Lilybug the Hugging Dog is Helping the World See a Softer Side of Pit Bulls
Lilybug is an 8-year-old American pit bull who has a unique ability to help others feel better through the incredibly heartwarming hugs she offers to the people she meets. But along with the warm-fuzzies each of her adorable doggie hugs brings, Lilybug is also sharing an important message about pit bulls. Along with dog mama Marisa Grimshaw, this rescue pooch is showing the world a softer side of pit bulls through a popular Instagram account created to highlight this adorable pooch and her sweet, empathetic nature. For a breed type that is often unfairly stigmatized, Grimshaw and Lilybug are working hard to help people see that bully dogs can be just as loyal, sweet, and deserving of love as other types.
"I think that Bug's ability to give hugs has changed a lot of minds about pit bull-type dogs," Grimshaw tells Daily Paws. "We've had so many followers and strangers from around the world say that seeing [her hugs] has really changed their mind about these dogs, because they were never given an opportunity to see a sweeter, softer side."
Before her viral videos hit the Internet, this sweet pupper had a rough start. She was found as a puppy, alone in a park and suffering from a skin condition that had caused her to lose her fur. Lilybug came into Grimshaw's life as a temporary foster pet through the NYC-based rescue program Mr. Bones and Co., but it was clear that she'd found a forever match early on. The two quickly developed an unbreakable bond so close that Grimshaw now calls Lilybug her "soul dog".
"I refer to her as my soul dog because I just truly think that everybody has a dog or a pet out there that is meant to be in their life and that they will have a unique bond with," says Grimshaw. "For me that was 100 percent Bug… it was evident from the first day I met her."
We'd guess that connection has a lot to do with those precious doggie hugs, which Grimshaw says were a regular occurrence even in their first days together. She originally thought Lilybug's hugging tendencies were puppy behavior and worked to curb Lilybug's urge to leap up on people. But says she realized her dog was actually doing something special with her efforts to embrace people—not just jumping on them for attention.
It's evident from their videos that Grimshaw and Lilybug share an incredible bond. But she's quick to point out that while that connection may be special to them, there are thousands of shelter dogs just like Lilybug who are waiting to find their perfect match, too.
"While she and I have this really unique bond and relationship, there are so many dogs just like her in shelters around the world that are somebody else's soul dog and are waiting for their chance to have that bond."
Looking for a soul dog to call your own? Check out our guide to adopting a dog here, and reach out to your local rescue organization for their help finding a pet that fits your lifestyle.