by Linda Ayres
Meet Sarah Bowman, VMD and Wendy Knight, DVM
Veterinarians Sarah Bowman and Wendy Knight became friends working at Old Dominion Animal Health Center in McLean, Virginia. Sitting on a beach while on a Belize vacation, they decided to start a practice together. CityPaws seemed a catchy name – and one near the beginning of the alphabet. Bowman’s husband designed the logo: the DC flag with paws instead of stars.
In 2006, the two opened their first CityPaws on 14th Street where their clients were mainly young professionals with their first and only “children,” namely dogs. Ten years later, they opened a second CityPaws on Connecticut Avenue at Sam’s Park & Shop. Both knew the neighborhood and thought it would be an ideal place to expand their services. “Cleveland Park has a small-town feel, and we want to be part of that community and build relationships with families and their pets. It’s great to feel part of something. That brings us joy,” said Dr. Bowman.
Both women have loved animals since they were children. While in kindergarten, Dr. Bowman asked her dad to write away for information on vet schools, and Dr. Knight’s father brought home ducks, hedgehogs, and chinchillas. Dr. Bowman, a Washingtonian, went to Murch and Maret and earned her degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Knight, who hails from eastern Tennessee, received her DVM from the University of Tennessee.
The 14th Street location has six female vets and one male vet, while all the vets in Cleveland Park are women. Although they didn’t seek to build an all-female practice, it is becoming the norm in their field. Almost 90% of the students in Bowman’s class were women. Most of the vets in Cleveland Park’s CityPaws grew up in the area and attended local schools Madeira, Maret, Holton-Arms, and Stone Ridge.
The Cleveland Park practice serves not only young professionals but also families with kids as well as retirees. Their patients here also include many more cats. “There is a different vibe than at 14th Street,” observed Bowman, “and we enjoy the variety.” While most of their patients are either canine or feline, CityPaws vets have also treated reptiles and birds, spayed a sugar glider (flying squirrel), and count a hedgehog in their current patient files.
Neighborhood residents can walk with their pets to the Cleveland Park location, though many take advantage of the parking at Sam’s Park & Shop. They frequent the practice both for routine wellness visits as well as for medical emergencies. No two days are alike. The vets conduct dental and surgical outpatient procedures, provide lab testing and radiology, and work with a service for mobile ultrasounds. CityPaws offers a full as well as online pharmacy, prescription diets, and preventatives for fleas/ticks and heart health. They also issue international health certificates for those working at embassies or the State Department.
Members of the Cleveland Park Business Association, both women are committed to engagement with the community. They participated in last summer’s Uptown Shuffle event and work with City Dogs and the Humane Rescue Alliance on pet adoptions. In addition to donating to local school auctions, they host tours for Girl Scouts and Beauvoir kids to learn about checkups for animals and take home junior stethoscopes. They also host two-week interactive senior projects for Maret girls. And, if residents drop off any unused animal medications, CityPaws will make sure they get to Puerto Rico’s Humane Society to help animals in need there.