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Pick of the Litter - Documentary Review

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by Olga Junek (subscribe)
I am an academic and writer living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne, regional Victoria and other parts of Australia have to offer.
Published December 21st 2018
From Birth to Work

Pick of the Litter is a lovely film, even if you are not a dog lover like I am, it will make you feel good and you will learn quite a bit about guide dogs for the sight-impaired. Be prepared for lots of emotional involvement and some, albeit happy tears. Or perhaps that's just me.

The film is a documentary which traces the lives of five guide dogs from birth until about 16 months of age. We see the dogs when they are born, when they are named (all names begin with P for this litter), when they go to puppy raisers and when they reach milestones of 12 and then 16 months.

The beginning of the film reminds us that these are not just guide dogs, they are indeed lifesavers too. These dogs have a job to do and this is what they are trained to do from a very early age. Not all dogs make the cut to be a guide dog, they are "career changed" but that doesn't make them any less important. Some end up as breeders for future guide dogs, some go to other organisations to be service dogs and some go back to their trainers.

We get to see the different personalities of these five dogs and their relationships with their puppy raisers. The dogs, being labradors, are full of exuberance, enthusiasm and a tendency to lick people's faces so training them is sometimes quite challenging. The people who are training them in the early puppy stage are faced with some challenges too, especially when faced with having to give up the pups at an earlier than expected time.

In this film, you get a close look at how difficult guide dog training is and what an important job these dogs have in guiding and protecting their owners. The feel-good factor when these dogs are a success in their training is well worth the few tears that may have escaped when things did not always go as planned.

This is an American documentary but there are many similarities, one would imagine between the US and Australian Guide Dog training. If you love dogs and/or are interested in how important these working dogs are, I am sure you will enjoy this film. You can find out more about guide dogs and their training in Australia here.

Pick of the Litter will begin screening at cinemas across Australia on January 10th, 2019. Please check your local cinema for screening times here.

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*Olga Junek was invited as a guest
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Why? For a close look at Guide Dog puppies and their training from birth to 2 years
When: Cinema dependant
Where: Cinemas across Australia from 10 January 2019. Check website
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