on birds along with several books in the Animal Planet pet care series, Nikki says “I am also a survivor of Lyme Disease and work to help spread the message of tick prevention and safety for both dogs and humans. I still struggle with that illness today”
Her ailment does not hold this dynamo back, as when she is passionate about something, she says she pulls “stunts” to get the media’s attention.
“In 2008, I pledged to eat dog food every day on YouTube to help bring attention to an anti-cruelty law in Ohio called Nitro’s Law. It worked — I got on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Howard Stern, 6 other radio shows, and even Spanish and Greek television. Sometimes you have to stick your neck out there and do something wacky to make a difference,” Nikki shares.
As of this date, Nitro’s Law passed the House of Representatives and is moving on to the Senate. Nikki believes that the media attention helped this law to move forward. Hopefully it will eventually pass the senate – she says she does not want to go back to eating dog food!
Did you miss any of our Paw-er Women series so far?