Growing Up Guide Pup is a 501(c)3 Public Charity Organization located in Silicon Valley. It is also the only organization that specializes in service dog education in the world, using new media and modern technology. Service dogs do amazing things to improve the life of the person they are assisting. In recent years, the numbers of people using service dogs and the number of services that dogs provide has rapidly expanded. The likelihood of coming in contact with a working service dog is growing, yet the general public has little appreciation of these wonderful animals, their jobs, or how to interact with the people and partnering with such canines. And, the demands for more dogs trained to help people with disabilities, grows.
Five years ago Amie and Matt observed that despite dozens of service dog schools in existence, something was missing that no organization has made their focus. What is missing is education that bridges the gap between the service dog world and the average person who knows nothing about the topic.
Growing Up Guide Pup (GUGP) speaks directly to this void. Service dog schools have their hands full with their primary missions of breeding, training, and pairing up service dog teams. Therefore GUGP goals are:
- Provide education and understanding to the general public, so people are familiar with services that service dogs provide, and how to behave when near a working service dog team.
- Spotlight service dogs, service dog users, and service dog training organizations
- Advocate for service dog users, raising awareness about issues including access and what rights are granted by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- The benefits of and how others can get involved in the joy of raising service dogs.
Our mission is to answer these questions with Growing Up Guide Pup, using ‘edutainment’. In order to be most effective, GUGP needs to develop the means to inspire the largest audience possible. Although service dogs may be considered a niche topic, we look at this quote for inspiration and strategy; “I would rather have entertained and hope I educated than educate and hope I entertained.” Walt Disney
GUGP specializes in using the tools of new media (internet, smart phones, tablets, web television). These are more important now than ever for speaking to the masses, especially for speaking to the millennial generation as well as children.
The non-profit currently is producing a web series documenting the lives of Amie and Matt Chapman, a mid thirties married couple who are raising their 15th Guide Dog pup.
A web series is a recent phenomenon involving the regular release of short videos on a serial and anticipated basis. With GUGP it involves releasing videos on the internet where audiences can watch Amie and Matt’s puppies learn, and develop with complete transparency. With no limits on length, topic, ideas, format, there is room for growth on the internet where true innovation will occur.
Amie and Matt use the series to defend the rights of the handicapped, as well as to promote a philanthropic desire to give back to the community. Through the web series, the audience tracks Amie and Matt’s puppy as he develops and the audience experiences the emotional roller coaster that ensues. Does this puppy have what it takes to be a guide dog? If so, how on earth can Amie and Matt let him go?
GUGP has been recognized as best non-fiction series at LAWebFest for two years in a row. Starting at first with Guide Dogs for the Blind, and now partnering with Guide Dogs of the Desert, they provide information about service dog culture, while bringing each schools mission to the digital forefront.
A unique social agenda will help drive more people to want to raise puppies, get interested in service dog issues, and bring the level of awareness about service dogs to a higher level of consciousness. Long overdue Growing Up Guide Pup is ready to take it on.