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Innovative Schweiss gate gives versatility to The Paw

May 21, 2013 |
BD+C Staff

Contemplate this description of a popular Mankato, Minn., facility: "Daycare, rehabilitation, grooming spa, spacious suites with in-floor heat, raised beds, exercise program, pool, reservations required, therapeutic laser class treatments, post operative care, hydrotherapy, kindergarten, parties and social activities."

Leads you to think that you might be visiting a five-star resort, doesn’t it?

Well in a manner of speaking, you are partially correct, although this resort is exclusively frequented by dogs and cats.

The Paw is an innovative pet care concept, where its 18-person staff strives to provide its furry guests a place filled with fun and enrichment and being cared for in a nurturing, controlled environment. While at the same time offering toys, games, relaxation, companionship, food and nap time —it’s a dogs life in the best manner of speaking.

Heading up the operation is Tom Yenish, who not surprisingly comes from a background of hotel management, the people-kind, at Grand Stay Hotel in Ft. Meyers, Florida. His brainpower went into the construction of the 27,000 sq. ft facility built in 2007 and a unique 44 ft. 10.5” first of its kind Schweiss Doors gate that is used to separate a 46 ft. x 96 ft. room where dogs can come inside the building for exercise in hot or cold weather and where a lot of the training is done.

In explaining the Schweiss gate, Yenish said “It’s really a futuristic design.” In a manner of speaking, it truly is because it is neither a hydraulic or bifold door as Schweiss Doors is famous for. Prior to having the electric operating lifting gate, two employees had a number of single piece partitions they would have to zigzag across the floor. It was time consuming and hard on the floor and if they dropped, an animal could be injured. Now a push of a button on the indoor gate lifts and lowers the door quietly in less than a minute. The employees really appreciate the gate.

“I first became acquainted with Schweiss Doors when I visited their display at the State Fair two years in a row. I had to talk them into doing this project. I had to make a picture in their mind of what we wanted. We thought about this project for quite some time. I got the Schweiss sales people at the state fair to jump on my wagon and then I talked to the design people, Brent and Jeremy, at Schweiss Doors. Until they got the vision of what we wanted, they then made it happen. They had never built a gate like this before, and maybe built it more heavy duty because safety was a huge factor,” said Yenish.

The Paw has a therapeutic program utilizing a certified veterinary technician and certified canine rehabilitation practitioner. If your canine just needs preventative injury exercise or weight loss, you may consider the underwater treadmill for safe and controlled exercise. Laser therapy offered by The Paw accelerates the animals natural healing process through photo-bio-modulation. It’s effective in treating chronic and acute conditions and post-surgical pain and inflammation. Post operative care also falls into this category.

“The secret to this Schweiss product is ... it’s a minute to put it up and a minute to put it down and you don’t have to put it away. When we are not using it, it is in no ones way. It was fairly inexpensive. Pricewise the Schweiss gate was fairly comparable to a pocket door.” said Yenish.

Schweiss Doors installed all the framework, five patented liftstraps and a 2 h.p. top-mounted motor. Yenish applied a brown steel panel sheeting to the lower portion of the gate and clear unbreakable polycarbonate panels above that on the top half. He also painted the framework himself. The result was an approximate 1,500 lb. sturdy gate where the workers and even the larger dogs could peer above it to the other half of the room.

“This is an industry that is evolving as we speak. Things had to happen. The mentality of a dog was off a farm where dogs slept outside and we might feed them a table scrap once in a while. Then the  day came where city folks wanted a dog and it was in the house. Once that happened that’s when our industry blossomed,” explained Yenish.

BD+C Staff | Products at Work

The Building Team Blog serves as the primary platform for BD+C's editorial team to opine about all things related to the AEC market, from the latest design tools to green building trends. Building Team Bloggers include Robert Cassidy, Editorial Director (, David Barista, Editor-in-Chief (, John Caulfield, Senior Editor (, and David Malone (

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