For years, Diane Kostelec enjoyed hiking with her dogs in the open spaces and parks in the Bay Area where foxtails are prevalent during much of the year; however, with their fun and adventure came the risk of dangerous foxtail injuries for her dogs.
After her dogs’ many painful experiences of getting foxtails in their eyes, ears, and noses and after numerous trips to the vet, Diane was determined to find a way to keep her dogs safe on their hikes. She knew the solution would be something that would shield her dogs’ faces—something to act as a barrier against foxtails. Using her technical design experience, she invented the OutFox® Field Guard and made it available to the public in 2010.
As Diane’s top priority was to make a guard that would be as comfortable as possible for dogs, she thoughtfully designed every aspect of the Field Guard with meticulous care and detail—from the color to the material to the form. Her idea was to create a black mesh hood that covers and protects the dog’s entire head. She chose the color black because it is the easiest to see through while also serving as a sunshade. After a long search for the perfect material for comfort and function, she finally found a mesh that was non-abrasive and held its shape well. She placed all of the seam edges on the outside of the guard so the dog would have the smoothest side of the hood next to its head. Diane also made the guard large enough so that it would touch the dog as little as possible and used a gathered opening that would create the shape, fullness, and space around the head. The gathered opening enabled the Field Guard to sit securely on the dog’s head without it having to be tightened around the neck and made it easy for owners to slip the Field Guard on and off without having to adjust it every time.
Convinced she had done all she could to make the Field Guard comfortable, it was time to try it out. Of course, Diane tested the prototypes on her own dog, Iris, as they went on a hike. While she thought it very unusual to see a dog wearing such a thing, Iris seemed perfectly comfortable. In fact, she was so comfortable that she ran over to the water bowl after their hike and drank right through the hood: she didn’t even notice she was wearing it. Diane was thrilled because it proved to her that the Field Guard was comfortable and did not restrict her dog’s usual activity. She had designed a comfortable hood that would protect her dogs from foxtail injuries so they could still enjoy the wonders of the Bay Area and run in open spaces during foxtail season.
Though she continues to get lots of funny comments and curious looks from people who have never seen a dog wearing the OutFox Field Guard and don’t know what it is, Diane hasn’t had to take her dogs to the vet for foxtails since they’ve begun wearing the Field Guard.
Four years later, thousands of dogs worldwide are now enjoying more freedom because they are wearing the OutFox Field Guard—and thousands of happy owners are now enjoying more peace of mind. Diane couldn’t be happier to make this possible.