He’d do anything for his family. So when his daughter came to him after her dog almost died from dehydration after knocking his water bowl over, he immediately started brainstorming to find a solution so this would never happen to a dog again. Soon afterwards, the Doggie Fountain was born.
But before we jump into the history of the product, let’s learn a bit more about Tony…
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Tony moved a bit during his childhood, but now resides in Larwill, Indiana, 30 miles from where he spent most of his childhood. At 14, he started working as a busboy and dishwasher in a restaurant and eventually became a cook.
“You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I [still] love to cook and bake.”
He met his wife at a restaurant they worked at together in 1978. About 12 years ago, he and his wife bought about 20 acres of wooded land and built their current home.
Tony has said that ideas often find him versus the other way around.
“I will see something that I don’t like, so I will fix the problem.”
That being said, based on his experiences, getting a licensing deal on your own is very difficult, “It’s hard, expensive and futile at best. I’ve tried the “cold calling” with no results.”
Tony advises innovators looking to secure a licensing deal of their own to get help from an innovation company versus trying to go it alone.
That brings us back to the Doggie Fountain…
Tony’s daughter had a dog named Pacey, who, as many dogs do, had a bad habit of knocking over his water bowl. On a hot August day, between work and college classes, Tony’s daughter returned home to check in on Pacey and found him severely dehydrated after emptying his water bowl. She immediately went to her father to see if he could come up with an idea so her dog would have access to water all the time when he was outside. Tony began brainstorming…
First, he thought of ways to prevent the bowl from being overturned – fill a large basin with enough water to provide weight so the bowl could not flip over. This did not work because the water would get hot and dirty over time.
He went to a local Tractor Supply Store to get some supplies, and before leaving, saw the drinking fountain.
“As I started walking away, I turned and looked back at the drinking fountain and thought, if I can make a smaller fountain and train a dog to use it…well, that would solve my daughter’s problem.”
He made her the first Doggie Fountain and she trained her dog to use it. After getting some positive feedback from friends and family, Tony decided to pursue commercializing it. He completed a patent search and filed for a full utility patent in 2007, receiving it in 2010.
Tony scoured the internet looking for possible companies to help him bring his Doggie Fountain to life – he even submitted it to a sponsored search at Edison Nation and got to Stage 7, but it was not selected by the sponsor. He took it back and eventually found a home for it with Quirky.
“Quirky was a very good experience… I had sent them an application a few years prior but didn’t get selected. And then, when I ended my contract with A.P.I., I tried again. This time, I got the necessary votes and moved onto the “Live Evaluation” process. It was unanimous. They all just loved it.”
This was in December of 2013. During the design process, Tony remained involved with the Quirky team. By Christmas of 2014, Quirky had product for sale on their site as the Pawcet.
Each time new stock came in, it sold out in a matter of days. Unfortunately, with recent events at Quirky, Tony was left with a product and no one to manufacture it. He knew he had a good product and was still getting requests from potential buyers for product. It was then that he turned to Edison Nation.
Edison Nation Timeline:
July: Once Tony had received rights to his intellectual property back from Quirky, a formal presentation was made to the USM team who immediately expressed strong interest in the product.
August: Agreement terms were sent to USM along with samples of the Doggie Fountain for review.
September: USM completed thorough due diligence on the product with their factory. In fact, the main contact at USM, along with his business partner traveled to meet with the Edison Nation team in Atlanta during the Amazon Inventions Tour to continue discussions.
October: USM signed the licensing deal!
United Sales & Marketing has expertise within both the pet industry, as well as with big box stores. They have 20-30 years of professional relationships which we expect to yield significant opportunities both domestically and internationally for distribution.
We are very excited to see what the new iteration of the Doggie Fountain will look like. Stay tuned to the EN blog for an update once it is available for sale!
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