A fur-covered spokesmodel hits the big time in Southwest Florida
by Libby Boren McMillan
The most famous dog in Southwest Florida, like many superstars, goes by one name: Lily. This special spokesmodel was named for the jewelry salon on Sanibel Island that she represents, Lily & Co., and she has quickly become a versatile fashionista, dominating both the local media and local landscapes. Billboards bear her furry countenance and, whether she’s vogueing in sunglasses or vamping it up with local firemen for a good cause, Lily is omnipresent.
When asked about how Lily stays in such great shape, her owners—or should I say, managers—said that her diet consists of duck (a favorite) and a fair amount of fish. Being no stranger to exercise, Lily loves the beach, does lots of swimming, and also runs a good bit on Sundays when she visits her public at a dog-friendly park on Sanibel. Gracious about making appearances, Lily usually visits Lily & Co. once daily, delighting patrons who never expect to see the popular star. Definitely a “paws-on” type of gal, she also comes in by special appointment for a rare few.
Lily does, of course, have her own Facebook page, but she’s not really into tweeting. While store co-owner Dan Schuyler calls Lily “the diva dog,” perhaps “the Paris Hilton of dogs” is a better reference. Her face seems to be everywhere— inescapable, really—and she’s always willing to have her picture taken.
Interestingly, Lily is only the eighth generation from the original Labradoodle farm in Australia. (A Labradoodle is a mixed breed dog of a Labrador retriever and a poodle.) Her “mom,” local real estate broker Karen Bell, adopted the sassy lassie as a pup, and helped Lily to become comfortable in front of cameras from an early age. Bell has always encouraged Lily to give back to the community. In fact, Lily’s birthday party last year raised $13,000 for a local no-kill shelter, and that’s hardly kibbles and bits.
Freelance writer Libby Boren McMillan is a frequent contributor to Times of the Islands, RSWLIVING, Bonita & Estero, and GULF & MAIN.