Rarebreed Walks the Walk with Anne’s Purple Pugs for Dempsey Challenge

Two men posing with a person wearing a blowup dinosaur costume
At Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, partnering with a hospital is about much more than just dollars and cents. Sometimes it is about honoring a veterinarian’s legacy by ensuring that a hospital, beaming with love and empathy, can continue to thrive despite the loss of its leader. Such was the case with Dr. Anne Del Borgo and Sunray Animal Clinic in Brunswick, Maine.

A Practice is Rescued

Anne had built her practice on compassion, selflessness, and a commitment to her hospital team. “Anne was calm, even-tempered, and would give you the shirt off your back,” said Sunray Animal Clinic practice leader Dr. Kathy Seymour. “She was very kind and gentle with animals.” But in 2019, Anne faced a grim diagnosis of terminal breast cancer. That’s when Rarebreed CEO Dan Espinal and Partner of Corporate Development and Strategy Matt Campbell lent a helping hand. “As Anne declined in her battle with cancer, she was looking for a place to transition her beautiful practice,” said Dan. “Matt and I met with Anne several times and learned about her ethos and how she could best care for her employees. She had the longest-tenured staff I’d ever seen.” When Anne passed away in August 2019, Rarebreed partnered with Dr. Seymour to help preserve this special and close-knit practice. “Matt was instrumental in saving Sunray after Anne died,” Dr. Seymour said. “Matt and I had a strong connection, and he truly rescued the clinic for her.”

Anne’s Purple Pugs Team Is Born

We honor and remember Anne’s legacy through Sunray’s commitment to The Dempsey Challenge, an annual run, walk, and cycle fundraiser for the Dempsey Center, a community dedicated to improving the lives of those managing the impact of cancer. “After Anne died, I thought we needed to do something positive, and I thought of Dempsey,” said Dr. Seymour. Last year, a colleague suggested the team name, Anne’s Purple Pugs, because Anne loved the color purple and pugs. Clients, employees, and patients came together (including a paralyzed pug in a stroller with Anne’s picture on it) and raised $23,000 for the center.

Gratitude and Support Go a Long Way

Despite this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, Anne’s Purple Pugs team forged ahead, this time joined by Dan and Matt to honor Anne’s memory. Matt, a survivor of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, said, “I wanted to walk with Sunray’s team because it always feels good to remember how lucky I am to be alive, and I want to make a difference, so fewer people have to suffer from cancer.” Dan was also dedicated from the beginning and said, “Many of our veterinary partners, who are leaders in the community, participate, and for some of us, it is very personal. Anne was one of the best leaders I had ever met.” He added, “I felt gratitude for this amazing team who clearly loves their furry friends, miss and honor Anne and do the great work day in and day out to support the companions of the Brunswick community.” It was a special day. Dr. Seymour donned an inflatable dinosaur costume, and the team raised $21,000. We are powered by warm hearts, community care and an unwavering commitment to preserving legacy. Our partnerships transcend business transactions. This community is The Rarebreed Way, creating exceptional work and life experiences, one partnership at a time.