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For Bay Area filmmakers Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, their latest collaboration, “Pick of the Litter,” was a whisker or two different from past films.
For one thing, instead of retelling an event as most documentaries do, this film is told in real time, taking the viewer along on what Hardy called a “roller coaster” of emotions.
For another, Hardy and Nachman had to give their five stars a lot of hugs, and belly rubs.
“Pick of the Litter” follows five Labrador retriever puppies — Potomac, Patriot, Primrose, Poppet and Phil — from birth through their training to become guide dogs for the blind.
Spoiler alert: Not all of the puppies succeed with the special level of training necessary for guide dogs that must keep their owners out of dangerous situations, even when it means disobeying an order. Of the 800 puppies born each year at the Guide Dogs’ headquarters in San Rafael, only 300 graduate and are given to their new owners, chosen from more than 1,000 applicants each year.
Hardy and Nachman had worked with Guide Dogs for the Blind on a few occasions in their role as NBC Bay Area journalists, but the idea to make a documentary came from Nachman’s mother.
“My mom is a journalist in New York and she did a series, following the dogs from birth,” Nachman says. “So it’s stolen from Mom. We’re also fans of the competition genre so it was the perfect opportunity to do both.”
The competition is not among the dogs for spots in the program, but in the dogs themselves. Their abilities and talents will determine whether they will eventually wear that special harness and be paired with a blind person. The audience watches as the dogs start …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle