Pick Of The Litter

Certificate: PG

Release date: 2019

4 out of 5


Tissues should be given out along with tickets to this US documentary that follows a group of puppies destined to train as guide dogs for the blind.

The camera focuses on Labrador siblings Potomac, Phil, Patriot, Primrose and Poppet from the day they are born at a Guide Dog facility, then follows them as they are placed with foster parents for initial training. Ideally, they then return for formal guide dog training after the first year, and if successful they are then paired with a blind owner.

It’s surprisingly stressful, as the documentary makers point out that of the 800 dogs born into the programme each year, only around 300 will have the temperament to make it as guide dogs. And the film focuses not just on the adorable pups but on the humans who cross paths with them, too, from the workers at the Guide Dog facility, to the foster owners, and the blind people who will benefit so much from having a seeing companion.

While this would have worked well as an extended TV documentary (and you could then sob in the privacy of your own home as one of the dogs is parted from his owner), here’s hoping a cinema release followed by a home entertainment one will mean more people can see what amazing work guide dog charities do, and most importantly, how wonderful, brave and dedicated these amazing dogs are.

Is Pick Of The Litter suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

While this is suitable for the whole family, parents should note that sensitive viewers may be upset when dogs are parted from their trainers.

A former soldier discusses his PTSD, which is also very moving, as are scenes with blind people talking about their former guide dogs and hopes for the future.

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