My journey so far


Many of us are aware that we are animal lovers from an early age and majority of us never fail to have a tear in the eye (if not, plenty more) when the animal dies in the movies. Me; I knew I was next-level-crazy about pets and I wasn’t ashamed! If an animal were to come into a room, it would be “sorry, talk to you later because I’ve just got to go hang out with this dog” and of course, Milo and Otis was my all time favourite childhood movie.


I grew up around dogs and cats and I have always just found myself being drawn to them. I knew when I started high school that I wanted to be a Vet Nurse. Not a vet like my parent’s probably would have liked; there was too much pressure involved with that. And yes, I know most children aspire to work with animals ‘when they grow up’ but I knew that was it for me.


So, fresh out of high school, I was off to CPIT (now Ara) to gain my Certificate in Veterinary Nursing. At the time that I studied, the Certificate was the only form of qualification offered - most Vet Nurses prior to our generation were trained up on the job, not requiring any qualification! It was a very intense year of study and I walked away in 2010 with a qualification in an industry that unfortunately was a hard one to get a foot in the door. Lucky for me, I was offered a part-time job at a local vet clinic where I would work part-time for the next six and a half years.


I absolutely loved my job but within the first year, I could sense a feeling of longing for something more. So off I was to University the next year to figure it all out. I still worked part-time all throughout my studies and still continued to enjoy it. Fun fact! I have a very large family on my father’s side. I’m talking my dad is one of six, I am one of 12 grandkids to his mother. And they all seem to be very successful in their careers (NZ’s youngest helicopter pilot, Engineering firms, Architectural firms), yet I was only the third Cusiel to go to University!


Anyway, I digress. I found myself not really enjoying the surgical side of the nursing role and gravitating more towards the front desk where I was talking to and engaging with people and helping people with queries. Somewhere along the way, one of my colleagues and I decided to introduce a puppy preschool programme to the clinic. Now this is where things started to (in the words of Marie Kondo J ) ‘spark joy’ for me. I could see these little, furry babies, trying new things, sometimes learning things the hard way and simply just figuring it all out! Sounds familiar…

So upon the completion of my University bachelor’s degree in Science (biology/zoology with strong psychology), off I was, looking for the next study that would fill this void! My poor parents - they were very supportive all through my indecisiveness, whilst my brothers are successfully living out their careers as civil & structural engineers and architects… I consider myself to be the financial lemon of the family but there’s always got to be one, right?! J Anyway, in comes the Certificate in Puppy Training and Diploma in Canine Psychology and Behaviour.


After this I began working for a NZ company that was based in Auckland, where I was the only staff member in the South Island. Long story short, I was having to operate it all on my own when I had a wee thought; If I was doing this all on my own, why didn’t I do it all on my own, but for myself?!

So almost three years ago now, I launched this little business with a big mission to help pet owners out in any way that I could. And here I am now, navigating my way through the wild world of self-employment and business ownership, with a mortgage and a husband (I have no idea how those three things even happened simultaneously!), with five amazing team members working with me to help me with this mission. And most importantly, of course, I have so many lovely clients that I like to call my friends. I still have that same objective today that I did three years ago and am constantly trying to find new ways to help.


Nicole x

P.S. Sorry to end on a really corny note!!

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Head to Tail is a proud Canterbury business, owned by Veterinary Nurse, Nicole Cusiel. 

Nicole is one of the most qualified pet care providers of dog walking, puppy classes, behaviour consulting and other services in the market. She has more than six years clinical veterinary nursing experience, working with dogs, cats, rabbits and all types of animals.

She holds a Bachelor of Science (Biology), with a focus on animal behaviour papers, from the University of Canterbury.

She also holds a Diploma in Canine Behaviour & Psychology and has a Certificate in Puppy Training and is continuing to develop her skills and knowledge through correspondence training. 

All of Head to Tail's team members are also veterinary nurses or have many years experience of working with animals.

The best care for your best friend!

                 020 444 6262

    info@headtotail.co.nz