Naturalistic pet movies are a popular genre in Japan, though they rarely win theatrical distribution in the U.S. This 2004 family drama follows a Labrador retriever from birth to death, focusing on his "career" as a seeing-eye dog, and while it contains many of the cutesy-poo flourishes you'd expect (treacly music, dog reaction shots), it's surprisingly unsentimental in its depiction of people with disabilities, and the scenes of guide-dog training are informative. Yoichi Sai directed (just before making, of all things, the Takeshi Kitano crime saga Blood and Bones). In Japanese with subtitles.
Director: Yoichi Sai
Writer: Shoichi Maruyama and Yoshihiro Nakamura
Producer: Ichirô Yamamoto and Nozomu Enoki
Cast: Kaoru Kobayashi, Kippei Shiina, Keiko Toda, Shinobu Terajima, Tomoka Kurotani and Yuko Natori