This retriever has a heart of gold.
Whenever Cesar Fernandez-Chavez walks his dog, Louboutina, or Loubie for short, around his Manhattan neighborhood, it takes longer than one would expect. That’s because the 5-year-old golden retriever usually won’t budge until she’s given Fernandez-Chavez a big, hearty hug around his legs.
“She’s very stubborn,” Fernandez-Chavez told the Huffington Post. “She pretty much forces me to do it, she’s like, ‘I’m not going anywhere if we don’t do some PDA here, right now.’”
Fernandez-Chavez also says he thinks his pup has a really pretty face and tends to attract attention. When she finds a human admirer she likes, she gets cozy real quick.
“I think she tries to find someone who she feels safe with,” Fernandez-Chavez told HuffPost.
After Loubie has made her pick, she sits next to that person. Once she begins leaning on their legs, she goes in for the kill.
“I tell them, ‘I think you’re about to get hugged, so get ready.’ And they freak out, in a good way.”
And could you blame them?
“It’s always a cute moment,” Fernandez-Chavez said.
Yet Loubie wasn’t always a hugger. Her journey to becoming “louboutinanyc,” the extremely popular hugging pup on Instagram, first began in February 2014.
It was week or two before Valentine’s Day, and Loubie and Fernandez-Chavez were at the tail end of a walk when Loubie stopped dead in her tracks and began pawing his hand. She kept on insisting he take her paw, so he took a grasp of it and she lifted herself up on her hind legs.
Fernandez-Chavez said that once she found her balance, she then crossed her other paw over the one he was holding.
So, there they stood, just around the corner from Fernandez-Chavez’s house, holding hands.
“So that’s when I said, ‘This is weird. Who am I hanging out with here, Queen Elizabeth?’ She was such a Señora, a lady.”
The next time the two went for a walk, Loubie did the same thing. And then the next time and the next.
Fernandez-Chavez thought his pooch’s new habit was a little peculiar, but when he told his friends about it, he made a joke.
“I said, ‘At least I have someone to hold hands with on Valentine’s Day.’”
A week after Loubie begin insisting they hold hands whenever they went on a walk, they ran into actor Gerald Butler on the street. According to Fernandez-Chavez, Butler saw Loubie and him holding hands and came over to talk to them.
“And he was like, ‘This is not for real, what are you guys doing?’”
Fernandez-Chavez explained his dog’s new obsession and Butler asked if he could take a few pictures with Loubie. Fernandez-Chavez got a few snapshots of them as well and posted them to Facebook. The photos got such a large response from his friends, that someone suggested he start an Instagram page for Loubie.
A year later, in the spring of 2015, Loubie graduated from holding hands to giving hugs.
“This is something I never trained her to do,” Fernandez-Chavez. “It’s just her personality. I just let her do her thing.”
After Loubie began hugging strangers, her Instagram page started to become more and more popular. Fernandez-Chavez says that for the past year, most of the posts on her account are reposted from others who have photographed their encounters with Loubie.
As to why Loubie does what she does, Fernandez-Chavez has one cheeky answer:
“She was born here in the U.S., but raised Latina,” he said. “So she gets a little passionate sometimes.”