So while you guys were watching a trade show on the teevee last night, I went to the movies and saw Pick of the Litter. It’s pretty great, and not just because there are 5 of the cutest puppies ever on screen the entire time. SQUEE! The movie is very compelling.
The story arc is really about the process of how the service animals are selected. Oddly, the actual training itself is not shown, only the testing. Maybe the training is a trade secret? I don’t know and they don’t say. I wish that they had shown some of the actual training, what these dogs learn is amazing. The movie also hints that the blind people who will recieve a guide dog also go through a training program, though that is not shown in any detail, either.
In our age of reality teevee, the directors did make the choice of creating drama and tension around each dog’s journey, and as some of the dogs do not advance to the next level, there are some regrettable on-screen graphics. Our audience actually giggled they were so odd.
At three stages the puppies are resettled with new handlers (I guess so that they will not make attachments), and each time the puppies move on, the previous handler giving up the dog is heart breaking. But it is part of the process, and the handlers all know that this day is coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier. The final stage the grown dogs return to the campus for professional training and a final evaluation about whether they will graduate and be paired with a blind recipient, entered into the breeding program, or given up for adoption.
Spoiler: not all the dogs graduate from the program, though all of them do end up in loving homes. The dogs are amazing each in his/her own way, and if you see the movie, you will end up cheering them on their journeys (and afterwards, everyone in the audience had chosen a favorite dog). There’s a moving graduation ceremony at the end of the training with speeches from the blind recipients explaining what having a guide dog means to them, and the previous handlers get to see their wards move onto their careers guiding the blind.
I left the theater choked up, and I dreamt of dogs last night. I do not know what we humans did right to deserve having dogs in our lives.