Five Minutes With Jay Michaelson, Animal Lover, Inventor

by Lisa Davis on July 30, 2020 in Lifestyle, Living Texas,
HandsOn cover

Jay Michaelson spent a large chunk of his adult life producing movies, TV commercials and documentaries. It was after writing and directing his award-winning documentary, “In A Whisper,” that Michaelson’s passion for horses began to resurface.

Born in New Mexico and growing up in Mansfield, Texas, the Hollywood producer was surrounded by horses. With very few choices available, he groomed and bathed the horses with old curry combs that were impossible to hold onto and only barely worked. Although he didn’t know it at the time, those childhood experiences would be the foundation for the invention of HandsOn Gloves.

Taking a hiatus from Hollywood, Michaelson set out to change the grooming world. With the equine population as the primary target, he quickly learned that every animal — horses, dogs, cats, cattle, rabbits, pigs, donkeys and more, wanted to be brushed, gently massaged and, mostly importantly, loved. 

Jay Michaelson realized that every animal can benefit from HandsOn Gloves, whether they’re just getting groomed, massaged or bonding with a human. Photo courtesy HandsOn Gloves

It’s no secret that having a pet in one’s life makes for a much happier human. Studies have shown that just petting an animal reduces stress and anxiety and causes feel-good hormones to be released.

In 2016, HandsOn Gloves finally went mainstream. The patented and revolutionary de-shedder outperforms other traditional curry combs or bathing mitts that are on the market and has changed the way pet parents bond with their two-, three- or four-legged family members.

How long did it take for you to make the perfect glove?

Yeah, I thought they would be easy to make — four and half years! It made us realize early on why these gloves had never been on the market.

Does it take time for pets to get used to the gloves?

 Not at all. They prefer them as it’s just your hands giving a loving massage. You don’t have a harsh tool between you and your pets. We personally have rescues that hate to be groomed with traditional tools but come running when they see the gloves. They beg for more. We hear this all the time from our customers as well. Everything from horses and donkeys to cats and dogs and everything in between.

“I can honestly say that trying out HandsOn Gloves on my 10-month old pup, she was calmer, more relaxed and I can even go so far as to say, happier,” says Jay Michaelson. Courtesy photo

Do you have plans to produce other grooming tools?

It’s in the works as we speak. We are having a blast playing with animals and animal people and will continue that. The products are in the grooming arena but also outside of grooming tools. Just great products that fix problems we have been dealing with for far too long. 

Are the gloves a type of meditation experience for animals?

 The bonding experience people have and the joy they see in their pets are priceless. People actually use HandsOn on a regular basis because it is actually fun while making their pets’ coats healthier and shinier. Dr. Marty Becker (America’s Vet) picked us early on as a “Vet Recommended” product for his Fear Free program because of its calming factor. When you have stressed pets come into a vet’s office, the gloves are a great tool for calming them down with a loving massage and making them more comfortable before the checkup. The gloves can help get vitals a little more back to normal.  

Are you still producing/directing films? If so, anything in the new future?

 I actually have not had time. We are the number one-ranked pet product on QVC, both in the States and Europe. I have been back and forth nonstop with that, along with all of the other shows. I’m pretty sure I have already racked up a free trip to the moon. However I can’t escape it. When we shot “In A Whisper,” we had no idea that the success of that show would come back around with my next project. I have top TV dog and horse trainers coming together for a really fun show. My trainers have won multiple Emmys and awards so the networks are racing to lock us in.

Cover courtesy HandsOn Gloves

Lisa Davis lives in Austin and is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.