(Virginia Beach, Va., Oct. 14, 2022) – Soon after opening its second Hampton Roads clinic earlier this year, Animal Vision Center of Virginia has finalized plans to open another practice in one of the region’s oldest historic buildings. According to Dr. Heather Brookshire, her veterinary ophthalmic care business will expand to occupy the Pembroke Manor House at 520 Constitution Drive in Virginia Beach.

“We are so excited to be the new owners of this historic home and grounds,” said Brookshire. “The look and feel of Pembroke Manor make it an ideal location as a healing practice for ophthalmic animal care. We look forward to being conscientious new stewards of the property.”

Located on approximately one acre in Virginia Beach’s Pembroke neighborhood, the brick Georgian-style home sits on property given by the King of England in 1635 to Adam Thoroughgood, a community leader in the Virginia Colony. Over the years, the land was divided among the family’s heirs, including Capt. Jonathan Saunders who built Pembroke Manor in 1764. Other family members occupied the home over time, until the Kellam family bought the manor house and grounds in 1781.

More recently, the home housed a private school and a technology company. It is listed on the Virginia Beach Historic Register, the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

To reimagine the home’s interior as a veterinary clinic, without taking away from the historic nature of the home, Brookshire and her team are working with several firms specializing in preservation and adaptive use. They include: Gerrie West of Dills Architects and Cliff Ringenberg of Ringenberg Construction in Virginia Beach; Merryn Williams Designs in Lexington, Va.; and Commonwealth Preservation Group, a Norfolk firm that provides design solutions sensitive to the historic character of significant buildings while meeting the needs of modern occupants and uses.  Brookshire and the design team just received conceptual approval on their renovation/rehabilitation plans from the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond, Virginia.

William “Billy” Almond and the landscape architect team at WPL in Virginia Beach are helping to revitalize the grounds and improve the use for dogs. Among the site plans is a low-vision park for dogs with vision impairments—a longed-for project that Brookshire is excited to bring to fruition.

“We will have space for this special park and space for our clients to enjoy when bringing their pets to the clinic,” Brookshire said. “While undergoing minor renovations and maintenance over the next few months, the home and grounds will maintain the look and feel of a comforting home for pets in need of ocular care.”

Animal Vision Center of Virginia at Pembroke Manor will be open for appointments beginning in early 2023.

To give the community a sneak peek of the clinic and grounds, Brookshire and her team are hosting a Historic Howl ‘o Ween at the Mansion,” Saturday, Oct. 29 from 12 to 5 p.m. for people and pets. Admission is by a self-selected donation to benefit Compassion for Canines in Windsor. This foster-based rescue organization rehabilitates homeless dogs with health issues, then matches them with foster families until they are placed in their forever homes. Activities at the event will include:

  • Trick or treat for pets and young humans
  • Pet costume contest on the grounds
  • “Puppachinos” and bobbing for hotdogs for pets
  • Devilish delights from the Bumbling Bee Vegan Junk Food truck
  • Tours of the Manor House
  • An exhibit of Pembroke Manor renovation renderings
  • Adoption event with Compassion for Canines

This month marks Animal Vision Center of Virginia’s seventh year in business, serving pets of all shapes and sizes in Hampton Roads. The first location on Old Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach opened in October 2015. This July, Dr. Brookshire expanded into Chesapeake’s Great Bridge area with the opening of a second location on Mt. Pleasant Road. The clinic offers a full array of animal eye care services, including exams and diagnosis, medical therapies, genetic testing for ocular conditions, and surgery. To learn more about Animal Vision Center of Virginia, visit www.animalvisioncenterva.com.