We've Been Wrong About the Meaning of Tuna Melts My Heart's Name This Whole Time

We've Been Wrong About the Meaning of Tuna Melts My Heart's Name This Whole Time

This Insta-famous dog's iconic handle had some surprising inspiration.

By Laura Rosenfeld

Tuna Melts My Heart is one of the most Insta-famous dogs around, not only because of the chiweenie's joy-filled and relatable overbite expressions but also because his IG handle is just so darn perfect with its double meaning and all. 

But, as it turns out, we've all been wrong about the real meaning behind Tuna's IG ID. 

Luckily, Tuna's owner, Courtney Dasher, revealed the inspiration behind her dog's name — and blew our minds in the process — when Unleashed caught up with her at BARK, the makers of BarkBox, Target launch event in New York Thursday. "So when I first got Tuna, the rescuer called him Wormy, and it's because he had an insecurity when he walked, so he would just kind of drop to his knees and then worm on his belly," Courtney explained. "And so when I got him, he kind of immediately stopped doing that, and I needed to name him, so I thought he looked like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons because of his overbite. So I named him Mr. Herschel Burns. Herschel is a long story. So Mr. Herschel Burns. And then all my friends started calling him Bernie or Burns, and I didn't like it, so I nicknamed him Toonie for cartoon."

One week from today, my son will be turning 49!! I think he looks great for his age, doesn't he? #tunaisturningseven #stunner

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


Then about six months later, Courtney said that her nephew asked if her pup's name was Tuna. "And I was like, 'Yes.' And in that moment, his name was changed to Tuna," she said. "So I always tell people, 'Tuna like the fish but derivative of cartoon.'"


And Mr. Burns isn't Tuna's only famous doppelganger. Followers have suggested that the canine resembles everyone from Dobby from Harry Potter to Yoda to Ren from Ren & Stimpy. "So he definitely has doppelgangers, and it's cool to see," Courtney said. "So his followers, they'll depict him, and sometimes it's to resemble a cartoon character that exists, and sometimes they're just interpreting what they think Tuna looks like through their eyes. And I feature that art every Tuesday, and I call it Tuna Art Tuesdays. And it blows my mind the creativity and the talent. It blows my mind what people do with Tuna."

Look who we came across on our walk this morning!!! Check out his InstaStory for the video capture! #MayTheFourthBeWithYou

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


When it comes to real-live human celebrities, Tuna has his fans among A-listers. "I do know that Lady Gaga and Reese Witherspoon are big fans of him and really love him. I think it's really cool that Lady Gaga follows, like, 25 people and Tuna is one of them and BarkBox is one of them. I think it's so fun," Courtney gushed. "And Reese Witherspoon did a feature in Vogue. It's like 43 questions [it was a video titled "73 Questions with Reese Witherspoon"], and she's being interviewed and one of her questions was, 'Beside you, who should everyone be following on Instagram?' And she turns to the camera and goes, 'Tuna Melts My Heart.' And that was a cool moment for us because I have no association with her at all, and just for her to encourage people to follow Tuna was a cool, it was just a cool moment."

We'd say that "cool" is an undertstatement.

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