Like many girls, Nicole and Sarah Dobson loved horses.

Like many girls, Nicole and Sarah Dobson loved horses.

The Westerville sisters, ages 15 and 11, respectively, were killed in December 2009. Information from Westerville police indicated they were shot by their father, Daniel J. Dobson, who then shot and killed himself.

The girls had bonded with the animals at PBJ Connections, a central Ohio equine therapy center, said PBJ founder Holly Jedlica. Jedlica and partner Glenda Childress were overwhelmed when they learned that Nicole and Sarah had been murdered.

"We, of course, were very devastated about what happened It was a tragedy and we felt very helpless," Jedlicka said.

Together, they decided that a garden on the grounds of PBJ's Pataskala farm would be a fitting tribute to the girls. They hope the garden will be a quiet, meditative area for parents and siblings of PBJ patients.

"That was really our theme - to have a peaceful place for families because there's a lack of peace in families these days," Jedlica said.

She and Childress founded the nonprofit PBJ Connections in 2006. The facility provides mental health and behavioral therapy for youths and families. Patients work with the animals during sessions, assisted by a therapist.

"Horses are prey animals, so they have heightened senses," she said. "If people aren't congruent in their feelings and their behaviors they perceive that incongruence."

A therapist can tell a lot about a patient by how he or she reacts to the horse, she said.

In the past four years, PBJ has held more than 1,100 treatment sessions, including some with Nicole and Sarah Dobson.

"The horses meant everything to them, especially to (Nicole)," Jedlica said.

The garden, which was designed by Spellacy's Turf-Lawn of Galena, will be recessed into a hillside on a farm.

"It's going to be about 14 feet in diameter with an arbor over the top," Jedlica said.

A lot of the materials and the physical labor for the project have been donated, but more are needed.

"The biggest thing that we're trying to secure is a granite rock that will create the face of the wall," Jedlica said.

After Spellacy's donation, the cost of the remaining needed materials is about $7,000, she said.

"This garden represents the peace and calm that Nicole was able to find while working with our horses," Jedlica said.

For more information, visit www.Pbjconnections.org.