In 2012, Elsie Hamilton was just getting back on her feet after barely surviving a heart attack at the age of 48. Her youngest son Lachlan wanted another dog to join the family’s geriatric Boxer, so they went to the Denver Dumb Friend’s League. Hamilton told iHeartDogs how a sad rescue dog and her son chose each other:
“When we first saw Lilly, she was in a pen with 3 other dogs, and while they goofed and gamboled around, she sat with her back to the viewing glass…so sick that she sat in her own excrement with her head hanging down. When I tapped on the glass, she looked over her shoulder, and I saw a big white fleck in one sad eye. My heart broke for her. I remember thinking, ‘Oh no! I hope Lachlan doesn’t fall in love with this dog!’ but it was too late, he had already seen her, and she was the only dog he asked to meet. When Lilly walked into the meeting room, four of us were on the floor waiting to meet her, but she went straight to Lachlan and lay down, watching him, with her head on his ankle.”
The deal was sealed. Lilly was a two-year-old Australian Shepherd with a small fleck in her brown eye. She had been dumped in the middle of the night at the outdoor drop kennel with a note saying that she had lived outside her entire life. She was abandoned because she didn’t “fit in” with future travel plans.
“Lilly was so sick and broken down by the time I picked her up from the shelter’s spay clinic that for a week or so she could hardly keep food or water in her for longer than five minutes,” Hamilton shared with iHeartDogs. “I was sure she would die, but little by little, and lots of vet visits later, she got better and stronger.”
Hamilton said she identified with Lilly, since she herself was battling fatigue and weakness from her heart attack, which had been brought on by shoveling snow while being sick with the flu. She tore the main artery in her heart.
“I had gone from being a strong, healthy single mom, to this frail person who nearly passed out from standing up, barely climbing 4 stairs before stopping for a breather,” she said. “Lilly lay down on the couch next to me and followed me wherever I went, never leaving my side until the boys came home from school. Day after day, I sat here with my new little friend, unable to muster the energy to go back into the studio to continue my work as a fine arts painter, and wondering how I could most efficiently clean up all the dog hair that Lilly lavished on me and our favorite couch before the boys got home.”
She was not allowed to drive or use the vacuum and after two days she had ran out of the sticky lint rollers most dog owners use. And that’s when Hamilton started to search for a solution to the fur.
“One day, I was scrubbing around the kitchen sink with an old scruffy toothbrush when Lilly jumped on the couch with muddy paws,” she said. “I went over to see how bad it was, and took a swipe at a little dirt clod with the toothbrush. Some fur stuck to it, and that made me think that maybe I was on to something at last! I went and grabbed everyone’s toothbrushes in the house, cut the heads off, stuck them all to a block of wood I had in the garage, and finally cleaned the couch! My sons came home from school and found me brushing everything with this little brush I had made and probably thought I’d had a stroke.”
At that moment Hamilton decided “every dog owner in the world needed one of these brushes.” And even though she was weak, an artist and not a businessperson, and her kids told her it couldn’t be done – she did it.
The Lilly Brush
Named after the sweet rescue dog that inspired the product, the Lilly Brush is a hair removal dog-send for anyone with long-haired dog (or cat!) breeds.
Here are my before and after photos using the samples I received from Hamilton. Like many dog owners, I gave up on fabric furniture long ago, so I tested it on my carpet and it worked amazingly!
Bonus – it even picked up the hay and grass we all track in! These are things my vacuum sometimes can’t even get because they get stuck in between the carpet fibers.
I then tried it on a regular cotton sweatshirt, since the idea here is that you can use it instead of lint rollers. After repeated sweepings it did okay on the sweatshirt, but nearly as good as it did on the carpet. I would say it was probably about as effective as using one sheet of a lint roller.
With this brush, which comes in travel size, you won’t have to buy any refills like you do the lint rollers, and you won’t be adding to landfills.
To clean a Lilly brush, just rub a finger across the top of it a couple of times. Or, if it gets really full of stuff, dampen it in the sink, tap it out (bristles down) and then rub your thumb over the bristles. But, for the most part, the collected fur just collects into a little roll on top of the bristles and is easy to lift right off.
The only downside is the brush does not work well for short or wiry hair – like that of Pugs, Labradors, Beagles, etc.
The company stands by the product – if you don’t like it, return it and they will donate your product (after sanitizing it) to a shelter or rescue! So there is really no risk involved in trying one for yourself.