This puppy with an overbite will completely melt your heart

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Sir? #werk #shrivelneck

A post shared by Tuna {breed:chiweenie} (@tunameltsmyheart) on

Let the Instagram name speak for itself, one look of Tuna Melts My Heart's photos and well, your heart will melt. The adorable 5-year-old Chiweenie has been putting a smile to people's faces on Instagram ever since his first post in 2012. Since his account's inception, Tuna has been able to garner over 1.8 million followers and has gone viral multiple times, even inspiring a series of memes known as the "Phteven" memes. Together, Tuna and his owner Courtney Dasher, have been able to brighten people's days and lives with the pup's signature quirky smile.

While Tuna has become a social media phenomenon in the past few years, Courtney never envisioned her pet becoming an Internet star. She even admits she was late to the social media game herself. But after a year of compiling adorable and hysterical photos of Tuna and the adventures they share together, Dasher decided to create the now fan-favorite account. And since then, they've never looked back.

From his very own book to a new pet project titled "The Traveling Tuna," this dog is proving to be one of the biggest (and furriest) stars on the world wide web.

We recently sat down with Tuna himself and his owner Courtney Dasher to talk about the puppy's rise to social media fame, what it was like for him to go viral, and what's in-store for his social media career.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And head over to at 12 p.m. ET for more exclusives on Tuna Melts My Heart!

How did you first meet and fall in love with Tuna?
I met Tuna at a farmer's market in Los Angeles in 2010. And he was a 4-month-old puppy at the time. He didn't have any of his teeth and he looked really insecure when I first saw him. He was sharing his cage with two other dogs. What's interesting about that day is that I didn't have any intentions to adopt a dog, but I knew that I could foster. When I saw Tuna and I heard his story that he was found on the side of the road in San Diego and then transported to LA and was being shown for adoption by a private rescuer I just thought I needed to have him. So basically I only had three days to foster him since I had plans to meet family up north. The rescuer told me I could take him from Sunday until Wednesday and I just had to return him the day that I left. And the night before I was leaving for my trip, Tuna slept on my shoulder and when I woke up, he was in the exact same position and I just knew we had a connection. It was just so sweet.

As I'm driving up North to return Tuna back to the rescuer, I pull off to Santa Barbara, call the rescuer and tell her, "Listen, I love this dog. I've been trying to get him adopted the past few days but no one wants him, but I do. But I don't think I have the capacity to be a full-time dog parent." And she gave me this really good analogy about people planning for children but when they come they change your life. I feel like she was speaking truth into me because he literally has changed my life. Basically, the rescuer said if the farmer's market gets rained out or if he doesn't get adopted, you can take him for another week. And it got rained out, it never rains in California. So I adopted him the next week!

What is Tuna like as a dog at home?
Oh my gosh. So I'd say Tuna has two types of personalities. He's a second grade little boy who likes to be active, mischievous and playful. And then he's an 87-year-old grandpa who likes to sleep all day and he's cranky if you try and wake him up. So he likes to be playful but he also likes to sleep. And he spends the majority of his time in bed -- he really does.

When was the first time you thought to take a photo of Tuna for Instagram?
Like I said, Tuna didn't have teeth when I first adopted him. They grew in after about a month of me having him. He likes to sleep near my face by my arms, and one morning he was lying up on my forearm and he was on his back and his teeth were sticking out. And I just really stealthy reached over with my other arm and grabbed my phone off of the dresser and took a few forward facing photos of him. That's how I knew he had something special. But when it came to Instagram, I didn't have the agenda for creating an account and especially having him have a notable account. I'm the least likely person to have a social media account, I didn't even have one of my own for a while. So for me, it wasn't intentional. So I had collected a year's worth of photos, a lot of them were his funny faces. And a year later, I decided to start an account and a year after that it went viral.

What was it like to have your pet go viral on the Internet and on social media?
I never even started those "Phteven" memes. That image went viral on Reddit and I didn't know what it was at the time. People would write to me that they saw me on Reddit, so I asked someone what it was and they told me about the site. I went on and basically someone had anonymously posted this photo of Tuna that said "Thquirrel!" like squirrel with a lisp. That went viral on Reddit and literally over the weekend. Then two days later Instagram featured him on their personal page and at that time, I didn't even know Instagram have an Instagram. So it was like Mark Zuckerberg posting about my dog on Facebook. I didn't know that Instagram had their own page! So all of a sudden, he went from 8,500 followers to 16,000 in thirty minutes. In 12 hours time he quadrupled and went to 34,000. So I give credit to Instagram because I think when they featured him, that's what gave him a lot of exposure. The Reddit meme was anonymous so people didn't recognize him as Tuna. That's what started it all. I thought for years that the guy who posted about Tuna on Instagram saw him on Reddit and knew it was him, and wanted to give him the recognition. But I know this guy now and he had no idea at all. So it all happened in this timely matter by chance.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And head over to at 12 p.m. ET for more exclusives on Tuna Melts My Heart!

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