By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
Gena Oddo followed her parents to the Picayune community post-Katrina. After several years of customizing her home and devoting herself to her career, she felt a need for a companion.
She found her companion in a tiny, 1.2 lb., 3-month-old female Pomeranian from South Korea, whom she named Sophia.
“I found her in South Korea, through a broker who arranges for puppy/owner connections in Las Vegas. She was born Jan. 22, 2011, and was brought in cabin on an airplane with a human nanny,” says Oddo.
Sophia is now two years old and weighs approximately 8 lbs. She has made her way into the high fashion world of dog couture and her owner could not be happier.
Oddo says, “She was a little, white, fluffy, happy, spirited puppy. She has always been fed the finest, baked fresh fish daily and baked potatoes. Her treats are made by a company which only uses sweet potatoes, carrots and cranberries from Georgia. She is also fed Stella and Chewy, 100 percent natural dehydrated lamb patties as a staple.”
Once Sophia was home with Oddo, the search began for a suitable harness.
“I began searching for a safe, soft and easy to use harness design. I was not impressed with hard buckles, which proved both abrasive and awkward to use. I needed something very specific and much to my surprise found exactly what I was looking for through designer Kiki Hamann.
“I took a photo of Sophia wearing it and sent it to Kiki, who immediately invited her to be one of her top models. Sophia strutted her very first “catwalk” in Miami, in November of 2011.
“Since this first event, she’s been on the runway for Fashion Week, El Paseo in Palm Springs, and will be returning to the stage for this on March 16 for a second time. She is also on the web page as the fourth side on the home page of http://www.fashionweekelpaseo.com/. This event features Linda Higgins ‘Classy Doggie Designs.’
“Sophia was on Despierta-America, Univision TV in a morning show featuring Kiki Hamann designs in May of 2012. She has been published in the Washington Post, Yahoo’s OMG! page and noted as one of the ‘cutest dogs in the world.’ She’s been on China Network News, Russian News for attending the Pre Westminster Fashion Show in 2012, which is an opening event for the prestigious Westminster Show.”
Now called the New York Pet Fashion Show, the event was held on Feb. 6. A percentage of the event’s proceeds are donated to the nonprofit organization “Animal Haven Rescue.” Oddo says aside from the blizzard conditions, there proved to be many participants who braved the weather and came to celebrate this important cause.
“Collectively, people and their dogs can dress in an old world, upscale manner, and enjoy the event, simultaneously, participate in a cause that helps provide shelter, food, and medical attention to our trusted, four-legged companions needing loving homes.”
It was while attending the New York Pet Fashion Show on Feb. 6, Sophia was spotted in the lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania where she was invited to a photo shoot by Landon Nordeman.
Oddo says, “His work is exquisite and Sophia’s photograph is now featured in the Feb. 13, 2013, issue of The New Yorker Magazine.” http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/photobooth/2013/02/slide-show-portraits-from-westminster-dog-show.html#slide_ss_0=2
“Sophia will also be in the Model Life Magazine, soon to be issued, featuring a Swarovski crystal harness dress by Kelly Owens,” says Oddo.
In addition to fashion, Oddo sends greeting cards with Sophia’s picture as the cover to seniors in senior citizens’ homes in Kentucky and Texas.
Meanwhile, the daily life of Sophia can be followed on her Facebook page at, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sophia-Oddo-White-Pomeranian.
Oddo says, “We will continue our adventures of traveling to new places and meeting new friends, provided Sophia remains happy in this activity. We are currently not compensated for her activities and if I ever see her spirit dampened, our adventures will lead us right back home. She is a wonderful blessing that I love more than I ever knew I had the capacity for.”