This Might Be the Cutest Humanitarian Ever
Written By: Victoria Ramirez
Photographed By: Joe Nardello Norbert the Dog
“Norbert is adorable and quirky, and I think both of those things combined make him an incredibly unique creature,” said his owner, Julie Steines. He snores very loudly, makes funny little sounds and even his gait is endearingly charming. Norbert’s signature trait is his tongue that sticks out due to a few missing teeth.
Norbert has a large following—the Norberthood—on Instagram at over 500,000 followers. Over time, Norbert gradually gained fame over Instagram for his stylish outfits, loving personality and cute appearance. “I think that the more that we put ourselves out there through volunteering and just posting fun and inspiring content, people like it, especially now with all of the hardships and unthinkable things that occur in the world, and Norbert provides an escape from that,” said Steines. Norbert the Dog
Steines and Norbert emphasize that “Volunteering and doing our therapy work is the foundation of everything that Norbert embodies.” After relocating from Boston to Los Angeles, Norbert and Steines started looking for ways to get involved in their community. That’s when they came across the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “It’s fantastic because I have first-hand experience on how those dog visits affect the patients, families and even the staff at a hospital,” said Steines.
Steines explained, “Our priority is to simply bring the patients comfort and joy and we hope that the children are able to escape the reality of their circumstances of being in a hospital even if only for a few minutes.” Not only are these visits rewarding and important to the patients, but also to Norbert and the other therapy dogs. “I think they have a sense about them to know that they are making a difference as well.” His signature move is giving high-fives to everyone he meets. “Every patient visit is unique and special in its own way, but the most memorable aspect for us is leaving the patient smiling who maybe wasn’t as happy prior to our visit,” said Steines.
Norbert is also the inspiration behind the Norbert book series that Steines and her mother, Dr. Virginia Freyermuth, have written and published through their publishing and education company, Polly Parker Press. They were inspired by Norbert’s story of finding his unique purpose in life, and after two years, the book was published in 2013 and two more books were later added to the series. Norbert the Dog
In addition to volunteering at CHLA, Norbert’s other philanthropic involvements include supporting Los Angeles Mission, Lil BUB’s BIG FUND for the ASPCA, Just for Kids Sake Foundation and Boot Campaign. Norbert truly does embody the belief that no matter how big or small you are, you can make a positive difference.
Strike a Pose: One way Julie motivates Norbert to take a quality photo is with food or his favorite treat, organic turkey.
Play Time: When Julie’s husband, Mark Steines, is done taking pictures, Norbert likes to unwind by playing with stinky socks, his favorite play toy.
Days Off: Norbert’s favorite activities include spreading smiles and therapy visits, eating and taking naps on people’s laps.
Page Turner: Fans of Norbert’s books can look forward to two new books.
1615 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Norbert the Dog is Not Just a Pretty Face