Debbie and Marv Thornton purchased their first dog from Lou Lomax of Tabu Kennels in Salinas, CA. in 1983. As it was to be, the dog did not turn out to be a show dog, so Debbie purchased an adult champion female (Tess) from Lou and this bitch became Cypress Bay's foundation stock. During this time, the Thornton's moved from Monterey, CA. to Newtown, PA. This move benefited the kennel as Peggy and Dave Helming's kennel (Pouch Cove) was only an hour away in New Jersey. The Helmings were most generous with their time and advice. The Cypress Bay kennel was about to start on a glorious adventure. Cypress Bay moved to Scottsville, VA, its current location, in 2001.

The first litter for the Thornton's was from the breeding of Ch. Ziourgang Contessa Tabu (Tess) X Ch. Mooncusser's Reef of Pouch Cove. This litter produced Ch. Cypress Bays Cosette of Tabu (Cozy), Cypress Bay's first homegrown champion and ROM. In the years to follow Cypress Bay produced many well known dogs including Ch. Cypress Bay's Can Do Cassandra ROM (Cassie), who won Best Opposite at the 1993 and 1994 National Specialties. Her daughter, Ch. Cypress Bay's Dai of Summer (Summer) followed her mother the following year as a Select at the 1995 national specialty. Cassie's son Ch. Cypress Bay's Pouch Cove Chestr ROM (Chester) who won Best Opposite at the 1997 National Specialty has sired a number of Best in Show dogs. Another son Ch. Cypress Bay's Stormin Norman (Norman), has been selected as the Newfoundland head piece representative for the cover of books, mugs, computer mouse pads and drink coasters sold by the Xpres Company of North Carolina. Debbie has bred several dozen Newfoundlands that have gone on to earn their champion title. In February of 2005, Ch. Cypress Bay See-Sea Baby ("Baby"), a bitch bred by and co-owned by Debbie, earned the No. 1 ranking in breed points for Newfoundlands in the United States. "Baby" followed this with an impressive Best of Breed win at Westminster in 2006. In 2014 GCH CH Cypress Bays Big Sur has earned #1 Newfoundland All Systems and #12 Working Dog.

Debbie continues her love of dogs by showing and breeding and as a Newfoundland Club of America mentor. She is also an AKC Judge of the Working Group, the Irish Wolfhound, Borzoi, Greyhound, Whippet, PBGV, Dachshund, Basset Hound, Saluki, and Rhodesian Ridgeback in the Hound Group. Debbie also judges the Misc. group, Junior and Best In Show. She is a member of the Newfoundland Club of America. She serves as the Treasurer of the Hatboro Dog Club and is a member of the Dog Judges Association and the American Dog Show Judges, Inc.

In the spring of 2005 Debbie watched a number of sick, stray dogs on the beach in Mexico and decided to do something to help. In collaboration with renowned Acapulco veterinarian Dr. Eusebio Gomez Duque she formed the Animal Care Association of Mexico which was formally accredited by the Mexican Federal government in late 2005. This Association is now spaying and neutering stray dogs and cats, educating the public as to the problem and training new vets in the surgical process; all free of charge. The Association is funded through donations by concerned Mexican and US citizen, hotels and corporations. The Association's website can be seen in the Links section or by clicking here.
The Animal Care Association of Mexico