Local student develops robotic dog petter

Cassidy Matwiyoff

Cassidy Matwiyoff, a senior at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, said she can trace her entrepreneurial ambition to watching “Shark Tank” at the dinner table.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be so nice to be on Shark Tank one day and experience that true passion of an entrepreneur taking an idea and putting it into a project and bringing it to life?’” she said. “From there I had this spark, I wanted to make this dream of trying to be on ‘Shark Tank’ a reality.”

The Bowwow is a robotic dog-petting device.

Cassidy now has a patent pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an idea she came up with: a robotic dog petter called the Bowwow to simulate petting from a human hand.

“What if there was some way we can help dogs feel happy and satisfied while their owners are away from home?” she said, recalling when she developed the concept. “And so from there, I thought of this automatic dog scratcher and we developed the name the Bowwow.”

A “Shark Tank” appearance is still an aspiration, but the Bowwow inches closer to becoming a reality for dog owners.

The progress she’s achieved on the invention has also been made possible with some assistance from Chico State engineering capstone students. In addition, she conducted field research at the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter.

“The next step in this after we finish the final design is to seek investor funding so we can actually bring this to market,” Cassidy said.

Next year, she said she’ll probably be attending the University of Alabama Honors College to major in political science and premedical studies.

“I know the transition between high school and college is going to be tough and stressful, so I’m also open to the idea that wherever this takes me is where it’s meant to be, but I’m going to do the work that I can to bring it to market,” Cassidy said.

She added, “It was a really unique opportunity of getting an appreciation for all that’s out there and the opportunities on the horizon.”