On 26 March 2002 awesome happened. Ross Eugene Long III of Oakland California was awarded U.S. Patent 6360393. He invented the stick.
Abstract: An apparatus for use as a toy by an animal, for example a dog, to either fetch carry or chew includes a main section with at least one protrusion extending therefrom that resembles a branch in appearance. The toy is formed of any of a number of materials including rubber, plastic, or wood including wood composites and is solid. It is either rigid or flexible. A flavoring (scent) is added, if desired. The toy is adapted to float by including a material therein that is lighter than water or it is adapted to glow in the dark, as desired, by the addition of a fluorescent material that is either included in the material from which the toy is made or the flourescent material is applied thereto as a coating. The toy may be segmented (i.e., notched) so as to break off into smaller segments, as is useful for smaller animals or, alternatively, to extend the life of the toy. Various textured surfaces including camouflage colorings are anticipated as are straight or curved main sections. The toy may be formed of any desired material, as described, so as to be edible by the animal.
Not only did Eugene Long III invent the stick, he attached 20 claims to it based upon different materials and options that might be used to manufacture it. Pure brilliance, that.
[Full text of Patent here. Story discovered here. Additional info on the history of the Patent here. More awesome Contributions to The World here.]