Tuna, the Dog Who Changed My Life

I have an amazing dog named Tuna who has a special purpose for changing lives- mine in particular.

Some of you may recognize him as “Phteven” from a meme that was created by someone anonymous, but his real name is actually Tuna.

Tuna’s name is derived from the word “cartoon,” since he has an uncanny resemblance to Montgomery Burns of the Simpsons. Like Mr. Burns, Tuna was born with an exaggerated overbite and a recessed lower jaw-line, which give him his distinguished shrivelneck and a one-of-a-kind profile.

Much like his endearing physical attributes, Tuna is unconventional in every way. He has the ability to melt your heart with just one glance, and he will teach you that true beauty comes in all forms and radiates from within. That’s exactly what he taught me from the moment I met him.

I first met Tuna in December 2010 at a Farmers Market in LA where he was being shown for adoption as a four-month old puppy. He didn’t have his signature teeth at the time, since they hadn’t grown in yet, but he had instantly melted my heart, and I knew that there was something special about him.

Within a few months, as his teeth started showing, I began taking photos of him just for fun, mainly because his photos cracked me up! A year into our friendship, I created an Instagram account dedicated to his photos, and by the end of 2012 Tuna’s notoriety grew on Instagram when they featured 3 pictures of him on their personal page unbeknownst to me.

I never anticipated the kind of response that I have received from people’s adoration of Tuna. In fact, when I created his account in 2011, I had no agenda to garner a large following but I did recognize that Instagram could be a catalyst to bring people joy through his pictures that showcased his cartoonish looks and his charming personality. That has proven to be true because I receive countless comments and emails about the impact that Tuna is making on their lives.

Since Tuna is the epitome of the underdog, most people advocate for him and adore him for his unique qualities. His loyal followers embrace his physical differences, have fallen in love with his charm and connect to his message.

On his account, @tunameltsmyheart, you find a myriad of photos of Tuna making unique and unusual faces, thus making you crack up! You will also have an opportunity to witness the long-term friendship between him and his many favorite toys, all of whom are named Colin. Periodically on @tunameltsmyheart, I post about Tuna’s travel adventures, but I have also created a secondary account dedicated to his travels called, @thetravelingtuna. Go check it out!

Furthermore, he is an ambassador for animal rescue, since he too was once rescued, and it has become a big part of my mission to raise awareness for rescue groups through this platform. I try to point as much as I can back to rescue, whether it’s about raising awareness and financial support for a particular rescue group/shelter, or simply by educating and encouraging his followers to foster or adopt. I don’t take for granted that I have been given an incredible platform where I have a unique opportunity to influence people to do good, not just for themselves and other people but also for animals in need.

For that reason alone, Tuna has changed my life. He has redefined my purpose to influence others and now my official job title is “Day Changer” thanks to my dog named Tuna.

Courtney Dasher – Tuna’s Mom

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Tuna Melts My Heart

Tuna is a 6 year-old Chiweenie with an exaggerated overbite, recessed jawline and a magnificent shrivelneck. He was rescued by his mom, Courtney Dasher, in December of 2010 at a Farmers Market in LA, and now he lives a very happy life traveling from city to city with his parents. He now has over 1.8 million followers on Instagram and over 2 million on all of his social channels combined.