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The Paw

Innovative Schweiss Doors Lift Provides Versatility For Multi-Discipline Pet Care Business

In Mankato, MN, one business is going to the dogs, literally. The Paw is an innovative pet care facility that offers a whole host of services. In addition to being a pet daycare, it offers medical care, rehabilitation, grooming, exercise programs and organizes and hosts social events. Helping the business operate safely and efficiently is was a one-of-a-kind liftable divider door from Schweiss Doors.

Tom Yenish put his background in hotel management to good use when conceiving The Paw as a business and physical operation. He determined the design of the 27,000-square-foot facility, which was built in 2007, and came up with the idea for a later-added feature, a one-of-a-kind gate measuring 44 feet, 10-1/2 inches. It's used to divide a 46-foot by 96-foot room where dogs can come inside the building for exercise in hot or cold weather, and where a lot of the training is done. To build the gate, he reached out to Schweiss Doors.

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 nor bifold door, both of which 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, hard on the floor and potentially dangerous to animals if dropped while placing. 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 upgrade.

"I first became acquainted with Schweiss Doors when I visited their display at the state fair two years in a row,” Yenish recalls. “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 salespeople at the state fair to jump on my wagon and then I talked to the design people, Brent and Jeremy, at Schweiss Doors. They got the vision of what we wanted, then they 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.”

The indoor gate serves multiple functions. By separating the room into two halves, employees at The Paw can conduct different training programs on both sides at the same time. Large dogs can be separated from smaller dogs, or bad dogs from good dogs, etc.

Schweiss Doors installed all the framework, five patented liftstraps and a 2-horsepower 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-pound sturdy gate where the workers and even the larger dogs could peer above it to the other half of the room.

"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.” Yenish says. “When we are not using it, it is in no one’s way. It was fairly inexpensive. Price-wise the Schweiss gate was fairly comparable to a pocket door.”

And that falls exactly into the Schweiss Designer Door motto of "If You Think It – We Build It!" In this case Mike Schweiss, owner of Schweiss Doors, said he was honored to help design and manufacture the first liftstrap dog gate to add another happy and satisfied customer to his list.

When asked if he had the opportunity to do anything different with the gate, Yenish responded, "No I probably wouldn't change anything. It exceeded my expectations. The headache of what we used to have is gone forever. There are no legs to trip over or dividers getting in the way. There's no wasted space, we really cherish that. The gate has increased flexibility and revenue. What really tickles me, is that with my idea they (Schweiss) made it happen.

"In our industry you can't be in it without separated environments,” Yenish continued. “You have to be able to separate your clients. Everyday separations are going to be a little different. With a push a button the gate gives us separation. It doesn't get a whole lot easier in our world than to push a button. If a whole lot of other pet resorts followed our lead they would be far ahead of the game.”​

About Schweiss Doors

Schweiss-logoSchweiss Doors is the premier manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doors. Doors are custom made to any size for any type of new or existing building for architects and builders determined to do amazing things with their buildings, including the doors. Schweiss also offers a cable to liftstrap conversion package. To learn more, visit or

And to learn about Schweiss' new Build Your Own Door Kit, which gives customers the plans and essential components to build their own Schweiss Doors, visit

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