Our Mission: To help our students feel empowered, prepared, and curious for more, resulting in happy dogs, happy families, and a legacy of empathy, kindness, and collaboration in the dog training industry.
We believe love is love, no human is illegal, Black lives matter, your life matters, science is important, women’s rights are human rights, animals are individuals with an emotional experience, emotional and physical safety is essential, kindness is everything, and peace deserves a chance. We value and celebrate the many ways of being human. We continue to learn how to better live our values, which are reflected in our work in our local and international communities.
The Mission at Work: How Are We Helping?
- Love from the inside out. The Grisha Stewart Academy itself is a nourishing home for all people who live in consent-based community with dogs. While dog behavior and care remains our main focus, it’s woven in with self-compassion and community building. We even have additional well-bing support for members coming into place in 2023 – stay tuned!
My team is family (some biologically and some by choice) and we care about one another. I’m super-vigilant about self-care and work-life balance for the people on my team.
- Diamond Membership Scholarships for individuals. This is for any one who needs it, financially, but we especially encourage applications from aspiring dog training professionals in need whose communities are also underrepresented in dog training, including (but not limited to) People of the Global Majority (also called BIPOC – Black, Indigenous, People of Color), people with disabilities*, and people earning a living in countries where US$29.99/month is a lot of money. Donation value > $2000/month and growing.
- Shelter Bundle Scholarships have provided free education for about 300 animal shelters and rescues, with more every month. Donation value > $250,000
- Cash donations. We donate to shelters, rescues, and social justice causes via the Affiliate program. You can help raise funds by becoming an affiliate and using your special links (or that money can go to you, instead). 20% of the purchase price for new students using your link goes to the charity of your choice. I also make donations directly to causes, separate from the affiliate program.
- Podcast: The Lesson is Love. The goal of the podcast is to encourage empathy toward animals of all kinds including humans. I interview passionate community builders who express their love for humanity by sharing what they know about how to thrive. That includes songwriters, actors, authors, psychologists, sex coaches, activists, dog trainers, biologists, and more. I do have one restriction, though: every guest must have a dog, so we can geek out and tie things into dog behavior.
My not-so-secret goal there is to inspire these creatives to loop empathy for dogs and other non-human animals into their creative space, that they may make a difference in their own area of influence.
- As a speaker, I’ve signed The Minimum Viable Diversity Pledge: “I will never speak at any paid conferences or panels as part of a homogeneous group of speakers” and I keep that pledge.
Note: individual webinars at my Academy aren’t conferences, as they usually have only one or two speakers. Over the course of our offerings, however, we have been and continue to be committed to ensuring representation for marginalized groups. The Grisha Stewart Academy is a diverse team and we have been working with BIPGM, LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse, and disabled speakers since our inception. We are intentionally focusing on even better representation moving forward, within the Academy as well as in the dog training/care industry.
- Supporting Grief to Action as a monthly financial patron and being in the volunteer pool. “Grief to Action was founded to fill the needs of BIPOC in need of a place and community to facilitate healing and hope. We desire to grieve and process trauma at the pace of resistance and revolution and not at the pace of media coverage. Grief to Action is a semi-mobile camp with a land-based community in the Mojave Desert. We hold space on the land and with the land for deep grief and rage that gives birth to the creative solutions we need to resist and end oppressive systems. The land and sanctuary are Black-owned and Black-led centering the needed grief support for African-heritage folks and all People of the Global Majority.”
- Donations to various charity organizations for raffles, etc. If you have need for prizes, raffle items, prison programs, etc., just contact us. We’re happy to donate memberships or other in-kind educational products.
- Funding for research on anti-racism in the dog training / behavior industry. As a white person, before I just start doing random things to ‘help,’ I need to know what’s needed. So I’m working with a Ph.D. researcher to gather data that will be shared with everyone in the industry. I am the sole financial sponsor at this point. If you’d like to pitch in financially or as a proofreader for the final draft of the paper for this original research, please let me know. This has been a year and a half in the making and is nearly ready for publication. In 2023, we’ll have some transformative course offerings based on this research. It’ll be an opportunity for both BIPGM and white people to do the processing needed to safely heal in community.
- Planet: I’ve switched my seminars and CBATI certification program to primarily online as a way to help the planet and of course also for my own self-care. This process was well underway even before the pandemic. We have digital offerings of all of my books and DVDs, to reduce our carbon footprint (and of course also for convenience). In the online store, we ship our products with post-consumer recycled packaging.
- Community Outreach. Free education and/or benefit seminars with various organizations. Also lots of free education via social media like AnyQuestion, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. We stand up for marginalized folks with fierce compassion and share posts that bring awareness to social advocacy opportunities. We also offer a packet of dog training/behavior handouts and other free offerings, including a webinar on separation anxiety offered by Malena DiMartini. We’re also planning another free webinar near Valentine’s Day about Blind dogs – stay tuned.
- Community In-reach: Our academy community for Diamond members is a safe, nourishing space with sub-communities offering peer support to various groups. We are all there to help each other succeed, and it shows in the quality of interactions. All classes also have written transcripts for accessibility. While we are not perfect, we are doing our best to make content accessible – both in terms of getting the information and using it, as we all have unique bodies with different levels of ability.
- Self-Care & Social Skills Course. The class is called How to Human: Thrival Skills for People Who Love Dogs. It’s offered on a sliding scale, from free to $99. Beyond survival is the land of “thrival.” Learning to live wholeheartedly by prioritizing authenticity and vulnerability helped me finally get to know and love myself. The changes I’ve made to my life gave me more time with my dogs, better relationships, and a lot more peace! I created this course to share the thrival skills that took me decades to learn. It’s life’s work (or maybe multiple lifetimes), but hopefully this information will complement what you’ve already been learning. May it help you on your path of joy.
- That’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten something! There are also many tiny ways in which every member of the team works to share knowledge and bring more kindness to the world.
Thanks for reading and thank you for also doing your part! May you be healthy. May you be safe. May you know you belong. May you live a life of meaning and purpose. May you feel joy!