Tuna Melts My Heart: Instagram sensation Chiweenie gets own merchandise line
In a surprising twist of fate, a rejected, abandoned, unloved chiweenie now has his own online shop.
Tuna, an almost-three-year-old Chihuahua Dachshund mix, was found dumped on the side of a road in San Diego, California, presumably rejected because of his severe facial deformities. The dog has a pronounced overbite, teeth that stick out, a crumpled chin, moles, and a wrinkly neck. According to his rescuer, he had a sort of doggy-PTSD from being abandoned and would squirm on his belly instead of walking, which earned him the name Wormy.
Despite all that, he found a friend in Courtney Dasher, who met him at a farmer's market, saw through the beauty in him despite his flaws, and fell in love. She was drawn to him not only because of his unusual physical attributes, but also because of his personality. She renamed him Mr. Burns because of his resemblance to the Simpson's character. This evolved to Tooney (short for cartoon), and then eventually to Tuna, which stuck.
When Dasher adopted him, she began taking daily pictures of him and posting them to the popular social media site on the website Tuna Melts My Heart. Two and a half years later, Tuna has an Instagram fan base of over 375,000.
Dasher told Darling Magazine that she was confident that Tuna would have an impact on others' lives as well. When met with comments on Tuna's ugliness, she considered how many people are judged before others get a chance to know them. Now, she asks people to disregard the physical features of others and to "make an effort to love others with greatness because it is more gratifying to honor someone than to tear them down."
And people obviously agree. With so many followers, Tuna Melts My Heart has started up an online shop, which includes items with Tuna's distinctive face printed on them. Prices range from $15 for a coffee mug to $26 for rubber iPhone case (initially only offered for the iPhone 5, but now available for iPhone 4/4S due to demand). The shop also has Tuna T-shirts, Tuna tank tops, Tuna onesies, and Tuna dog shirts.
Portions of the proceeds from the items available on Tuna's website go to the ASPCA and the private animal rescuer who originally found Tuna.