One hot summer day, Tony Lytle stopped to use a public drinking fountain and realized that his family dog needed one too. His daughter had been complaining about the dog always knocking over its water bowl. Tony made a few drawings and constructed his first prototype using sheers and a thick piece of aluminum. “It took forever,” he says, “things just weren’t working out real well.”
Tony started using his CNC plasma cutting machine on the project. “It was so easy to draw in a part and fix it if it was the wrong size or shape,” he explains. “I made about five prototypes before I finalized the design. Then I whipped out a hundred finished dog fountains. The machine made everything so much easier.”
Tony went through several pet stores and searched through patents without finding anything like his invention. So he filed for a patent, built a website, and started a company to mass-produce his product. Tony’s “original doggy fountain” has since appeared on the ABC TV show Shark Tank and won a top three slot in Edison Nation’s sponsored talent search.
Tony later invented a weatherproof dog feeder. “Birds and rodents kept eating and ruining my dog’s food,” he explains, “so I made something to solve the problem.” The contraption holds 25 pounds of dog food and dispenses a small amount each time the dog steps on the pedal. “I couldn’t have done it without my PlasmaCAM machine,” says Tony. ”It would have literally taken months.”
Tony’s innovative pet products have kept him busy for six years now. He calls his most recent invention a “dog cooler-offer.” Designed to help pets cool off during the hot summer months, it sprays from all directions like a car wash. Tony is not yet satisfied with the design and plans to make a few more prototypes before he considers mass-producing it.