If one had a chance to make a documentary that mainly followed doggies everywhere, why not?
Directors, Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, did just that. They were assigned to a litter of puppies. From there, they watch them grow, learn, and train to be Guide Dogs. Not every puppy ends up as a Guide Dog and this movie shows snapshots of how quickly that path can be derailed.
The dogumentary is Inspired by Nachman’s mother who had the idea for a newspaper story. Between the two directors and two gimble camera stabilizers, they followed the wagging tails and their caretakers for the hopeful end goal.
“PICK OF THE LITTER follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become guide dogs for the blind. Cameras follow these pups through an intense two-year odyssey as they train to become dogs whose ultimate responsibility is to protect their blind partners from harm. Along the way, these remarkable animals rely on a community of dedicated individuals who train them to do amazing, life-changing things in the service of their human. The stakes are high and not every dog can make the cut. Only the best of the best. The pick of the litter.”–PICK OF THE LITTER
The dogumentary is a simple and pleasureable feature of puppies and the people who love them. Attention is spent more on the dogs and less on the technical aspects of raising a succeessful Guide Dog for Guide Dogs of America. Although snapshots of the process are seen during the feature, it is enough to see how incredibly involved every step is.
Once they are ready, the puppies are taken to trained “Puppy Raisers” who raise and expose the puppies to the world for about a year. After a year they are taken back to the Guide Dog institute for further evaluation on whether they will continue to train as guide dogs, become breeders, or “career challenged” (a term used for dogs that were deemed unfit to continue training for Guide Dogs). Then there is more training and more people until the dogs pass all of the test and they become guide dogs.
The heart of the film touches upon that deep unconditional connection that people have for dogs. Relationships are created across the way and there are moments of tears and smiles. It is a deep sense of community that emerges from it. Over it all is the boundless energy that is funneled to create a Guide Dog.
The story is shallow as it doesn’t get any deeper than people caring for dogs and vice versa. The story is more like following the timeline of the puppies progress and seeing flashes of events that have affected them. There is enough shown that the audience knows more about Guide Dogs of America and may stoke some curious viewers to learn about.
Overall, it was a sweet and enjoyable dogumentary. It’s not a feature that aims to change ideas or broaden the mind. It does do something even equally important and that is to bring awareness to the people and dogs behind a great cause. Every thing that they do is to help someone live more freely and to be safe. Plus, all of the puppies and wiggly doggies. This is a documentary that is very highly recommended for dog lovers!
For the film, it was the most unique press day as press members were invited their own dogs! We brought our little critters as we learned more about the process of Guide Dogs of America from the trainers. It was evident that the film had exposed everyone to a new community There were so many questions that everyone had including myself. I did learn that Guide Dogs of America was established after World War II to help blind veterans. One question I had that the trainers happily answered was how do blind people pick up the dogs feces? They explained that the dogs are on a relief training schedule. They also train their persons to listen for lack of urination sounds and to feel for the slope of the back to get a general idea of where the feces was.
After the Q&A, each press members was blindfolded (or had their eyes closed) and was led around the area by a guide dog. It was an experience that really drove home the power and importance of the Guide Dog. Everything was relaying upon the dogs training to keep their persons safe and mobile.
Catch Pick of the Litter will be theaters on August 31, 2018 and see which puppy you will be rooting for!
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