Golden Retriever Offers Hugs to Strangers She Encounters on Walks: 'She's Trying to Bond'

Cesar Fernandez-Chavez, Louboutina's owner, explained she started wrapping her paws around a person's body "out of the blue," despite never having learned.

Meet Louboutina, nicknamed Loubie, the golden retriever that hangs around New York City, giving hugs to strangers.

Hugging and holding hands is her thing,” said Cesar Fernandez-Chavez, Loubie’s owner. “That’s her personality.”

Fernandez-Chavez, 45, told that he walks Louboutina around their home in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, and neighbors often stop by to say hello.

"She has a pretty face, so she always attracts people," he joked.

If there’s a group of people, Fernandez-Chavez explained his pup will sniff around each member of the group — something he calls her "Louboutina rounds" — and, "the moment she sits next to a person out of that group, and she leans, I know she’s going to hug that person."

He said Louboutina started wrapping her front paws around a person’s body when she was about 6 months old, “out of the blue," and was never trained to do so.

"She’s trying to bond with a person," he explained. "She prefers humans more than dogs."

Fernandez-Chavez explained he was gifted Louboutina when she was just a puppy. He had just gone through a traumatic break-up, and a close friend hoped the dog would help him move on.

He recalled in the first several months, he would often hug her the way he would another person.

“That became our bonding,” he said. “Maybe she picked it up from me.”

Now, when the golden retriever isn’t hugging strangers on the streets, she makes her rounds at the hospital where Fernandez-Chavez works as an interpreter. “I just have to open my office door, and she goes and does her rounds for half an hour, hugging everyone,” he said.

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Fernandez-Chafez, who runs her Instagram page, @LouboutinaNYC, said he’s also often surprised how many people photograph his pup without him noticing.

“I’m not even aware of most of it unless her followers start tagging her,” he said. “But she’s always looking at the camera. She knows when people are taking a picture of her. She’s a little actress.”

Fernandez-Chafez, who has lived in New York for 16 years after growing up in Lima, Peru, said on his next trip back to his hometown, he plans to take the hugging pup with him.

“She makes me happy,” he said. “I have a simple life, but she makes it feel very rich.”

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