Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fence-Fighting; A Dog’s Tongue Goes Missing

In my line of work, I get all kinds of calls, so, nothing really surprises me any more. The call I got today was really sad, totally preventable, and potentially, life-threatening.

The call was from a friend, and past executive with the HSUS, who was looking for some help for a shelter. The animal enclosures, like so many I see, was made from chain-link fence fabric. That kind of fencing works well for me to keep unwanted groundhogs out of my garden, but, it does not work so well in a shelter for separating dogs.

Fence fighting happens when one dog can see, or contact, another dog through a fence, and most often, chain-link fence is the culprit. I recommend to my clients that the walls between the kennel stalls be made solid to four feet above the floor, minimum. Doing so, prevents not only fence fighting, but, when installed properly, solid partitions prevent cross-contamination of bodily fluids and cleaning water between kennels.

Todays call was all about fence fighting. Two dogs, each enclosed in their own kennel, began fighting through the chain-link enclosure, and so, one of the dogs lost his tongue! A tongue is crucial to sustain life for a dog. Without it, he will not be able to drink, eat, swallow, and, so much more.

As I am writing this, an oral surgeon is on his way to meet with this dog in hopes for a resolve. Say a prayer for both the surgeon and his patient. I am hoping for some encouraging news in the coming days. This was not the fault of the dog, but, was the fault of how the enclosures were made.

This story is so sad, as it was totally preventable. Kennel enclosures should never allow one dog to contact a neighboring dog, especially in a shelter or working dog setting. Stories like this are why using a Kennel Designer or consultant is so important. There are so many tricks to the trade, so to speak. Things that the average architect has no experience dealing with. I know hundreds of stories like this, and, they all too often break my heart.

Craig L. McAllester
Kennel Designer

Ever Wonder How To Install A Dog Door?

Did you ever wonder how to install a dog door? If so, you might be interested to see an article I found. Click the link below to see how Tom Sylva, and the folks at This Old House, install a dog door in just an afternoon.

This Old House

When buying a dog door, search out all the options available. Get one that really suits your needs.

Next Time You Fly, Think Delta Air Lines!

Delta Air Lines announced it is taking a stand against animal trophy hunting.

This link to Chris Green’s blog came across my desk today.  He reports that Delta airlines CEO announced that  “Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.”

Well, it’s about time!

Perhaps, FedEx and any other air transportation company, that has service to that region the world, will follow.

Kudos Chris!


Cattery Design

 See my latest article in Pet Boarding & Daycare magazine:

Cattery Design; CATS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

CATTERY DESIGN Cats are people too!
Cats are people too!

Design Your Kennel For The Future

no parkingKennel Design; review all the codes before you start your project.

I am an architectural designer, and I specialize in animal care facility design. My work extends all across the USA and in countries around the globe.  Because my work is, well,  everywhere, I find it very interesting how both local building codes and zoning ordinances vary from one project to the next.  Even neighboring cities have different regulations.

One of the services we offer is a Feasibility Study.  In this study, we examine the local regulations to help ensure that the design we are about to prepare meets these local regulations. This will help design your kennel for the future.

I saw post recently where a homeowner posted a giant NO PARKING! sign on his front lawn.  Apparently, patrons of the kennel across the street are parking in this man’s driveway while they are conducting business at the kennel.  The kennel has no off-street parking, and the street is only 18′ wide, leaving little room for parking.  Because the kennel has been there for years, the city says, “…it’s not our problem!”

_DSC6950-31On many projects, we use a circular driveway for customers to drive up, drop off / pick up, and then drive off.  I might suggest that a kennel have an attendant on the drive too during the morning intake hours, and in the evening, offer a service where the customer can call ahead to pick up an animal, and having the pet ready and waiting.  Services like this, reduce the number of parking spaces needed and are especially good in situations, like this, where the kennel is operating in a non-commercial zoning district with no off-street parking.

Parking is a real concern, but for a kennel, there are so many aspects to getting the design right.  So, when planning for your kennel, be sure to research all the local regulations, but also, consider the needs of your neighbors too.  Starting off on the right foot will go a long way in building a business.

If you need help in the design of your new boarding kennel, animal shelter, or veterinary hospital, give me a call.


Poisonous Holiday Plants

Was it Mistletoe, Poinsettia, or…? Merry Christmas

Keep your pets safe and have a wonderful Christmas:

Pets and Christmas plants…

Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travel!

ThanksgivingOutside it’s 70 degrees today here at my studio, this, the Monday before Thanksgiving. The weatherman says that we are expecting snow on Wednesday and Thanksgiving day. Remember your pets in your holiday planning. These warm temps are short lived.

I’m so thankful for all those I have worked with this year in the design of their kennel, shelter or animal hospital, and I’m wishing each one of you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

To keep your pets safe, here are some holiday travel ideas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We Need MONEY and You’re Not Invited, but…


I get a number of invitations every week to attend some kind of fundraising event.  There are so many needs today, everywhere you look, and every humane society is no different. Being creative is very important to set yourself apart. This is the first time I’ve gotten an invite, that told me not to come…



All too often I see marketing campaigns that either are too little or are way over-the-top.  For example, too little might be a bake sale.  You are going to need to sell a lot of pies to fill your building fund.  Over-the-top might be, renting the local country club ballroom for thousands of dollars, to host a dinner and dance for a house full of would be donors.  You are going to need to sell a lot of tickets just to cover your expenses.

I would add professional fundraisers to this mix as well. Many big not-for-profit organizations spend hundreds of thousands on professional fundraisers.  Their ROI is often less than half, sometimes a mere 10 percent of the total dollars raised.

Then today, You’re Not Invited hits my inbox. You spread the word, you invite everyone to your big NO-Show Ball event, and you post the schedule of events:

7pm – NO Cocktails

8pm – NO Dinner

9pm – NO Program

10pm – NO Dancing

Please do NOT join us for this event.

Next, you outline what this event will save each person who doesn’t come:

NO gown to buy

NO tux to rent

NO missed football game

NO hair dresser costs

NO sitter

NO dinner to buy

NO need to go out in the cold


So, all the money that each ‘non-attendee’ saves, can now go directly to the dogs!


When marketing your project, think big, think broad, and spend little!

More thoughts regarding marketing


Support Hotels for Pets!

Pets Deserve a Red Roof Holiday Travel Motel-K9 Lodge Too!

I make my living designing animal shelters and boarding kennels and catteries. My projects have been all across the USA and in other countries around the world.

As with most designers, an architect friend of mine got a little behind in his work. So, for the last few weeks, I have been helping him with the design of a new Holiday Inn hotel. That got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if all hotels had a small, attached, clean, secure boarding kennel to keep watch over the four-legged (or feathered) family member, while you were at the beach? Hotels for Pets!!

Perhaps the next time you are booking a room, you might ask what the rates are for the kennel? When they tell you that they don’t have a kennel, then ask, “Why not?!”

Therapy dog to help Marine keep demons of war at bay

God Bless them all, and God Bless America.

There is so much that we are still learning about the benefits of companion animals and therapy dogs. Gordon, the world’s greatest dog, adds so much to my life here in the studio. I think all dogs could, given the chance.



Here is a link to a wonderful story about a U.S. Marine and his new black lab, Lucy. His doctor is hopeful that Lucy will help him recover from his PTSD, Post-Traumatic-Stress-Dissorder. The article indicates that as many as twenty percent of those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq are returning home with this disorder.

So, the next time you pass a person in uniform severing our country, or see that veteran that lives just down the street, thank them for their service.