Puppy raisers Amie and Matt Chapman of Hayward, Calif., are the dynamic duo behind the popular YouTube series, "Growing Up Guide Pup" (GUGP). The series is a weekly video blog that highlights the adventures of raising their current Guide Dog puppy, Ricki.
Producing the series was a natural fit - Matt has a passion for making videos, Amie has a passion for raising puppies, so the couple thought that combining both of their interests could be a lot of fun.
"I had read many great blogs written by puppy raisers that wanted to share their experience with people," Amie said. "A few days before we picked up Ricki I had the idea of doing a video blog instead of a written one."
After just a few weeks of airing the series, their viewership started to grow. Amie and Matt were getting messages from people all over the world, including from people who are visually impaired.
"We started out just wanting to share with people the experience we were having raising Ricki," said Amie, "and it turned into more. Guide Dog users are getting an idea of what their dog went through as a puppy, and we have had a lot of people wanting to know more about how to become puppy raisers. We are trying to be honest about how Ricki is progressing, and we are showing people how much work puppy raisers really do."
What started out as a hobby, has begun to take on a life of it's own.
"Amie and I are really pleased with the progress our series has been making," Matt said. "We just had our festival world premier at the New Media Film Festival in San Francisco where 'Growing Up Guide Pup' was viewed by a lot of industry professionals, and included judges from Summit Entertainment, Pixar, and Industrial Light and Magic. We also were able to do a Q&A after our screening and chat with a lot of people. I'm most pleased that our series goes against the grain, and was unique for its category at the film festival (web series)."
"Growing Up Guide Pup" has a special quality about it, as its popularity will attest. "We design our format with the visually impaired in mind," said Matt, "and we are also making something that a whole family can enjoy." Indeed, GUGP is featured on GDB's own Kids Website.
"Where our show will go next?" asks Amie. "We have no idea, but we are having a lot of fun making it. Raising puppies over the last 8-1/2 years, and being part of the Guide Dogs family has been great. We have made a lot of new friends along the way, and have raised some amazing dogs. Thanks to everyone who watches our show and continues to support us."
Matt agrees. "We are going to keep going with the series, and see where this adventure takes us next!"
You can find the entire series at youtube.com/user/GuideDogManiac.