Parents' Guide to

Pick of the Litter

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Guide dogs learn their trade in lovely docuseries.

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What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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With its clear-eyed warts-and-all look at the Guide Dogs for the Blind training program, this docuseries based on the movie of the same name is a real treat for animal lovers. As we hear repeatedly, not every dog makes it through the rigorous guide dog training -- only 300 out of 800 born each year at the facility make the grade -- and watching dogs working diligently and then moving on or not in the program has the painful immediacy of athletes training for a big game. Even when they do make it, there's more pain still, as the trainers who spent an entire year turning them from puppies into guide-dogs-in-training now must say goodbye.

But there's joy, too: the glee on on a teen first-time trainer's face when her dog is accepted into the program; a trainer who feels isolated in their small town cuddling rapturously with the dog who's become a loyal companion -- and, in the end, the life-changing magic the well-trained dogs represent for the people who need their help. A Guide Dogs for the Blind client says that the day she got the call that a dog was ready for her was "the most joyous, happiest moment of my whole life thus far," glowing as she imagines the new freedoms that will be possible with a dog by her side. If you don't love dogs before watching Pick of the Litter, it's a sure bet that you will by the end of this moving, emotionally gripping series.

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