Pick of the Litter
follows a litter of five puppies—Patriot, Potomac, Primrose, Poppet, and Phil—through a rigorous 20-month program to become service dogs through the San Rafael, California, organization Guide Dogs for the Blind
. Once you get beyond the adorability factor of the furry students (or don’t), it’s easy to engage in their process and root for each one as they train to be paired with a person living with vision loss. Ostensibly about the dogs, the documentary also delves into the humans working toward their success, including veterinarians, trainers, “puppy raisers” (volunteers who house and socialize the pups for several months before sending them back to school); two people on the waiting list for guide dogs also share their stories. Though it could benefit from more context and history of guide dogs and a little less walk footage, the film offers compelling insight into a process most know little about—and whether they make the cut or not, there’s a happy ending for every dog.