Lonely Planet Writer

This adorable Golden Retriever is giving out free hugs in New York City

Louboutina, the hugging Golden Retriever, is now garnering international recognition for her free hugs to passersby on New York City streets.

Hugs from a Golden Retriever might possibly be the best answer to “what does the world need now?”, and that’s exactly what New Yorkers, and now people around the world, are getting. An affectionate five-year-old Golden Retriever living in New York City, Louboutina, also known as Loubie, is now elevating her status from local neighborhood celebrity to New York’s next best attraction.

Loubie began giving hugs after learning how to shake hands and sit upright on her back legs in 2014. Her owner, Cesar Fernandez-Chavez says, from there, walks started taking a lot longer as she wanted to pause and give him hugs every few blocks. A couple years later, she started hugging other people around her neighborhood, including strangers who would approach her.  Fernandez-Chavez says that he can always tell when Loubie is going to hug someone, but since she started doing this on her own and was not trained, there’s no surefire formula for it.

“She’s trying to bond with that person so trust is important with her. It works better when someone is a dog person. If someone comes just for a picture, it’s probably not going to happen. She actually picks the person she’s going to hug and wants establish a connection with that person,” he says.

Loubie has amassed an international fan base. People from both around the United States and around the world are beginning to seek out Louboutina for her hugs. “Everyday we have people around our block looking for Louboutina, some locals, some from other states and a lot of people from other countries like Argentina, Brazil, Holland, Scotland, and China. Now this is something that has been happening a lot before, we were always meeting someone like once a week that were visiting NYC but now it is on a daily basis. We are being stalked “big time”, says her owner Cesar Fernandez-Chavez.

She receives about 200 direct messages on Instagram a day from people around the world asking to meet her when they visit New York City or if she’s going to be in their location in the future. “I get from people all the time ‘I follow her on Instagram’ and it makes me happy when someone who is a fan of hers gets to meet her,” he says. “They walk by and they’re smiling.”

Louboutina and her owner are planning on traveling in the next few months to Peru, Los Angeles, and Greece and are excited to offer hugs from Loubie on the road. Follow Louboutina on Instagram to keep up with her travels.