By Britney Grover
No horse show would be complete without an abundance of other four-legged friends: dogs. Both Georgia Spogli and CeCe Durante Bloum were well aware of that fact when they founded Thrive Animal Rescue in San Diego, California. Based at CeCe’s Newmarket Farm, just a mile from the Del Mar Racetrack CeCe frequented in her youth with her famous father, Jimmy Durante, Thrive was founded in 2014 with the mission to save shelter dogs and place them with loving, forever families. Since then, the equestrian community and beyond have supported Thrive and enabled many canines to do just that — thrive.
“It’s because of the equestrian community that Thrive had such an outstanding first year,” said Susie Saladino, Thrive’s social media director. “Thrive had a Facebook page and Instagram account long before a website. When starting on those platforms, CeCe and I invited all of our friends to follow. We knew the majority of them from decades of riding and horse showing, so most of our initial adopters were people within the equestrian world.”
Equestrian donors helped Thrive get its start, and equestrians continue to be an integral part of Thrive’s success. Thrive and its dogs can often be found at Blenheim Equisports horse shows, spreading awareness and looking for adoptive families. “Although we have now branched out further than the horse shows in terms of events, adopters and donors, we recognize that we owe a debt of gratitude to the people who helped us get started,” said Susie.
Though there are kennels available at Newmarket Farm for dogs that need immediate help, most Thrive dogs go directly into foster homes, where their personality traits and needs can be assessed. Thrive generally takes in dogs that are most in need, including seniors or those with medical issues, and who are friendly towards other dogs.
“Most of our Thrive dogs come from shelters in Southern California,” said founder CeCe Bloum. “When we pull dogs, we look for family-friendly dogs and dogs that get along with other dogs. Most of our adopters, like our horse show followers, have dogs that are around other dogs and must be people-friendly. The shelter staff at our local San Diego shelters will let us know when they have a good candidate for a ‘Thrive dog.’”
But not all Thrive dogs are from San Diego: Thrive has pulled dogs from all over Southern California and beyond, wherever the need is greatest. After the devastating floods in Louisiana last year that impacted over 100,000 homes, Thrive coordinated with other San Diego area rescues and were able to evacuate 65 dogs and ultimately place them in new homes — including some just minutes away from euthanasia. This year, Thrive reached out to support the Humane Society of Imperial County in El Centro, California. Due to soaring unemployment rates in El Centro, shelters are overflowing and struggling to keep up with the needs of so many abandoned animals. In addition to taking as many dogs as possible to rehome, Thrive left supplies to help the Humane Society care for the unceasing influx of dogs.
Other dogs in dire shelter situations that Thrive seeks to help are senior dogs and those with extreme medical needs. “There is a huge need to help the older dogs that are dumped in the shelters and discarded,” said CeCe. “We would like to keep saving seniors and placing them in homes to live out their golden years loved and taken care of. Thrive has committed to cover the cost of our senior dogs to ensure this happens.”
Thrive also commits to covering the costs of several serious medical needs each year. “There are many dogs on the euthanasia list at the shelters that will not make it out if a rescue does not step up to help,” CeCe said. “We commit to three to four major medical cases a year. Hip surgery from being hit by a car, wound care from being attacked and leg amputations are a few medical needs we committed to this year and those dogs are thriving in their forever homes.”
With continued support from donors and events such as horse shows and the recent South Coast Plaza shopping day, where 10 percent of all proceeds were donated, Thrive’s future looks bright — an outlook it will continue to give to as many dogs as possible. “We now have a wish list from adopters, and we make it our goal to search the shelters for suitable dogs when a Thrive adopter has filled out an application,” CeCe shared. “We are committed to finding great dogs and educating the public that there are wonderful dogs waiting in shelters to find their forever homes. ‘Adopt; don’t shop’ is our motto.”
For more information, visit thriveanimalrescue.com.
Photos courtesy of Thrive Animal Rescue, unless noted otherwise