Veterinarians Mark Johnson and Don Powell converted the old Pender United Methodist Church in the Fair Oaks area into a veterinary practice more than 30 years ago and have watched their practice grow.
Now it includes the Pender Veterinary Center, the Eastern Exotic Veterinary Center, the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Fair Oaks, Dulles Gateway Kennels and the Pender Pet Caring Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides money for animal care.
This month, Johnson and Powell saw their animal planet expand again. The Pet Caring Foundation dedicated a memorial park where patrons and others can purchase an engraved brick in remembrance of a beloved pet.
Tax-deductible donations benefit the foundation. Bricks cost $150 and can be engraved with up to three lines, each line containing up to 16 characters.
The memorial park, on the grounds of the Pender Veterinary Center at 4001 Legato Rd., is a place where customers can walk their dogs before and after appointments and where veterinary staff members can walk dogs that are boarding or recuperating from medical procedures.
The park includes a walkway paved with red bricks, some already inscribed with a memorial message, as well as terraced areas and a raised circular garden with a bronze statue of a boy holding a dog.
Established in 1997, the foundation supports the training of guide and assisted living dogs, adoption programs and the treatment of sick or injured animals that belong to people who are indigent.
In addition, the foundation supports studies in companion animal health and supports continuing education in the veterinary medicine field. Over the past nine years, the foundation has given $130,000.
For more information, call 703-591-3304 or visit www.penderpetcaring.org.