Do you ever have days when all you need is a nice, long hug from a friendly face? Well, meet Louboutina, the 5-year-old Golden Retriever giving everyone a daily dose of furry, heart-warming hugs on the streets of New York City.
You may be thinking this dog was taught to charm people by an expert dog trainer, but Louboutina needs no training to show her love for humans. She was never taught to hug. She just did it.
The friendly pup – who stands on her hind legs, reaches out for others and embraces complete strangers — has found fame with nearly 136,000 Instagram followers.
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“Every single walk I have to dedicate time” said Louboutina’s owner, Cesar Fernandez-Chavez. The dog needs extra time for her adorable hugging hobby. The pair usually go on three strolls, sometimes lasting up to two hours each, every day. Louboutina, who is named after the French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, has become quite the celebrity in her neighborhood and all around the world.
It all began when she reached for her owner’s hand at a stoplight. She picked her paw up, placed it in his hand and kept it there.
“She stood up and reached for my hand,” said Fernandez-Chavez, a manager of translation services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital. “It’s her way of saying, ‘Thank you [for the walk]. I love you.’ ”
After she learned to hold hands with Chavez she quickly started wrapping her paws around his body and other friends and family in the neighborhood, which led to her Instragram success and rise to doggy fame. Since 2013, Louboutina’s owner estimates she has given over 700 hugs.
If you want to feel the love from Louboutina, the two can usually be found around the area of Seventh Avenue and 19th Street around 8 to 8:30 a.m., 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
If you’re not available during those times, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a hug. Fernandez-Chavez said fans from as far as China have contacted him asking to meet Louboutina.
People often recognize Louboutina on the street, which results in long hugs, much praise and several photographs of the warm embrace and Louboutina’s selfies.
“A lot of people say she’s made their day,” Fernandez-Chavez, 45, said. “Like, if they had a bad day at work, maybe that’s just what they needed.”
So the next time you’re in New York City, don’t forget to stop at one of the greatest attractions around, the hug from Louboutina the dog. Dogs like this make the world a better place.
You can follow Louboutina on Instagram @louboutinanyc