At this point, or at any point whatsoever, being in Manhattan, the space where Cesar Fernandez-Chavez walks his dog, Louboutina (or Loubie for short), it would be ideal. And you know why? Because this doggo is no ordinary doggo – she gives hugs to anyone he encounters.
“It’s just not a regular walk,” Fernandez-Chavez tells The Dodo. “It’s a walk with hugging. So we don’t get to go too far.”
Indeed, you can’t go too far without getting a lot of waves and photo requests with a dog this famous, which has over 191K followers. And what’s really remarkable about all this is the fact that Loubie has learned this trait on her own.
“She started sitting up and grabbing my hands with both of her paws, and then crossing the other paw over her paw,” Fernandez-Chavez said. “I remember joking with my friends, ‘At least I have someone to hold hands with during Valentine’s.'”
And this quickly became her favorite trait.
“From then on, every walk, she wanted to hold hands,” Fernandez-Chavez says. “She would just sit up and cross her paw over the other, and look around like a lady. People passing by were like, ‘Oh my god, she’s so cute.”
“Instead of asking me to do the holding hands thing, she just sat up, very close to my legs, and she’d wrap her legs around my knees,” Fernandez-Chavez says. “I thought, ‘This is weird. What’s going on?’ But I let her do it.”
“She gets a very good grip, depending on where I’m standing,” Fernandez-Chavez says. “I have to make sure that I’m keeping well-balanced.”
“We’d run into neighbors that she knew,” Fernandez-Chavez said, “and instead of just leaning on them, she started hugging them, and then random people who would come to us.”
But while she’s quite generous with her hugs, according to Fernandez-Chavez, she in fact does this with people with whom she forms a bond, a connection.
“Sometimes people run up and ask for a hug, but I tell them, ‘I don’t think it’s going to happen,’ because she has to bond with that person first,” he said. “But when she sits next to someone, then I say, ‘You’re probably going to get a hug.”
And that immediately puts a smile on people’s faces. “It’s nice to see people walk away with a smile,” Fernandez-Chavez says. “Especially with everything that is happening now, people say it’s so good to see this on the street. She’s bringing them joy. It’s very rewarding.”
Prior to Loubie wanting to give out hugs to people, she wanted to hold hands. That particular hand-holding tradition started way back around on Valentine’s Day in 2014, just after Fernandez-Chavez got out of a long-term relationship.
Even though Loubie will generously hand out hugs to others, she won’t hug just anyone. She can be very picky sometimes and the precious pooch will only hug those with whom she has a connection.
Sometimes people will run up and ask for a hug, but Chavez explains to them that she needs to bond first. But when she sits next to someone, then it’s much more likely that something will happen.
Loubie seems to love hugging people – she wouldn’t do it if she didn’t. And the people she embraces clearly love it, too.