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Review: Pick of the Litter

December 21, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

There are eight hundred dogs born every year at Guide Dogs for the Blind, only three hundred of which will actually make the cut as working guide dogs.

The stories of five of these adorable Labrador puppies, and the humans who help raise them, are told in Pick of the Litter, a thoroughly satisfying new documentary that takes us through the entire process behind choosing a guide dog.

Directors Dana Nachman and Don Hardy Jr., who also made the similarly sentimental and crowd-pleasing documentary Batkid Begins, follow these five puppies right from birth, and take us along for the journey as they are placed with trainers, put through a rigorous testing process, and finally placed with their human companions, if they make the cut.

The dogs that aren’t able to become guides get “career changed,” and end up either as breeders or are adopted out to loving homes. We get some touching moments with their human companions, but the dogs are the real stars here. The puppies themselves – who are given the names Primrose, Potomac, Poppet, Patriot, and Phil, who is the underdog of the group and a real scene stealer – all have unique personalities and become characters that we are able to root for. This is a very cute and enjoyable film, that plays as a delightful crowdpleaser and is sure to put a smile on your face.

Pick of the Litter is now playing in limited release at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto, tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

A version of this review was originally published during the 2018 Hot Docs Film Festival.

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