Pick of the Litter

Who doesn’t like dogs, puppies? Yeah, there are a few. Some have bad experiences, but that’s rare. Dogs can do so much for us. It’s hard not to love them.

The documentary Pick of the Litter shows how wonderful dogs can be, how lucky we are to have them. Pick of the Litter follows the puppies of the P litter: Patriot, Phil, Primrose, Poppet, Potomac as they go through the training and testing to become a guide dog. Few puppies ever make the cut. 

We meet these pups as their born and see how the staff at Guide Dogs for the Blind names each one. Then after 8 weeks the puppies are place with families that will begin training them so that they’re comfortable out on the street, in stores, at the airport, that they aren’t easily distracted and that they can heel. Some families are veteran trainers; others are first timers. Some will fail and the dog will be moved to another home. The guide dog center frequently observes these dogs and when a dog shows the wrong characteristics will “career change” the dog removes him or her from the program. 

After 14 to 16 months the dogs return to the center for more intense and specific training. They’re put on guide dog harnesses and taught to obey, to navigate busy streets and to know when to disobey a command because the surroundings are dangerous. Dogs are tested repeatedly. Some who don’t make it will become breeders; others will find new homes, new purpose.

This touching film shows how life changing a guide dog can be. Interviews with people who’ll receive these dogs show how much more independent a they will be. It’s a touching story of the dogs and people who work to make life much better for others.

Audience: Fine for all ages. No bad language, violence or sex.

Available: I got a DVD from the library but Hulu and Amazon also have it.