Nikki Knows Pets is a pet product review blog by national award winning author Nikki Moustaki. She has worked in the pet industry since 1998, traveling to pet trade shows and consulting with pet product companies on their product development, branding, positioning, marketing outreach, video and written content creation, and social media.
This blog is intended to help consumers intelligently purchase pet products for their furry, feathered, and fishy friends.
Nikki has worked with Purina, Canyon Creek Ranch, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition (makers of Rachel Ray Nutrish and other pet food brands), Wigzi toys, Lafeber Company, Wahl Pet, Alen Air, Home Again ID (Schering Plough), Spectrum Brands, Critter Zone, and Tick-SR, among others.
Her charity site, The Pet Postcard Project, has raised thousands of pounds of pet food for shelter animals from generous pet food sponsors: Halo, Rachel Ray Nutrish, Royal Canin, and Lucky Dog Cuisine. The project has also raised thousands of dollars of toys from Planet Dog and Wigzi.
With more than a half a million pet books in print and hundreds of articles on pets and their care and training to her credit, Nikki Moustaki is considered one of the country's leading pet experts. She also is an award winning freelance writer, animal trainer, and pet industry expert, and her tireless work feeding shelter pets with her innovative website, The Pet Postcard Project, along with her hands-on rescue efforts and vocal advocacy for homeless animals has led her to be dubbed "Saint Nik."
Nikki Moustaki is also considered an "Urban Dog Guru," specializing in training city dogs for their particular needs. She has published more than 45 books of nonfiction, primarily on the care and training of pets. Her pet books and articles have been translated into 5 languages. Along with working as a dog trainer, Nikki is one of the country's foremost experts on parrots, having authored more than 24 books on birds and their care and training. Her expertise in pets ranges from dogs and cats to fish and hermit crabs, and everything else in between.
An energetic, lively and personable TV and radio guest, Nikki currently hosts a pet-related cable show on The Beach Channel in Miami Beach, and she hosted, co-produced, and co-wrote the national NBC/MSN show, The Celebrity Pet Dish, with her Miniature Schnauzer, Pepper, as her co-host. Nikki has appeared on CNN, Howard Stern (XM Sirius Radio), NBC News, ABC News, Inside Edition, South Florida Live, Inside South Florida, FOX News, CBS News, Martha Stewart Radio, BBC Radio, Animal Radio, Pet Talk Radio, Dog Cast Radio, Bloomdaddy Radio, and Talkin' Pets Radio, among others, and was the animal handler for the second season of the Tony Danza Show, where she often appeared on-air along with her parrot and dog.
Nikki has also been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, Glamour Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, The Humane Society Magazine, and Dog Fancy, among others. She is also a regularly featured expert trainer on video on TeddyHilton.com and writes a weekly blog for DogChannel.com called MUTTerings.
A self-professed "pet product geek," Nikki also enjoys working as a consultant for pet product manufacturers, helping them brand, position, and develop their products and succeed in social media. She has worked on projects ranging from microchips to dog toys to pet food research and development. Her many years of expertise with pet products at both the consumer and the trade level give her unique insight, and she is able to communicate about pets and pet products in any medium.
Nikki's two primary interests – writing and animals – collide in her work, allowing her to travel through both the landscape of the literary writer and the interesting world of the pet industry. She writes feature articles for many pet-related magazines, including Dog Fancy, Popular Dogs, Dogs USA, CATS Magazine, Cat Fancy, Pet Product News, Bird Talk, Birds USA, and Water Garden News, among others. Nikki has written for Latina Magazine, the Village Voice, Jane, Time To Spa Magazine, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Magazine.
Her popular websites include The Pet Postcard Project, a fun and charitable site that raises awareness, food, and funds for shelter animals, and has raised over 205,320,000 pieces of kibble for shelter pets. The site has no advertising - all of her efforts are to help feed the homeless pets. Her Pepper in Paris website attracts visitors from all over the world to read Pepper’s own blog of his trip through Europe, and her pet product review blog, Nikki Knows Pets, draws consumers from all over the nation.
Nikki holds an M.A. in creative writing from New York University, an M.F.A. in creative writing from Indiana University, and an M.F.A. in creative writing from NYU. She taught creative writing at several universities for 10 years, including both NYU and IU, as well as at The New School in New York City.
She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in poetry, and has been awarded many national prizes and honors for her writing, including two Pushcart Press nominations, and her poetry and essays have also appeared in various anthologies and college textbooks, including Poetry After 9-11: An Anthology of New York Poets, and America Now, chosen by Robert Atwan, editor of the Best American Essays series.
Before beginning her career as a freelance writer and editor, Nikki worked as an acquisitions and development editor at Macmillan Publishing and IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., where she specialized in the non-fiction market and edited more than 60 non-fiction titles. Nikki splits her time between New York City and Miami Beach with her two rescued Schnauzers, Pepper and Zoey, one rescued Schnoodle named Pearl, and two parrots. When she’s not writing, you can find Nikki rocking out on the drums, teaching herself 80s metal on her Gibson guitar, rescuing dogs from the shelter, and working on her various charity projects.
Nikki's love of animals began very early. She had many animals growing up, including cats, dogs, and birds, and then started riding horses hunter/jumper style at 8 years old, spending many days in the barn with the horses, ponies, goats, and chickens, caring for these animals from dawn until dusk.
Her first job at 15 years old was in a grooming salon, washing dogs for $2.75 an hour, where she became knowledgable about grooming products. At 17, she was hired to work in a large pet store (which would eventually became a huge chain) as the "fish girl." Her job was to care for over 100 fish tanks, both fresh and salt water, and to help customers purchase and stock tanks. She started a fish hobby with 7 large tanks (salt and fresh) of her own, joined a fish club, and then started her own fish tank servicing business.
At 18, Nikki acquired her first baby lovebird, which set her on a path to a bird hobby, breeding and handfeeding thousands of baby birds. At the height of her bird keeping, she had over 120 birds in a variety of species. At 21, she went to work as manager of a bird store, then moved on to work for an independent pet retailer, where she learned everything about the pet products they sold. When she was 23, she stopped breeding birds and started rescuing them instead, taking in unwanted birds and finding them homes. She joined a bird club and started writing for Bird Talk magazine. She began training birds, and would go on years later to be the bird handler for the Tony Danza show (2005-2006).
By this time, Nikki had kept 5 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. She had also grown up with Dobermans and a Pomeranian. Animals were her siblings and friends.
When Nikki was 28, she adopted her first shelter dog, Pepper. She started using bird training methods on him, and when that didn't work, she set about to learn everything she could about dogs and dog training. She apprenticed with a dog trainer for a few months, and then started training her friends' and neighbors' dogs, experimenting with a variety of methods. After a few years, she started a successful dog training business in NYC and began writing for magazines such as Dog Fancy, Popular Dogs, and Dogs USA.
In 2001, Nikki began writing books on birds, including Parrots for Dummies and several books in the Animal Planet pet care series. A few years later, she began writing books about the care and training dogs as well. In 2005, she volunteered at the ASPCA's behavior center, learning the appropriate positive reinforvement methods to train aggressive dogs.
In 2002, Nikki rescued a second shelter dog, Ozzie; in 2004 she pulled a stray mutt off the street, named her Lulu Belle, and kept her; in 2009 and 2010 Nikki adopted two more dogs, Pearl and Zoey, a mutt and a white Schnauzer, and in late 2012, adopted an apricot Poodle named Jazzy. She started working hands-on in dog and cat rescue in 2007, volunteering at a shelter and pulling dogs for a Schnauzer rescue. She currently fosters shetler dogs and helps them find the right homes. She also trains aggressive dogs pro-bono so that they don't end up inthe shelter system.
Today, along with her writing, Nikki consults with pet product companies on both their product research and development and their marketing strategies. She is an important link between their business and the consumer. She is also a survivor of Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease and works to help spread the message of tick prevention and safety for both dogs and humans.