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Colors to Please Pets and Pet Parents

Posted on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 @ 03:53 PM

Color sends people messages hundreds of times each day, including the moment they walk up to your facility. Color can make us happy one minute and anxious the next.

“People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial reactions with either people or products. About 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone,” reported Satyendra Singh of the University of Winnipeg in her research. 


How does color choice influence your customers? You actually have two audiences—the pets and their pet parents. In a perfect world, both would like the color choices.

What dogs see

For years the book on dogs and cats was that they only saw in black and white. Research has now determined that dogs do see some color.

Both humans and dogs have special light catching cells called cones inside their eyes. These cones respond to color. However, dogs only have two types of cones while humans have three. Researchers believe this is why dogs see much like a color-blind person—able to see some color but not the whole spectrum.

Jay Neitz at the University of California, Santa Barbara, tested the color vision of dogs and found that they see a spectrum of green, yellow, blue and gray. An article in Psychology Today by Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., suggests a dog’s vision spectrum is like the chart below.  


Veterinary Vision, Inc., in San Francisco is a group of veterinary ophthalmologists. The practice’s website shared research on what dogs see. “Behavior tests in dogs suggest that they can distinguish red and blue colors but often confuse green and red,” an article on the website reports. 

So, if pet parents wonder why their dog can’t find the red ball in the green lawn, color might be the issue. A blue ball would be better.

What Resonates with Pet Parents

Singh predicted that the blue would dominate design the first decade of the 21st century with complementary colors gray, taupe, aqua and pale brown providing accents. Fortunately for the companion animal world, these trends fall nicely in line with what animals prefer as well.


An American Express Open Forum article shared current research on what messages color sends about your business. This Shor-Line cat condo shows how you can send several messages with pops of color. The clean white interior shows you value cleanliness. The pop of blue and green are trustworthy and down to earth. The gray anchors the condo with a stable, calming presence.

You don’t have to bathe your business in color to create an emotional connection. In an article in Entrepreneur magazine, Jane Porter explained that subtle uses of color can evoke memories. In dog daycare and boarding facilities, a beach theme is common because pet owners want to think of their pet having a vacation just like they are having. Blues, greens, tans and yellow can trigger visions of water, palm trees, sand and sunshine.

Welcoming Color

Let color be your friend in creating a welcoming atmosphere for people and pets. Even small touches add fun. At Shor-Line, we have added the Blue-Line products with a color accent around our durable stainless steel tables. 

Enjoy using color in your business, and send us some pictures about your people- and pet-friendly facility designs!


Tags: veterinary, Facility Design, Industry Trends, boarding and daycare, color in facility design

Behind the Scenes with Atwater Veterinary Center's Winning Build

Posted on Thu, Mar 05, 2015 @ 11:25 AM


The veterinarians at Atwater Veterinary Center in California took a page from the silver linings playbook when they reframed losing their facility to eminent domain into building their dream hospital.

“I guess you would call it a forced opportunity, but ultimately a great step forward for our practice,” said Dr. Carol Chiffelle, the veterinarian who headed up the build.

A Race Against Time

It all started when a highway in California was scheduled to reroute through the facility they had occupied since 1973. That set off a race to make decisions, get financing and permits in place and complete construction in time to create their new ground-up build while continuing to practice medicine for their current patient population.

No pressure there.

They were able to start construction in February 2014, but the old facility was demolished in April 2014. That meant for five months the ENTIRE Atwater staff shared quarters with the nearby Merced office. Twice the staff in half the space made the team look forward to the spacious new hospital! 

It took patience and persistence to stay focused on the future

“We wished to have a modern, state of the art, efficient hospital that would serve our needs for many years to come,” explained Dr. Chiffelle. “The design we desired was clean, professional, yet welcoming.  


“The reception area in particular, was critical to us...we wanted an area that had adequate space to accommodate clients and their pets—an area that was comfortable, visually appealing.”

Choosing an architect

Dr. Chiffelle said choosing the right architect and contractor was stressful but an especially important part of the process. 

“We had reviewed many design books and found bits and pieces that we liked, but ultimately, we left the design to Rauhaus, Freedenfeld & Associates.  Rich [Rauh] brought many, many great ideas to the table, suggestions we might never have considered without his expertise.”

When they interviewed architects, they instinctively knew rapport would be important. With the radical timeline, it proved to be absolutely essential to have mutual communication and trust. 

“There are so many details in a new facility that are just mind boggling,” she remembered. “Rich's expertise is veterinary hospital design, and he knows what works, what doesn't and was a tremendous guide to the contractor as well.” 


Envisioning the new facility

The Atwater veterinarians—Mike Copeland, Chiffelle, Nicole Ekblom, Paul Cook, and Keely Bertram—had a vision for improvements they wanted to practice medicine even better than they had been able to before. Top on the list were: 

  • Separate dental suite
  • Designated radiology suite
  • Isolation area with exterior door to minimize hospital contamination from infectious disease cases
  • Comfort/consultation room

Blending the new with existing equipment

The contractor, Huff Construction, worked closely with the team to build the facility for veterinary efficiency. The goal was to blend old and new products to create a good flow. Building their dream facility sometimes required what Chiffelle called “value engineering” to stay within budget. But in the end, the center was filled with high-quality, durable material and equipment.

Some old favorites that made the trip over from the old facility were the Shor-Line Classic Surgery Table and Shor-Line cage banks.

“We utilized the Shor-Line cages from the old clinic for the most part.  They were in very good condition despite being 40+ years old!” she said. 


The cat condos and kennels were new construction to implement current thinking in dog and cat boarding. 

“The cat condos were a must on our wish list.  Quality and durability in this area were critical.  And the aesthetics are great!” she said.

The new Shor-Line Kennel runs contain features to provide comfort for the dogs and ease of care for the staff. “Our boarders love the glass doors!  We love the Lazy-Susan food and water bowl holders to limit dogs trying to escape while feeding,” she said.


The team selected new wet tables, surgery lights and equipment with the goal of lasting for decades. The choices all worked together to show a beautiful facility also could be durable and easy to clean.

A Beautiful Ending

The new Atwater Veterinary Center opened its doors in September 2014. The gorgeous stone front echoes the distant strength and beauty of the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains.

“Our architect has a great interest in the effect of environment on people and their pets, and he created a beautiful, light space with vaulted wood ceiling, large expanses of glass windows, stone columns and a seating area with faux tree to capture the relaxing essence of the outdoors,” she said. “This created a lovely, open-feeling workspace for doctors and our entire team.“


The hard work of Chiffelle, her partners and the Atwater staff, Rich Rauh, AIA, of Rauhaus Freedenfeld and Associates, won the 2015 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition. The project was completed with Huff Construction and Kris Pigman, developer. The advice Chiffelle offers to other practices looking to build is:

  • Identify your long-term needs and goals well before you start.
  • Find an architect that will be responsive and you have rapport with; and listen to the architect on timelines.
  • Establish a good relationship with your bank. It will take time to interview banks, and they will be competitive with each other.
  • Choose a contractor who has done multiple veterinary hospitals because it is a unique construction with tricky details.

 And her final piece of advice: “Hug your spouse. A lot. They are going to need it!”

 Photos by Larry Falke, Larry Falke Photography.

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Tags: Facility Design, animal care shor-line industry trends dog kennels

Millennials and Optimism: Exciting Kickoff to 2015

Posted on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 @ 02:28 PM

There was electricity in the air at the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) that was palatable despite the cool January temperatures. The economic cloud of the Great Recession has lifted for most in the veterinary field. It felt like a celebration.

Research tells us there is a lot to celebrate. Millennials (18-35) are bringing pets into their lives at rapidly increasing raNew_sales_blog_115tes. In fact, dog ownership by Millennials and GenX is higher than the Baby Boom generation.

All this is great news for companion animals because Millennials are taking the human-animal bond to new heights. They are most likely to consider their pets as children or “furry babies.”

This comes at a time when veterinary medicine can do more than ever to increase the health and longevity of our best friends. It truly is a golden age to be a pet!

Those of us in the animal care industry—veterinary, grooming, boarding, daycare and training—have the challenge of meeting the needs of this new generation of pet owners. And yes, it will be important to heed the call of the Millennials.

This will be the year the Millennials overtake the Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. Tempered by the Great Recession and nurtured by Baby Boomer and Gen X parents, Millennials bring passion to their jobs, caution in their approach and technological savvy.

At Shor-Line, we’ve benefitted from bringing in three new Sales team members—all veterinary technicians with several years of clinical experience. All of them have the energy, expertise and savvy that Millennials bring to seemingly every endeavor.

We continue to listen to you as we innovate and improve our products. Check out our new products in the new Shor-Line catalog

We can’t think of a better time to be in the animal care industry, so call us and see how we can help you build your dream facility. If you are lucky, you might get to talk with Jennifer Kaschke, LVT, Andi McKenzie, RVT, or Sarah Pugh, BS, RVT!


Tags: Animal Care, Facility Design, Shor-Line, Industry Trends

Grooming ergonomics: Being in the right place at the right time

Posted on Thu, May 08, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

Shor-Line Blog: Grooming Ergonomics

Grooming can feel like a dance as you position yourself to best groom each canine customer. Yet being in the right place is the key to avoiding repetitive motion injuries in your wrist, arm and back.

When designing the Shor-Line Elite and Big Top Grooming Tables, the developers determined that a 180-degree pivot on the grooming arm would allow groomers to move around the table.

Notice the curved top and end. As groomers focus on the pet, it is not unusual to bump into the table. The rounded, tapered edges help you avoid bruised hips.

You need to use even the best ergonomically designed hand tools at the correct height. This table keeps your arms and wrists positioned correctly. The right tools are a solid prescription for safety.

Reducing lifting and bending are the other keys to staying healthy. The quiet electric lift operates with a foot pedal from both sides of the table, saving you steps and lifting. Protecting your lower back is critical.

The grooming arm takes the brunt of the impact if a dog new to grooming decides to bolt. Groomers tell us they have struggled with failed grooming arms on other equipment. So, we used our Shor-Line Stainless Steel expertise to manufacture a durable grooming arm that stands up to strong dogs. We think it is the best arm in the business! 

Our grooming arm is so popular that we sell it as a retrofit for competitive grooming tables. Just ask a sales rep if you need to replace an arm on another company's table.

Ergonomics is more important than ever in minimizing overuse grooming injuries. Whatever table you use, let your equipment take the strain off your body so you can spend more time doing the grooming you love.


Tags: Animal Care, Animal Care, Facility Design, Shor-Line, Industry Trends, Grooming

Kennel Run System Hardware - Protect It!

Posted on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 @ 01:08 PM

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Written by contributing editor Rob Eckwall

Kennel Runs are an important part of a successful veterinary or animal care enterprise, but kennel runs are only as good as their installation. An installation is only as good as the installers and the hardware they use to do it. This post focuses on issues related to kennel run hardware.

Quality kennel run products will come complete with the specialized hardware necessary to install them properly. This includes high-quality stainless steel barrel nuts & screws, face plates, trim, latch bars & brackets and customized connectors for whichever type of installation your job requires. 

A manufacturer should know how important hardware is to a kennel run system.  With this in mind, following these guidelines ensures the best possible outcome for a new kennel run project:


  • As soon as possible upon delivery of your order, make sure all hardware is labeled, received, and accounted for. Some hardware may have been manufactured specifically for your job therefore it is very important to account for all hardware as soon as possible.
  • Contact your provider immediately if there are any questions or problems.
  • Segregate your hardware from surrounding construction activities and keep hardware together. Protect it.
  • Bulk fastener hardware (i.e., barrel nuts and screws) will likely include an extra 10% or so over what is required. For all other hardware it is more likely that the exact amount will be provided (although there may be an extra piece or two for some items).
  • Refer to your installation manual and only take and use the hardware needed for each run, room, or area you are working in – do not move it in bulk to each area. This helps prevent hardware from getting lost, misplaced, and/or scattered throughout the job site and becoming difficult to account for later on.

In the unlikely event of a shortage in your hardware, your provider should supply the remainder needed to finish the job. If for some reason however you wind up needing ‘extra’ hardware, you will likely be charged for it and the shipping of it. If next day air is requested, you will likely incur those charges as well.

Following the guidelines above will help you stay on track and complete your construction project in a timely manner. 

Tags: veterinary equipment, veterinary clinic, veterinary, Animal Care, Facility Design, Hospital Design

Kennel Run Systems Order Process

Posted on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 @ 01:16 PM

orderprocess header

Written by contributing editor Rob Eckwall

It all starts with you.

This will be a much more individual purchase than it is for many of the other items in your veterinary hospital. You don’t just open a catalog and select from a couple of options like you would for a table, tub, or scale. While all kennel gates and panels are made to standard design parameters they are configured to meet your individual needs.

It is important to remember that the building is part of the Kennel Run design. Things like wall construction, window and door locations, drainage and floor slopes are all part of your kennel considerations. For most people this is a long-term investment. Cutting corners on the design and construction now will most likely result in higher costs for maintenance and repairs later. Good drainage and airflow along with a well-lighted kennel will provide a safe, comfortable environment for both the client and the staff. It is also important to choose materials that do not absorb water or harbor bacteria.

Common steps in the order process for any installation type:

1. We will require a sketch or drawing of your new or existing Kennel Run area. It should include room size measurements along with door, window, and drain locations. It is also helpful to know the planned use of kennels (i.e.,: boarding, hospital patient, Icu and recovery, etc.). this will assist with selecting the best options.

2. Choose the options that are right for your needs:

  • Grill or glass gate
  • Food or water bowls
  • Transfer doors
  • Partition panels
  • Grill or glass above 48” height on partitions

3. Get a quote based on the number of Kennel Runs and configuration with the options you have chosen.

4. You will receive drawings for approval. These will illustrate the options you have chosen, show how they are installed and indicate the sizes and space requirements for your installation. This is a critical step in the process. Your kennels will be manufactured per these drawings. Also, the correct hardware needed for a successful installation will be determined from these drawings.

5. Once we have approved drawings your order can be finalized. This is also when all credit terms must be agreed upon and any down payments applied.

6. The lead time for your order is determined on an individual basis. We make every attempt to meet your schedule. However, things like current shop capacity, other items on your order, the size of your order and amount of custom work required all affect your lead time.

Once your order is complete you must be prepared to receive your shipment. Your order will be shipped to you by truck line. Your components will be on pallets that can be moved both in our warehouse and by the shipper by forklift. Depending on the size and type of gates and panels you have ordered each piece may weigh 50 – 100 lbs. Unless other arrangements have been made it will be your responsibility to unload the truck and bring the gates and panels into your facility. Knowing what to expect, and the steps involved, should help the process go smoothly and alleviate at least some of the stresses involved with a project of this type.

As always, feel free to call us at 800.444.1579 at any time during your order with any questions or concerns. We are happy to help.

Tags: veterinary equipment, veterinary clinic, veterinary, Animal Care, Facility Design, Hospital Design, Shor-Line

Get On Board

Posted on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 @ 11:49 AM

shor-line blog

Effective July 1, 2013 T-Kennel will be an integrated product family within the Shor-Line brand. Schroer Manufacturing Company acquired T-Kennel in 1994 as an expansion of the kennel run product family pioneering specialized kennel run systems with proprietary drainage systems.

Kansas City brothers Karl and Gerhard Schroer founded Schroer Manufacturing Company in 1927 based on the principle of quality craftsmanship and materials. While the company has evolved over the past 86 years, the brothers would be proud to know that Shor-Line’s dedication to customer service has remained the number one priority.

By integrating T-Kennel into the Shor-Line brand, we will maintain the tradition of superior customer service. Providing a family of kennel run products that customers can tailor to their needs, specifications, and price point. This will serve you, our valued customer, more efficiently. In addition to serving you, we will continue to collaborate with industry professionals to offer innovative products that enhance animal care.

shor-line blog

Tags: Animal Care, Facility Design, Hospital Design, Shor-Line Happenings

Five Tips for Getting Started

Posted on Tue, Jul 02, 2013 @ 09:51 AM

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Where do I start?  What are the first steps?  What information do I need to provide?  These are some of the most frequently asked questions that we, as architects, get from prospective clients.  And they are good questions!  The design process can be very confusing and overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you get started.



      As you start thinking about a site or location for your new facility, be sure to do your homework.  Check that the site is zoned properly for your use.  Make sure your site is large enough to accommodate both the size of the building you want AND the required amount of parking.  Look into local code and regulation compliance requirements.  Investigate the size and capacity of the utilities that currently serve the site.  It is important to know all of these things about a site or a new building before you buy or sign a lease, because they can all be difficult and/or expensive to overcome later in the process.



          If you are purchasing an existing building, building out a lease space, or expanding/renovating your existing facility, it helps to gather as much information as you can about the existing building.  A set of blueprints is ideal.  Oftentimes, original plans for a building are rolled up and tucked away in a utility closet or storage room.  If you can’t find them, you can always check with the local building department to see what they have on record.  Or you can ask the building department for the name of the original architect and try to track down drawings from them directly.  It is not absolutely necessary to have a copy of the previous building plans, but if you do, it can help to speed up the design process.


            3. TALK TO BANK LENDERS.

              Knowing what you can afford and how much you will be able to borrow will help define the size and parameters of your project in the beginning stages of the design process.  As a general rule of thumb, you can typically borrow your annual gross.  However, getting some advice from your bank early in the process can prevent designing a new facility that you love, only to find out you can’t afford to build it.



                  If you have gathered the above information and still aren’t quite sure if your project makes the most financial and logistical sense, let your architect help.  Your architect can do a feasibility study that will look at all the information you have gathered, combine it with their design and construction expertise, and use that information to help you decide whether or not to move forward.


                    5. GATHER TOGETHER IDEAS THAT YOU LIKE. 

                      You don’t have to have it all figured out, but having a general idea of what you would like in your new building will help drive the design in the right direction from the beginning.  Talk to colleagues who have recently remodeled or built a new facility, and ask them what works well and what doesn’t.  Visit as many animal care facilities as possible, especially new ones, and take note of what design elements, spaces, materials, and finishes appeal to you.  And finally, think through your day-to-day operations to decide if any of your current spaces are under-utilized, too large, too small, or if you need a space that you don’t have at all.  The more thought you  put into these things ahead of time, the easier it will be for your architect to help you create your ideal design. 

                       shorline blog


                      Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design, Contributing Editors, Animal Arts Editors

                      Pets & Landscaping

                      Posted on Thu, Jun 06, 2013 @ 10:07 AM

                      shorline blog

                      Landscaping the outside of your practice can pose problems—especially when your patients use those areas as dining rooms or bathrooms.

                      Before buying and planting any trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers, write down your potential picks and compare them with the lists of toxic and nontoxic plants compiled by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). To learn more visit the following links:

                      ASPCA | Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants

                      ASPCA | Plants and Trees

                      Filling your landscape with pet-friendly flora will keep pets safe. But what about the plants? To protect them from urine damage, implement one or more of the following strategies:

                      • Buy mature trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers, and plant them in clusters.
                      • Use raised planter boxes, and surround them with brick, rock, or wood.
                      • Create specific elimination areas using shredded wood or gravel.

                      Shor-Line Blog

                      Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design

                      Clearing the Clutter

                      Posted on Wed, May 29, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

                      shor-line blog

                      Nothing spoils a space faster than clutter, especially in the places clients see most—reception areas and exam rooms. Keep clutter under control with these tips from Tracy Axcell:

                      1. USE VERTICAL WALL & CUPBOARD SPACE

                      Hang wall-mountable racks and files to house reading materials, forms, and other paperwork. For cupboards, measure the depth, height, and width of each shelf and purchase stackable containers. Label each container with a list of its contents.


                      2. USE FILE & DRAWER SPACE

                      Hanging files keep papers organized and out of sight. Papers used on a daily basis can be kept in an active file at the front of the drawer. Use drawer organizers with dividers or compartments to organize small instruments and supplies. Label the compartments for easy locating.


                      3. CONTROL MULTIPLE CORDS

                      Unplug cords and straighten them to their full length. Fasten cords together so they form one long rope, and tie them with a store-bought cable organizer or zip ties. Tuck the rope along baseboards or the backs of cabinets.

                      Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design, Industry Trends