‘Dogu’mentary of the year – Pick of the Litter!

pick of the litter review

The documentary ‘Pick of the litter’ follows five Labrador puppies – Patriot, Phil, Poppet, Potomac and Primrose as they undergo training to become guide dogs for the blind.

It begins with a prologue in which sight-challenged persons recall how guide dogs saved their lives — from speeding cars and even the 78th floor of a World Trade Center tower. The two aspirants who need guide dogs are shown next – a partially sighted working woman and a man who lost vision early in his childhood. Both are buoyed with the adventures that a guide dog will bring into their lives.

Pick of the Litter: Review

The reality show like template comes to fore here and the camera follows the ‘P litter’ right from their birth all the way through to the 20 months of training.

The trainers’ also have a euphemism for pups who miss out on making as a guide dog —“career-changed”.  These dogs become a pet or a parent to future guide dogs.

Whether or not the pups graduate adds a tint of drama into the narrative. This suspense is interwoven into the narrative and you’d be holding your breath as the pups undergo tests like avoiding traffic.

See also: Heart of a dog, heartbreaking documentary on love and loss 

Unlike police dogs or anti-terror dogs, guide dogs aren’t only taught to obey commands, but also to disobey them. They need to exercise judgment against their human’s wishes so as to save their lives. Over the course of the documentary, it is shown how handlers train the dogs to disobey when they are given orders like marching onto the traffic.

It is awe inspiring to see how many humans help at every stage of this journey – volunteers, foster families, trainers, and vets. Their heartache and delight on seeing their pup’s journey to help improve the life of a visually challenged person make for a riveting viewing.

Complement this with watching is Quill, the Life of a guide dog (2004) 

pick of the litter
It is heartening to see the delight these guide dogs bring to their handlers’.

Dogs are special. They fill us up with an unbridled joy and happiness – whether as a friendly doggo at work, a beloved pet or a working dog. Pick of the litter pays glowing tributes to these amazing pooches who go on to be the brightness in a life threatened by darkness.

Also see: Blind Dog & his wonderful guide puppy are best friends!

Pick of the Litter is a wonderful reminder of the extraordinary relationships we have with our dogs. This uplifting, big-hearted celebration of the unique bond between humans & dogs deserves to be seen. After all, they are all good dogs and deserve all the love!

Guide Dogs for the Blind program began in 1942 to aid blinded soldiers back from World War II. Every year they train and match their guide dogs among some 1,100 applicants.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being a dog

unbearable lightness of being dog

Everything that may tranquil a human heart is oft found in art — the written word that unarms, the song that serenades, the movie that moves like life itself…

And for everything else, there’s the dog. Thankfully!

Dusting through the attics, I came across Milan Kundera’s beloved book ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ and was taken to the equally enchanting movie adaptation starring Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin (Mrs. Hallström) and Daniel Day-Lewis.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being a dog

 


It is a completely selfless love: Tereza did not want anything of Karenin (the dog); she did not ever ask him to love her back. Nor had she ever asked herself the questions that plague human couples:⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Does he love me?

Does he love anyone more than me?

Does he love me more than I love him?

Perhaps all the questions we ask of love, to measure, test, probe, and save it, have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearn to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

— Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

 


Complement with The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs and Ruskin Bond, the writer with a wand that brings all things pristine to the pages – then revisit the beloved poems of Mary Oliver or relive the poetic genius of Bukowski. And if you are looking for words, look no further than this beautiful collection of untranslatable words from languages other than English.

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