Trish Gorry, a volunteer with Therapy K9s of Southwest Florida, helped stage a Thanksgiving photo with six dogs. It may be the greatest work of art since Dogs Playing Poker.
The lady in the nursing home with Alzheimer’s. The sixth-grader too shy to speak. The anxious traveler at the airport. The college student facing a test. All are thankful for therapy dogs and their ability to sooth jangled nerves or jog a blank existence into a favorite childhood memory.
You don’t have to sell Trish Gorry on the magic of therapy dogs. She sees it all the time with Legion, her 7-year-old yellow Lab. They are involved with a group called Therapy K9s of Southwest Florida, and last year someone came up with an idea: Wouldn’t it be cute if they dressed up some of the dogs for a Christmas nativity scene photo?
Related: In Wellington, a 9-year-old Golden Retriever has made 500 therapy visits to give seniors a boost
So they did. And it was cute. Until it got cuter. A few weeks ago Gorry was approached by someone with a challenge: Bet you can’t get the dogs to sit together at a table for a Thanksgiving photo.
"I took the ball and ran with it," said Gorry, a Nokomis resident.
A group of therapy dog owners met at a house in North Port and actually pulled it off. They dressed up seven dogs in pilgrim hats and bonnets and set them on chairs around a table for Thanksgiving dinner, and because dogs don’t care about politics or football, and the turkey at the center of the table was plastic, it was probably more civil than many human dinners will be this year.
Related: Anderson: Rita, Red the therapy dog and the value of two lives
Staging the shoot was not as difficult as you may think, either. A little doggie ice cream and voila: The greatest work of art since Dogs Playing Poker was produced.
"It didn’t take long," Gorry said. "It was ‘one and done.’ Several people took pictures so we could get it in one sitting. It was kind of incredible."
Gorry posted the photo on Facebook in early November and it has been making quite a splash on the internet. She is hoping the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" will take notice. That would mean national exposure for the wonderful things therapy dogs do.
Let history show six dogs were present at the first Thanksgiving feast. There were supposed to be seven, but one jumped off the chair just before the photo was shot and was sent to the children’s table as a result.
So who’s in the picture? Well, let’s see. There is Simba, the 10-year-old corgi in the top hat who, like an unannounced uncle, has the whole side of the table to himself, and a sharp eye on the dog biscuits.
To his left paw is Whysper, an English cream golden retriever whose ancestors, it is believed, dogpaddled over from England, hiked their legs and marked their territory on Plymouth Rock.
Then Legion, Gorry’s pride and joy, who bred 70 pups for Southeastern Guide Dogs before settling down and embarking on a less-taxing career in therapy work.
And Isabella, another gorgeous golden. And that cute little rascal next to her in the bonnet? That’s London, a King Charles Spaniel. At the head of the table is none other than Ziva, another former breeder.
One of Ziva’s daughters, a pup named Indie, was extremely excited to be in the Thanksgiving photo. And she would have been, too, except she was the one who jumped down from her chair.
Probably to beg for scraps.
Contact columnist Chris Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally published to heraldtribune.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.