In 2002, Ross Long was granted a patent for what was, essentially, a stick:
“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.
… and wherein said animal toy is adapted to float on the water.”
The patent was granted in March of 2002 with 20 approved claims, and a subsequent request for re-examination was submitted 3 months later in June 2002. Less than a month later, all of the 20 claims were cancelled.
You can download the patent right here. It’s worth a read, as some of the claims almost seem to border on tongue-in-cheek.