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Pick of the Litter (ATOM Study Guide)

SKU: SG1519

    Pick of the Litter follows a litter of puppies from the moment they are born and begin their quest to become guide dogs. Along the way, these remarkable animals rely on a community of dedicated individuals who train them to assist people who are blind or low vision. The stakes are high and not every dog can make the cut.

    The five 'P' litter pups' – Patriot, Phil, Poppet, Potomac and Primrose – two-year training process commences on campus at Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB). The puppies play on a variety of different surfaces. All show positive character traits as they explore their environment.

    At eight weeks of age, they head home with their puppy raisers. Monthly evaluations and a rigorous testing program ensure that the dogs are being appropriately trained and socialised. Poppet is Cathy and Bill's eighth GDB puppy. They are co-raising Poppet with Lisa and her husband Chris. Lisa and Chris are first-time raisers. Potomac is Linda's second GDB puppy. Her first puppy was career changed. Primrose is puppy number seven for Eric and Rebecca.

    Patriot proves too much of a handful for Nick, his teenage handler. He is transferred, first to Adam, a veteran dealing with PTSD who says that looking after the dog helps him remain calm and focused, and then to experienced puppy raiser Maureen. Phil is Patti and Al's first GDB puppy. His problematic behaviour sees him reassigned to experienced couple Kristin and Kenny as their tenth GDB puppy.

    If the puppies meet GDB's rigorous screening criteria, they return to the San Rafael campus at sixteen months of age for ten weeks of training to qualify as guide dogs. During this part of the program, dogs that do not respond to training and pass tests will either become breeders or be cut from the program. Potomac is the first of the litter to be career changed. It is decided that he would not thrive as a guide dog and is put up for adoption. Primrose is assessed by the GDB veterinary staff. Her future is in the GDB breeding program.

    Patriot, Phil and Poppet having made it to the next stage continue their training at GDB with Adam and Melanie. The GDB trainers are responsible for preparing the dogs to be partnered with a person who is blind or low vision. The standards are high and the dogs will have to pass two rounds of testing before they graduate. After preliminary testing, Patriot is career changed. When Adam receives the call from GDB asking if he would like to adopt Patriot, he readily accepts.

    Phil and Poppet prove to be the pick of 'P' litter. Having passed the final five tests, they are partnered with Janet and Ron, and graduate as GDB guide dogs.

    Curriculum Links

    Pick of the Litter is suitable for students in Years 7–12.

    In Years 7–10, Pick of the Litter is a relevant resource for meeting learning outcomes in:

    • English
    • Personal Development
    • Health and Physical Education
    • Photographic and Digital Media

    In Years 11 and 12, Pick of the Litter is a relevant resource for meeting learning outcomes in:

    • Community and Family Studies
    • English and English Life Skills
    • Human Society and Environment
    • Life Skills
    • Society and Culture
    • VET Human Services

    The Pick of the Litter student guide:

    • invites students to share their responses to the stories told by the film;
    • asks students questions about the documentary as a film text;

    In completing the tasks, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

    • analyse the construction of a film
    • and comment on the ways it represents
    • an interpretation of ideas and experiences;
    • respond to a film both personally and in detached and critical ways;
    • discuss the social, cultural and historical values embodied in a film;
    • draw on appropriate metalanguage to discuss the structures and features of a film;
    • use their own written and spoken texts to explore concepts and ideas and to clarify their own and others' understanding.
    • Teachers are advised to direct students to complete activities that are subject relevant and age appropriate.

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