Hug Thief ID’d as Neighbor in Case of Stolen Cuddle

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Hollie Mallet had her home security camera installed for good reason. Without it, she wouldn’t have been able to track down the little boy who just wanted to hug her dog.

When the Louisiana woman initially found evidence of the sweet thief hopping off his bicycle, darting into her garage, hugging her dog, Duchess, and running back to his bike to make a clean getaway, she posted the video to Facebook, hoping to crack the case.

The video went viral and the suspect was identified as Mallet’s neighbor, Josh Breaux.

“I was surprised and a little upset with him at first but at the same time my heart was full because I know how much he loves animals with dogs being at the top of his list,” Josh’s mother Ginger Breaux told The Dodo.

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The Mallets owned a dog, Bella, from the time Josh was 2, but she passed away last year, Hollie explained in a Facebook post. The families are hoping that Duchess helps Josh cope with her absence. So far, it seems to be working.

“Since I’ve talked to Hollie, he’s been almost every day,” Breaux said. “He’s taken a few pics with Dutchess, played fetch, laid in the yard with her in the shade, runs around the yard with her, or just a quick stop to pet her and say hi.”

hug-thief1 Facebook:Ginger Clement Breaux

Mallet and Duchess couldn’t be happier with their new friend.

“Hope this sweet little boy Josh continues to come play and love up on Dutchess!” Mallet replied to Breaux on Facebook. “A dog is a friend for life! So glad to see that innocence and love was caught on camera instead of what they are normally used for.”

As the video of Josh’s surreptitious cuddle continues to make its way around the internet, both Mallet and Breaux agree that it highlights a young boy who certainly deserves it.

“When we saw the views and now that it’s almost 2 million, it’s surreal,” Mallet said. “It’s a positive story, and I’m so glad I was able to capture it on camera. It is just pure innocence, and we’re so glad to have made a friend.”

hug-thief2 FacebookGinger Clement Breaux

Duchess and Josh are staying cool this summer but many dogs in the US have it harder. Every year when the mercury rises, canine companions are at risk for heatstroke or death when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die in as little as fifteen minutes. Staying cool is extra tough for dogs because they can only reduce their internal temperature by panting and sweating through their paw pads. Our best hope for eliminating this tragic trend is to increase awareness, pledge to spread the knowledge, and to act if we see any animal left alone in an unattended vehicle. Please sign the pledge today and help keep our beloved pups cool and safe.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and world traveler with a background in journalism, graphic design, and French pastry. He likes to learn new things whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, folk music and coffee.
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