By Kris Gilbertson
Even the most casual visitor to the Village at Shirlington will tune into the pet-friendly atmosphere of this South Arlington neighborhood nestled up to I-395 and Quaker Lane. Did you know that Shirlington was the first large shopping center to open in the Washington, DC, suburbs and one of the earliest in the United States? It was 1944, and it was nothing like it is today.
Since 2005, Shirlington has seen massive residential construction and commercial expansion, with a booming population of owners and renters, and furry family members. Now the cats and dogs of Shirlington and surrounding neighborhoods like Fairlington, Parkfairfax, and Nauck can practically walk to see their vet because, on March 9, the Shirlington Animal Hospital opened for business.
SAH (Shirlington Animal Hospital) is located on the lower level between Dogma Bakery & Boutique and the Bungalow Sports Bar. The unit that formerly housed a dentist’s office has been transformed with calming, neutral colors and bright lighting into a welcoming environment for humans and pets alike.
Leading the hospital are veterinarians Dr. Dana Carr and Dr. Adrienne Hergen, whom both bring extensive experience and multiple areas of specialization to the practice. Dr. Carr graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She came to the DC area in 2006 as an intern at Friendship Hospital for Animals in the District, then joined the Friendship staff.
Dr. Hergen is an Alexandria native who studied at UNC-Chapel Hill and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. She practiced at Del Ray Animal Hospital from 2008 until joining SAH. Dr. Hergen calls herself a local sports fan, mainly the Redskins, Orioles, Capitals, and the Tarheels (UNC). “I will watch (the Nationals),” she says, “but they were not here while I was growing up, so my allegiance is really to the Orioles.”
Drs. Hergen and Carr are supported by a friendly and capable staff of veterinary assistants including George Montenegro, Charity Feit, and Caitlin O’Fallon, plus receptionists Kristen Melita and Ashley Swain.
Although space is constrained, the hospital is equipped with two exam rooms, treatment areas, a glass-walled surgery suite, pharmacy, and laboratory, and accommodations for pets sized from small cats to giant Great Danes. (The hospital lodges patients when medically necessary, but does not board healthy pets.) The “large dog exam room” sports a combination table and scale that sinks to the floor, then elevates to a level that is ergonomically correct for both dog and doctor.
Cutting-edge technology includes digital x-ray and ultrasound with immediate output, and equipment to run tests such as blood chemistry and clotting profiles in just 15 minutes. Networked patient records can be accessed in any part of the clinic or outside.
Both veterinarians and their staff are committed to serving the neighborhood. “These communities are very pet-friendly generally speaking, and all of the businesses in Shirlington are very pet-friendly as well,” says Dr. Hergen.
SAH is a sponsor of the Shirlington Dog Park along Four Mile Run; volunteers with the Animal Welfare Leagues of Arlington and Alexandria, and partners with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a local foster group that finds homes for strays from other locations, particularly states to the south.
The hospital website (www.shirlingtonanimalhospital.com) maintains a comprehensive list of links to information and assistance with veterinary issues. In addition, clinic staff are happy to help clients learn about and complete pet insurance forms.Moreover, patients are happy. After less than two months in operation, Shirlington Animal Hospital gets rave reviews from grateful pet parents on social media and by word of mouth. Convenient and loving, SAH is new to the neighborhood but is rooted in tradition, skill and commitment.
Shirlington Animal Hospital
2770 S. Arlington Mill Road
Arlington, VA 22206
Find SAH on Facebook.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
New patients will be scheduled quickly. The clinic has pre-set estimates for services and customized estimates after examination so that clients know what to expect. “We want to accommodate every owner,” says Dr. Hergen.