How I Became A Dog Mom To Tuna, The Little Chiweenie With An Overbite

A little over 5 1/2 years ago I fell in love with a little, unwanted puppy.

I met him at a Farmer’s Market in LA where he was being shown for adoption, and though my intentions that day were to foster, there was something about this 4-month old pup that immediately triggered me to want to love him with excellence for his whole life!

His original rescuer said that he was found, abandoned on the side of a road near San Diego, Ca, and I’m assuming that this was attributed to his many unconventional features. He has a pronounced overbite with human-like teeth, a crumbly, recessed jaw, 5 symmetrical moles around his mouth, and a very wrinkly, shrivelneck. I guess he’s the kind of dog that most people would say “he has a face only a mother could love.” While that statement is true for me (I absolutely LOVE his face!,) it’s actually the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, close to 2 million people on social media adore his face and have reported that he is a source of joy and happiness for them. As the mother to this special pup, that truth fills me with so much joy!

It wasn’t always this way though. When I first adopted Tuna, even some of my family and friends questioned why I chose “such a funny looking dog” and when I created an Instagram account in 2011 dedicated to Tuna’s photos (that’s his name by the way,) I was getting comments like “he’s the ugliest dog I’ve ever seen” and “he should be exterminated.”

It’s true! People had some pretty hurtful things to say about him. Fortunately, it has improved tremendously. My family and friends can’t imagine their lives or my life without him, and his social following is constantly celebrating him for his unconventional features! I’ve been posting a daily picture of him over 4 and a half years, and in that time he has garnered a following that adores him for his differences!

I never could have imagined that a little unwanted dog would have this much of an impression on people; by bringing them so much joy and laughter! To this day, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the impact that he has on people’s lives.

Tuna has taught me to love unconditionally and without boundaries. That may be an easy task when it’s your own baby, but it’s a lesson that he’s teaching people around the world. I think Tuna challenges us to love others with greatness because it is more gratifying to honor someone than to tear them down. That makes me a proud (dog) mom!


Dr. Katy Nelson

6 years ago