Hi! My name is Martha Thomas. My dog show career began with a Dalmatian when I was twelve years old. I competed in the obedience ring and obtained a Companion Dog obedience title with my Dalmatian and later with a Sheltie. Two of my sisters and I also competed in Junior Showmanship with our Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso. The three of us were instantly hooked on all things dog, particularly showing dogs. Having acquired all our dogs from a pet store, we realized we needed a quality dog to compete in the conformation ring and began our quest for one breed that appealed to all of us. During our research, I came across a small photo of a Portuguese Water Dog. I fell in love with the breed through that small picture and went back to it over and over; but the caption said the breed could only be found in Portugal and was very rare. I resigned myself to the fact that I would probably never see a Portuguese Water Dog.
My sisters and I eventually decided on English Setters. I showed and bred English Setters with my sisters until I went to college. My sisters continued to breed and show English Setters under the kennel prefix "English Times" while I got married and started a family. When I was ready to get back into dogs, I kept going back to that picture of the Portuguese Water Dog, wishing one would miraculously appear. Okay, time to get realistic. I would just have to find a breed that resembled the PWD. I was never going to see one.
In 1988, I began working at Sunrise Kennels in Colorado Springs. I had not been there very long, when in walked the most wonderful dog! I was so excited, I could hardly breathe. It was a Portuguese Water Dog. I learned they had been brought back from near-extinction. I saved my money and researched the breed. I was glad to hear they were intelligent and attached to their owners. I learned how to groom them and got to know quite a few PWDs before I actually had my own. My first PWD, Tez, was obtained from Jim and Barbara Schmit of Sunnyhill Kennels. I showed Tez to her championship and decided not to breed her. We fostered our second PWD, Brie, for Bev Rafferty of Pinehaven Kennels. After a year of fostering, Bev asked us if we would like to keep Brie. Brie became my foundation bitch and is behind all my other dogs.
My sister, Mary Oldham, has been involved with grooming and showing Portuguese Water Dogs since the mid 1980's. She has been behind the scenes with lots of wisdom and advice and is a co-breeder of many of my litters. Mary took home her first PWD, Silly, in 2007.
I feel so fortunate that this wonderful breed came into my life and can't imagine my life without a PWD. My love for the breed is carried over when I plan a breeding. I have definite goals in mind for each breeding. I want to preserve a certain look, or type, that makes my dogs look like Portuguese Water Dogs who would never be mistaken for another breed. However, since all my dogs are house pets, my first goal is always for a healthy, happy pet. Beautiful Portuguese Water Dogs who are sound in mind and body. I chose the kennel prefix, Odysea, because of the journey I have been on and will continue on in Portuguese Water Dogs.