This Beloved Golden Retriever Spends Her Days Giving Out Hugs to New Yorkers

Let’s be real — New Yorkers are known for being a little well, rough around the edges if you will. In our defense, we have to have a thick skin to brave the subways and bustling crowds every day. But don’t let our tough exteriors fool you, deep down we’re all softies — our pets included.

While most NYC dogs are strutting their coat-wearing selves down the street, this sweet golden retriever is giving out hugs. That’s right — HUGS!

Meet Louboutina (Loubie), the golden who is making New Yorkers all over the city smile. You can find her walking with her human, Cesar, around Chelsea, the West Village, Gramercy Park, and Union Square offering up lots of love to lucky locals. We caught up with Cesar, who received Loubie as a gift in December 2011, to learn more this about this precious pup — starting with her glamorous name.

“Louboutina was a gift from my best friend Daphne. When I met Daphne a few years before at a party at the Gansevoort Hotel, she struck me as a very stylish woman and she has a lot of Louboutin shoes,” Cesar explained.

As for how the hugging came about, Cesar tells Babble:

“I think I preconditioned Loubie to hugging since I’m a natural hugger. When she was a puppy, I would always kneel on the floor to hug her, she may have picked that as a sign of affection and bonding … I never trained Loubie to hug or hold hands they all happened organically and out of the blue.”

As you can imagine, people are pretty excited when they encounter Loubie. Cesar says that “99.5% of the time people react very joyful [saying], ‘how cute,’ ‘you guys made my day,’ ‘this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,’ and even if they don’t say anything people always smile.”

I personally light up anytime I see any dog, so coming across Loubie would be a real treat. “People stop whatever they are doing on their phones to either say something or smile. I’m glad we are saving some phone-zombie lives,” said Cesar.

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Aside from Loubie becoming a “social media queen,” (she has over 12k followers on Instagram!) Cesar’s favorite part about this whole endeavor is how his dog has helped him to connect with other people.

“Us New Yorkers don’t even know who our neighbors are, but [thanks to] Loubie everyone in my building knows us, everyone on my block and my near surroundings (restaurants, shops, etc) … I have been able to start new friendships with neighbors.”

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