READ THIS AMAZING STORY OF THE HUGGING DOG IN NYC

posted by LEE FRANCE - 

If you need a warm hug this Valentine’s Day, just head over to Chelsea.

That’s where Louboutina, a 5-year-old golden retriever, doles them out daily.

The affectionate pup — who stands on her hind legs, front paws outstretched and “embraces” willing strangers — has found fame with nearly 18,000 Instagram followers.

“Every single walk I have to dedicate time” for the dog’s hobby, said Louboutina’s owner, Cesar Fernandez-Chavez. The two typically go on three strolls, sometimes lasting up to two hours each, a day. Louboutina — who is named after the French shoe designer Christian Louboutin — has become a favorite of neighbors as well as fans all over the world.

On the afternoon of The Post’s photo shoot, banker Max Lerner pulled over on his bike when he saw Louboutina on the sidewalk.

“Is that the hugging dog from Instagram?” the 31-year-old Midtown East resident asked excitedly as he knelt down for a squeeze.

“My girlfriend was just showing me [Louboutina’s] profile last night.” The hug, Lerner said, “was soft, fluffy. It definitely made me happier.”

“A lot of people say she’s made their day,” Fernandez-Chavez, 45, said. “Like, if they had a bad day at work, maybe that’s just what they needed.”

Louboutina was never taught to hug, but it evolved from her love of holding hands, which she started doing in 2013 while waiting for a walk sign to change one day.

Annie Wermiel

“She stood up and reached for my hand,” said Fernandez-Chavez, a manager of translation services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital. “It’s her way of saying, ‘Thank you [for the walk]. I love you.’ ”

Soon after, she began standing and wrapping her paws around him — and then friends from the neighborhood. Since 2013, Fernandez-Chavez estimated, Louboutina has given out some 700 hugs on her walks.

The two can usually be found around the area of Seventh Avenue and 19th Street around 8 to 8:30 a.m., 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

But those in dire need of a hug can e-mail louboutinanyc@gmail.com to set up a fix. (Fernandez-Chavez said fans from as far as China have contacted him asking to meet Louboutina.)

So what’s the sweet dog getting out of it? Fernandez-Chavez believes she simply, genuinely, enjoys the human contact.

And while Louboutina is no doubt looking forward to cozying up to some people on Valentine’s Day, she also has a little something special planned: a play date with a handsome male golden retriever from the neighborhood.

Lee France

Lee France

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