Meet Pip, the Puppy Behind the Film
Pip. Four small paws. One big dream. And YOU!
In October 2018 we launched our exciting animated short film, Pip, a heartwarming tale about a small dog with a big dream—to become an elite guide dog. (If you missed it, watch it here.) Here at Southeastern Guide Dogs, our own big dream was to get 1 million views on YouTube. As of April 2021, Pip has garnered over 275 million views, and millions more if you add in the views on other sites. We’re happy Pip became so popular, because we want more people to know about the amazing difference that guide dogs can make.
But did you know that there’s a real Pip, the kind that started out with warm fur, a tiny tail, and the sweetest puppy breath ever? Meet Pip! Here she was when she was just a puppy!
Pip is an adorable goldador with a sweet disposition and plenty of energy. Pip was born on September 10, 2018, here on the Southeastern Guide Dogs campus, and she began her journey with the goal of becoming an elite guide dog or service dog.
Pip is now two-and-a-half years old and still petite, at 48 pounds. As sometimes happens, she did not become a working dog, after all. Not all dogs become guide or service dogs, and they tend to let us know by how they respond in training. She was adopted by her puppy raiser, Christie, in 2020, and is one happy, healthy, mellow girl. So, the answer to the question of “Where is Pip now?” is this: living the good life of a beloved pet. Here’s how it all happened.
In 2018, Pip started out as a tiny goldador with big dreams of becoming a guide dog for a person with vision loss. She began her training in the Puppy Academy nursery at just two days of age, being tickled and handled by loving humans to help her become socialized and comfortable with her environment. Simultaneously, Pip also became the subject of what was to become a record-shattering and multi-award-winning animated video, produced to create awareness of the Southeastern Guide Dogs mission.
When she graduated from Puppy Kindergarten, Pip continued with her journey of training with her volunteer puppy raiser. Christie is a certified trainer and is currently regional manager of Puppy Raising services for our organization. She took Pip into her heart and home for about a year of socialization, building on her basic skills and cues, and giving her exposures to the world outside.
Simultaneously, the film Pip was a huge success, making legions of people laugh, cry and root for her as she attempted to become a superhero for someone with vision loss. The animated Pip’s small stature was a hindrance to her goals, however, and she was unable to meet the high standards that a Southeastern Guide Dogs service animal must meet. But in the end, her bravery, ingenuity, and great big heart saved the day for a visually impaired woman, and Pip is truly is a hero.
In real life, however, Pip, the endearing underdog, was destined to become a beloved pet. In her assessments, the expert trainers of Southeastern Guide Dogs looked for signs that she might want to be paired with a veteran with post-traumatic stress and other disabilities, or a child with significant challenges such as vision loss or the loss of a parent in the military.
But Pip did not choose a working career.
Instead, she spends her days swimming and on puppy play dates with furry friends from Southeastern Guide Dogs. Christie says Pip is a skillful judge of four-legged personalities. “She is especially good at welcoming other puppy guests to our house. I have puppies stay with me for lots of different reasons and she is very good at reading their temperaments, figuring out if they’re sensitive or boisterous and matching their play styles perfectly.”
“Pip is very content as a pet and has zero aspirations to be a career girl of any kind,” Christie adds. “People would be most surprised to learn that the “movie star” Pip is not interested in public attention of any kind!”
(Here’s a video we made for Pip’s first birthday.)
Pip needs you to help bring her dream to life—for our OTHER future superhero pups!
Support Pip’s big dream by helping other puppies achieve their education, reach their destiny, and change a life. Over 300 puppies are born each year on the Southeastern Guide Dogs campus. Many become guide dogs for people with vision loss, service dogs for veterans with PTSD and other disabilities, facility therapy dogs for veterans in military medical facilities, or skilled companion dogs for children with significant challenges such as vision loss or the loss of a parent in the military.
Every puppy counts here at Southeastern Guide Dogs, and your support makes an impact.