As the weather cools and leaves start to crunch underfoot, long walks in the woods with your dog are a good way to get exercise and drink in the crisp fall air.

No one wants those peaceful walks to turn into a canine tragedy, with an arrow or a bullet meant for a deer hitting Fido instead. Enter Jean Montesano and her “Flo-Orange” line of doggie wear.

Montesano lives in Cape Elizabeth, where bow hunting is allowed. At the time she started her business making outerwear for dogs, Montesano and her family had a boxer and a Vizsla, a sporting dog that looks like a red Weimaraner. It also resembles, from a distance, a small deer. “There’s a huge trail system out here because they used to log out here,” said Montesano, who lives in a house by the woods next to the local gun club. “I was always in the woods with the dogs.” She knew the whereabouts of at least one bow hunter’s stand and felt sure he had company.

It was ruff.

To protect her dogs from being misidentified by a hunter, whether on a walk or even in their own backyard, Montesano made them blaze-orange hunting coats out of coated nylon. “Everywhere we went, someone asked about them,” she said, and then someone suggested she show them to Planet Dog.

The store was pawsitively supportive, even directing her to other stores that might want to sell them.

Later, Montesano started making orange vests for dogs that got too warm wearing the coats. Both items have a reflective strip so the animals can be seen more easily at night.

Montesano also makes raincoats for dogs, reflective collars and hand-stitched leashes, but her Flo-Orange line is her best seller. The vests range from $20 for an extra-extra small to $48 for an extra large, while the coats also start at $20 but go up to $70. Want to fetch one? They are available at the Doggie Safe n Dry website, or at stores such as Planet Dog, The Fish and Bone, and The Dog Wash Etc. in Portland; Paws Applause in Scarborough; Reigning Cats and Dogs in Wells; Loyal Biscuit in Rockland and Belfast; and Pet Pantry in Freeport.


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