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Posts Tagged ‘“Pick of the Littler”’

“PICK OF THE LITTER” My rating: B 

81 minutes | No MPAA rating

Even if you’re not a dog lover, “Pick of the Litter” has an AWWWWW factor that’s off the charts.

But canine-generated sentimentality aside, this documentary leaves the viewer deeply impressed by the effort that goes into training a Guide Dog for the Blind, and by the sacrifices of dozens of humans who are behind each animal that completes the program.

Don Hardy Jr. and Dana Nachman’s film begins with the birth of five puppies and follows their growth and training over two years as they prepare to join the ranks of what used to be called “seeing-eye dogs.”

It starts out cute — few things are as heart-melting as a wriggling newborn Labrador retriever — and gradually works its way into some surprisingly territory.

We’re told up front that only three out of every eight dogs bred by the California-based Guide Dogs for the Blind will graduate from the program.  Which means that of our five littermate subjects — the staff names them Potomac, Poppet, Primrose, Patriot and Phil — only two should be expected to make the final cut. And even that’s not guaranteed.

Most will at some point be “career changed,” meaning that they’ll be scrubbed from the program for reasons ranging from intelligence to excitability to the ability to focus on the task at hand.  One of the more intriguing issues raised centers on how much of the failure is due to the individual animal’s nature and how much to the shortcomings of  its human handlers.

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