For Miami Herald.

Residents of Surfside who walk down Harding Avenue may notice a new business that opened earlier last month.

The Veterinary Wellness Center of Surfside is the first of it’s kind in the neighborhood.

“It’s exciting to start something new,” said Dr. David Carmona, 38, who went through various obstacles while pursuing his dream of opening a pet clinic in the town where he’s spent the majority of his life.

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Carmona moved here when he was 14 and went to college and veterinary school at the University of Florida before ultimately returning to Surfside.

He is now married with two kids, Shae, 8, and Kai, 5. His wife is a modern dancer who owns the Pilates Room at 163rd Street and West Dixie Highway in North Miami Beach.

When Carmona found out that an AT&T store at 9530 Harding Ave. was moving, he began to pursue his dream of starting his own veterinary center.

But he soon learned that any veterinary business was “specifically prohibited” in Surfside, according to a town zoning code instituted during the 1960s.

Carmona didn’t allow that to stop him.

“You know when something feels right, you feel like you have to keep going,” he said.

He gathered community support, bringing an “army of animal lovers” to present his idea at numerous meetings at Town Hall.

“It was impossible almost,” said Carmona, who previously worked at Pines West Animal Hospital in Pembroke Pines. “It was so difficult and there was so many things.”

After finally getting the approval, Carmona began construction in March.

His entire practice is everything he’s ever wanted, completely computerized and offering services like dental radiography.

“We have no paper records and everything is pretty much seamless as far as inventory,” he said.

His clients have access to their pet’s records whenever they need it, through an online server and all receipts are emailed.

The center is having an open house on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.

“It’s great to be here,” said Carmona. “Five blocks from my house with my friends and neighbors.”


What: Open house at Veterinary Wellness Center

When: 6 p.m. on Nov. 13

Where: 9530 Harding Ave., Surfside

Cost: Free

For more information: Call 786-768-2256 or visit

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