I cannot properly articulate the level of cuteness I witnessed during the dog-umentary, Pick Of The Litter. The film follows a litter of five puppies from the moment they are born, all the way along their journey to become Guide Dogs for the blind. It is directed by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, and I guarantee it will tug on your heart strings.
Pick Of The Litter not only follows the puppies’ quest to become Guide Dogs, but also the community of dedicated individuals who nurture, train and love them, all in the hopes that they will change the life of a blind or visually-impaired individual. The film is not just about the dogs, but about those whose lives they change; be it the families who care for them when they are puppies, the trainers, or the blind themselves. It’s a beautiful reflection on our special relationships with dogs, and the power they have to change our lives for the better.
We see each moment in the puppies’ journey; their birth, their growth, their training, their tests, and then finally them meeting the blind or visually-impaired human they will devote their lives to helping. As the film progresses I became more and more invested in not only the lives of the puppies, but the lives of the humans around them. You not only root for the dogs, but for the volunteers who raise and train them too.
The synopsis of the film warns that not every dog will make the cut. I was prepared to be distraught and cry my heart out during the screening if a puppy did not make it – but thankfully I found that not to be the case. The moments when the dogs don’t make the cut are the happiest moments in the film. I cried so many happy tears seeing the dogs move on from the Guide Dog program and into a new journey because it always felt like it was meant to be. The filmmakers expertly frame these moments (which are objectively sad) as positives and new opportunities for the dogs.
It was eye-opening to see just how much of a huge responsibility it is to raise Guide Dogs. All of the volunteer families take it incredibly seriously, and it is inspiring to witness how hard they work to ensure that the puppies go on and change someone’s life. Walking into the movie not knowing much at all about Guide Dogs, I left with a desire to volunteer to raise a puppy or donate to the Guide Dogs organisation. This is a testament to the wonderful storytelling of Dana Nachman and Don Hardy because I could have been left a puddle of love from all the cuteness, but instead, I left the film with a clear purpose, and an in-depth understanding of the process involved in raising and training Guide Dogs.
My favourite moments on screen are of course the puppy shots, which are a cuteness overload. Seeing the puppies knock over the camera, cuddle with trainers, sleeping, or hearing them make adorable puppy noises completely melted my heart. I audibly ‘awwed’ multiple times during the film, and when it was over I was desperate to get my hands on a dog to cuddle. Not only that, I also had the opportunity to appreciate the struggles faced by those who are blind or visually-impaired, and the extensive process dogs undergo in order to become a Guide Dog. If that’s not the mark of an incredible and moving film I do not know what is.
I rate Pick Of The Litter 5 sleepy puppies out of 5 SO. MUCH. CUTENESS. OMG.
Pick Of The Litter will be released in Australia on January 10th, 2019.